The Sacred Pause

IMG_3967 We've all been there.  It's the end of the road.  You feel scattered, unable to operate from a place of grounding, almost unable to make rational decisions.  You are tired beyond words and you're not sure you can complete everything you "need" to get done.  You wake up and hit the ground running and next thing you know it's 8pm and you haven't stopped, not once.  You are on auto pilot.  This is not a good feeling.  My answer to this was a beach retreat.

Luckily for me back in January I had the foresight to know that right around April I might need a sacred pause.  Although I didn't call it that then.  My teacher Lisa Amani was hosting her bi-annual beach retreat and I booked.  Check written for a private room and roped off in my calendar. Done.  This was going to be a yoga and meditation retreat for me.

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Tara Brach has written a number of books and I'm currently reading "Radical Acceptance, embracing your life with the heart of the buddha".  She says we need to take a sacred pause daily, often even, to cultivate more self-awareness and loving kindness.  What if in your day before you take a big sip of coffee you pause and notice everything you are thinking and feeling.  What if before you hit reply in an e-mail you pause and think through your emotions, what if you pause while you are brushing your teeth to explore something that is normally a routine, a habit.  Tara says "the sacred pause is fertile ground for wise action."  But this is something you have to cultivate and practice every day!  Not just on a retreat although that is a good place to start.

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My retreat was incredibly nourishing, in fact it is so recharging that I'll be leading one for all of you in the fall.  The main thing that it highlighted was that I need to do a better job of using the sacred pause in my day-to-day life.  I needed the retreat to help me have the space and time to see that I need to practice the pause in my life not just when i go on vacation.  When I head back to work today I'll practice the pause before I open my inbox, I'll practice the pause before I make phone calls to my colleagues.  I'm looking forward to the lightness that I feel in my heart when I pause even if it's just for 30 seconds.  If you need a big pause join me in the fall, if you need a pause today try closing your eyes and sitting with a feeling or interrupting a habit just to notice that you are on auto-pilot.  Please share what you experience when you experiment with the pause.  I'd love to hear it.

xoxoxo -Alisha