Breathe and Press Pause

An example of how this played out in my life recently: One day this week our morning was crazy. After I dropped the kids off I decided I NEEDED to pause. I am trying to better pay attention to what my soul needs. I knew 5 minutes of silence and solitude would help bring peace to my heart. I had tons of errands to run that day so it could be very tempting to say I didn’t have time but barrel through but I know that is not what my soul longed for.

My soul longed for peace

My soul longed for silence

My soul longed for calm

My soul longed to be still and allow all that is spinning and swirling to settle

My soul longed to sit in the presence of Jesus and just be held there safely

My kids go to school downtown.  After I dropped them off I pull into a park.  It’s a tiny hillside amidst skyscrapers that has been landscaped to provide refuge from the busy.  The are small cute brick pathways that weave throughout trees and large stones.  There are a few benches and strategically placed plants around an existing magnolia tree.  Normally I would be drawn to sit on one of these benches but this day is icy cold.

So on this cloudy day I sit in my card staring out at this park.  I silence my phone and set my timer for 5 minutes.  I have a pausing go to tool.  I breathe in deeply through my nose to the count of 4 as I think of the verse ,”Be still and know”.  After I have breathed in as deep as I can, I breathe out through my nose to the count of 8 while thinking the rest of the verse, “that I am God.”  I use this now with my daughter who gets nervous at times.  She sits on my lap while I guide her through this as I slowly say the verse.

During this pause I have no agenda.  I don’t have a long prayer list or a set prayer to recite.  I want to just sit and receive the beauty I see and breathe it in.

The timer goes off but I don’t want it to end.  The gift of silence when we let it in cannot be explained but only experienced.  So I try my best here to put words to a soul experience.

For as Isaac of Nineveh (7th century) said so eloquently:  If you love truth, be a lover of silence.  It brings you a fruit that tongues cannot describe.  In the beginning we have to force ourselves to be silent.  But then, a certain sweetness is born in the heart and the body is drawn almost by force to remain in silence. 

After the timer goes off I continuee to sit and enjoy this moment, ignoring the clock.  This is where my soul needs to be.

Then the sun peaks through the clouds.  I feel the warmth through my windshield.  and I want to absorb it like I see my chihuahua doing as she lays on my front room floor.  The sun creates a new beauty on this city park, casting shadows and bring the colors to new vibrancy.  All I can do is sigh deep and say in my heart, “thank you God for this. Thank you for this pause, this place and Your presence.”

Don’t allow cynical thoughts to creep in. Thoughts like, “Must be nice the she has the time to do that.”

or  “I have screaming kids- I can’t do that”

or  “I work 2 jobs, I don’t have time for this.”

or  “I car for a sick parent- I don’t get the luxury of this.”

I challenge you to fight those thoughts.  Your soul longs for silence but it is a discipline that must be pursued. Pursue means to run after or chase.  You have to chase down being still.  Once you wrestled yourself down to be still, stay there for 5 minutes. 😉

You can find 5 minutes a day.

Perhaps during nap time.  Forgot the dishes, they never go away.  Be still for 5 minutes then take a nap if your weary soul needs it.  Your house once always look like a frat house.  They grow up and go to school then you sit in a silent house typing up a blogpost while missing your precious children (insert teary emoji).

Or lock yourself in the bathroom and breathe.  They likely can’t burn your house down in that time.

If at work, just walk outside for a “smoke break”, whether you smoke or not.

This year I am trying to better listen to what my soul and body needs.  I want to pay attention and steward both well.  I wrote this all out on a notebook after sitting at the park.  When I find the time to pause, my creativity is ignited.  It is like I give my soul a chance to catch a breath.  Writing causes me to come alive.  So even writing and sharing this is an act of hearing what my soul needs and doing it.