This year, Mark and I celebrated winter solstice in a new way: unplugged from work, electricity, phones, and clocks. We only made exceptions for heat, stove, and fridge. Otherwise, we experienced the day as-is. The weather was gray and misty, yet I saw subtle changes in light. Without electricity, a peaceful feeling—free of noise and unnatural light—filled our house. It was a reflective day for both of us. Our actions were intentional; our conversations relaxed; our senses awake.
The quiet and calm were made more obvious when I re-entered “normal” life. There’s excess, bustle, and separation in daily life. But there’s also choice. A pause is powerful. A purposeful break from technology and busyness has a big impact. The break could last an entire day or a few minutes. It's the intention that matters. (As I finished that sentence, the bell on my computer rang. At the hourly chime, I step away and take 3 deep breaths.) These intentional breaks—from screens, to-dos, and distraction—allow for connection with ourselves and with others. Pieced together, these pauses create a more mindful day.