Pause and Look Inward

My friend Miriam just called. During our conversation, she asked about my day. I replied, "Lots of doings. But some days the doings just have to get done." She laughed at this, knowingly, then confessed she was grocery shopping with her one free hour of time. Though we try to cultivate our being-ness, we must finish work, run errands, and attend to others.

Much of our day is focused on externals, and it's easy to lose track of what's going on inside us. If we ignore emotions as they arise, they squeeze out in unskillful ways. At the end of a long day, I can be angry with Mark, though my frustration lies elsewhere—with uncooperative technology, my own high standards, or lingering grief. If I attend inward, then I'm aware of my emotions—not misplacing them on others. And I'm aware of my body, recognizing the need to shift positions, stretch, and move. 

Life is busy. Interruptions happen regularly. Still, it's possible to pause—for 3 breaths—and check in with ourselves: notice the state of our thoughts, emotions, body, and breath. The more we practice, the more quickly we notice. Choices present themselves in the pauses.

Even when life is busy, we can find a little more ease. And on those days when we think, "I can't possibly pause or attend inward," that's when we most need the practice. Give it a try now (if not now, when?):