It's an interesting human habit: when we most need a pause—a little room to breathe—we're hesitant to take it; we keep pushing forward in a haze of busyness and distraction. A cycle that's magnified during the holidays, as we're encouraged to celebrate, spend, and consume. Yet what we really crave is space, ease, and connection.
When we most need to pause, we often resist. Life feels urgent, scattered, anxious, or uncertain and instead of pausing we continue the cycle of busyness. We think: "There's no time to pause. I'll make time later." But later never arrives, because there's always something more to do. Until we actually pause.
There are different types of laughter. Some aren't pleasant: forced laughter in a social situation or unkind laughter at another's expense. But then there's genuine, gleeful laughter that awakens and heals us. The kind of laughter that takes us by surprise; that allows us to open our hearts and let go.
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.
A few months ago I taught mindfulness at a local business. On that morning, I did final preparations for class, allowing little wiggle room in my schedule. I left with just enough time to arrive 15 minutes early. I got in the van (we're a one-car family) and noticed the gas tank was empty—completely empty. My first thoughts: "Argh! What was Mark thinking? He knew I had an important meeting. I rarely use the car and this is what happens. Now I'll be late."