My friend Miriam just called. During our conversation, she asked about my day. I replied, "Lot ofdoings. 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.
Mark and I spent three nights in a rustic cabin in Hiawatha National Forest, just after a fresh snowfall. Our tiny cabin had no running water or heat. We relied on a trusty wood-burning stove and camping equipment.
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.
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."
Yesterday I looked at my daily planner—crammed with tasks in small font—and felt my anxiety rise. We just returned from a weekend of travel and heavy socialization. I was in busyness mindset—a view that limits my choices. I thought I should push through my exhaustion. But instead of pushing, I decided to pause.