“But somewhere along the way, life chokes the
music and poetry out of us.” – Terry Hershey
Pause. A lovely word. Among its various synonyms, the one I like best is “breather”. Pausing gives us a breather from the chaos we make of our lives. I often wonder why, in an effort to make our lives simpler and more productive, we make it more complicated and less efficient. Terry Hershey, author of “The Power of Pause—Becoming More by Doing Less” has taken on the cause for pause in a gentle, yet very convincing book.
He says that Pause is based on the principle of “Sabbath” which “means to cease and to rest.” Of course the context of Sabbath is religious in overtone, but “becoming more by doing less” is something that can be added to anyone’s repertoire.
Hershey believes that there are a number of signs we can use to recognize whether we need to take time to pause in our lives. He asks:
Have you ever felt overwhelmed, only to add more to your to-do list?
Have you ever felt rushed, wishing for a wand that would enable you to slow down time?
Have you ever wished for an extra day in your week?
Have you ever been in a conversation when it hits you, “I’m not really here?”
Have you ever felt pulled in so many directions that you did not feel at home in your own skin?
Have you ever agreed to a commitment when you knew that the only healthy answer was no?
Have you ever wanted to pause long enough to see the handprint of God in the clouds, or in the face of a stranger, or in the irritation of the chaotic, or in the touch of a friend, or in the ordinary events of the day?
The author says that “The Power of Pause” is not “only about what we do but also about what we don’t do.” He believes that we can benefit from subtracting things from our lives rather than adding, and that the power is in “our awareness that our choices do in fact make a difference.” He says that when he is constrained by urgency, he is manipulated by being in what I like to call a “state of hurry”, and says yes to something when he should say no.
According to Hershey, there are two kinds of pause: active and inactive, and both have their place. A passive pause is when we stop, let go, are still, and breathe out. An active pause is when we are attentive, conscious of the present moment, and take responsibility for the life we have right now. It is when we breathe in.
An example that I could relate to was given in Chapter 8. Called “The Dark Side”, it talks about an overheard conversation in an airport, where a young man is caught shouting into his cell phone—“Hey! Why didn’t you return my call? I texted you. Like twenty minutes ago!”
Laugh if you will, but with all the technology available today making it possible to communicate instantly, twenty minutes is what 24 hours used to be.
I had dial-up internet for the longest time–first because it was cheap, and well, second, also because it was cheap. But it was slow compared to the internet my youngest son decided we needed (and volunteered to pay for). Now I don’t know how I got along without the faster internet. Heaven forbid we actually have to wait for something! Thank goodness we still have to wait in line at the bank and grocery store, or we would all be like the young man at the airport.
I remember a scene on the program the “Gilmore Girls”, where the mother and grandmother of the two stars of the show, Lorelai and Rory, decided to “gift” them with faster internet. They did not want it—they liked to turn on the computer and wait for the internet to come up—using the time to go get a snack or make a pot of coffee. I think they got it right.