Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Pause that Refreshes...

Years ago, there was an advertisment on TV describing the drinking of tea as, "a pause that refreshes".  I remembered that ad while drinking a wonderful cup of tropical green tea this long weekend and I thought of the many caregivers, both family and professional, who say to themselves, " I don't have the time to care for myself".  No time to pause.  No time for refreshment.   

It's true that few of us have an abundance of free hours to focus on ourselves, but self care needn't take hours.  It is possible to, "start small", and, if necessary, to continue that way for a while.  There are ways to refresh ourselves that take only a minute or two.   

Pausing to notice the veins in a leaf or the way a ray of sunshine passes through the trees. Slipping off your sandals to feel the grass beneath your feet.  Singing a favourite song from beginning to end.  Taking in the colours of fruit, vegetables and floral bouquets over a latte at your local market.  The small things are do-able.

I visited a wise grief counsellor during the years that my husband was ill and I knew that she understood end-of-life caregiving when she suggested, not getting out of the house for hours at a time, but finding five minutes three times a day when I could sit on the doorstep with my face to the sun.  A pause that refreshes...

Sabbath:  Finding Rest, Renewal and Delight in Our Busy Lives,  by Wayne Muller, describes how the Vietnamese monk, Thich Nhat Hahn, periodically rings a Mindfulness Bell in his Buddhist community, Plum Village.  On hearing the bell, everyone stops and takes three silent, mindful breaths.  Muller suggests that we can all take these restful pauses throughout the day. We can choose any common thing to remind us to pause - the phone ringing, a stoplight while we're driving,  opening a door or a cupboard.  Whenever your reminder arises - stop, take three mindful breaths, then go on with your activities.  See how it changes your life to take these short pauses every day.

Photo by Janet Ritchey



No comments: