The Blessed Refrain…

Erin Schaden
5 min readFeb 19, 2024

I am an actor. I do things. I am not one to sit idle when a problem arises. In fact, it is almost impossible for me to NOT do something. The directive: Don’t just do something, sit there! Has almost killed me I fucking swear.

But I have practiced the fine art of refraining over the years. Practiced like my life depended on it and sometimes I think it actually did. Not in the sense that I was in physical peril, but the emotional kind, the spiritual kind, the kind that will not take you out in a blaze of glory but the kind that will kill you dead all the same, just more quietly, more slowly so that you don’t even notice it is happening.

So with all my incessant action over the decades, I have accumulated a fair amount of wreckage due to my impulsive nature and inability to sit in the pause. That place where everything in me screams to do anything to make the situation better or worse, or at least different than how it appears in this moment.

And I will tell you that while the work has been arduous and terrifying, sitting still is actually something I am getting quite good at. I can not return the call, I can not answer the text, I can wait now when waiting before was impossible.

It is like I have a whole new arsenal for living…well, perhaps that metaphor is more descriptive of my younger years where I was always mounting an insurrection. I don’t need an arsenal anymore, instead, perhaps more apropos are tools, or skills, or something of that nature. Today, I have this added instrument of the blessed refrain. And I call it blessed because I really believe that it was Divinely provided to me. I am absolutely sure that I was not born with it. It was missing, absent or lost for most of my life, but recently, it has become something that is not only present, but something that I can rely upon.

Such an instance happened this weekend. There was something I wanted. Or at least thought I wanted. And I started wanting this thing a few months ago. And then in a sudden turn of events, this thing that was not available to me, became available to me…but with caveats. Warnings actually. Cautionary tales that told me to proceed with caution.

Now this is where I usually just ignore the fuck out of anything resembling a red flag or a warning or any harbinger of anything that doesn’t fit with my wishes, plans or designs. But this time, the blessed refrain stepped in and gave me time to think it all the way through. And while there was still that petulant child demanding her wishes be granted, by some miracle she was pacified and calmed.

And this happened long enough for the wisdom I have attained to back fill the want, or need, or desire or whatever the fuck it is that always spurs me into action.

This time I was able to reflect with sufficient clarity the pain I experience when I run head long into matters of the heart and soul. The pain that I cause myself and others when I fail to heed warnings fairly given and lovingly sent. And since I am still recovering from my last disaster, this time, I slowed instead of sped up and disregarded everything.

And I was gifted with the blessed refrain. The ability to think through the entire instance and decide that no, I really do not want that. Like at all. And to just accept that there was a reason warning was provided and instead of thinking that the warning was ill timed or didn’t apply to me, I just allowed the caution lights to flicker and I slowed myself in relation to them.

What I came to was a new experience. I slowed until I stopped. And then I just sat there. Doing nothing. And in all that nothingness, I came to find that I didn’t want this thing at all anymore. I wasn’t interested and I didn’t want another go round. I did not want it at all. So I politely turned it down and am now moving on with my life.

Apparently no longer willing to cut deals that require me to allow myself to be subsumed into another. No longer willing to offer myself up as if I am some sort of offering, some supplication to a force that isn’t really all that interested in me to begin with…

And in this blessed refrain I found self worth. I found love of me. I found that I had come to value myself not more than another but not less than either. I was ok, doing nothing, taking no further action. I could just heed a warning and move on. It wasn’t complicated, or hard. It was just done.

And it was in this moment that I knew the refrain, the pause was blessed. Because it was deployed in me, without my even knowing it. I sat idle for a period and then I knew intuitively what to do next. Intuition granted me movement, even if the movement was slight. I moved from my head where all the great ideas come from to my heart where I believe that divinity actually exists. My head always leading me into frays and fuck ups. But this new leader of my life, owns a wisdom born of pain, and a great deal of loss. But with this knowledge allowed me to enter some new phase of development. And of course, I usually want a fucking medal for the effort.

Except I don’t this time. I am ok. Right here, living in this blessed refrain, not thinking too much about it because I know my mind can pull me out and away and right back into what I just sidestepped. So I am here in the refrain, holding my own. Trusting that all that is supposed to be will be and the universe does not, in fact, really need all this action from me. The universe is more than content to bring to me all that I am supposed to receive. My job, my only job, is to trust that which is meant for me will always find me, and that which is not, can only be allowed to pass through my life in an expeditious manner, when I practice, when I live in the blessed refrain.





Erin Schaden

Who am I? I am all that I write, all that I learn, share and grow. Read and find out? Check out for more.