The Motherf%&*ing Pause…
Not that one. Just the regular old pause. Like when you are about to say something arrogant or stupid. Or you are trying to play the big shot. Or you think that you know something but in fact, you are only guessing. Or when you are about to give your opinion, unsolicited…and with some people, even solicited.
There are a million places to pause in a day. There are small pauses that just take one inhalation. There are larger pauses where you have to leave the family dining table and go lie down and stay there. There are as many ways to pause as there are conditions that give rise to the need to pause…
I have lived my life on a pause-needing choke chain. Like God has to give me a quick yank, and then I will pause. Well, it used to be that way…
Today, I pause more. Only because I got so tired of suffering the consequences of my failure to pause. That, as it turns out, is a pretty great motivator. Wreckage due to failure to pause. That will bring you up short every time.
It is winter so it is is easier for me to slow down and I have discovered that it is way easier to pause when you aren’t going a million miles an hour. Winter is the best time that I can practice pausing since I am already slowed to a snail’s pace. And fuck if I don’t need the practice. It is almost like Winter is my training ground for pausing…like spring training in baseball except mine is winter and it is for pausing.
My life slows down. I slow down. And seems like I find it easier to pause. And believe me, once all my atoms heat up and starting bumping off each other with the better weather, I am going to benefit from all the pausing dry runs and practice drills.
Yesterday, was not a day of pause for me. I was active. Like sunny, 80 degree weather day kind of active. But during all of this activity, I had a new thought. In addition to pause, I can practice this other thing, which is really pause’s first cousin, refrain.
I have a lot going on in my life right now. I am not usually a procrastinator. But I have been lately, and I am learning some things. If I use refraining to avoid feeling, or a person or responsibility, probably not the best use of delay. But even it has its purposes. But sometimes, I think pausing long enough to think about stuff and then just decide to delay or refrain from thinking or making any decisions about anything is a good idea.
Yesterday I had one such experience, cleaning up dog shit in the backyard. (I have learned not to question when the spiritual lesson comes…just to accept that whatever it is paired with is really none of my business, and yesterday it was paired with dog business…so be it). I was in emotional pain about a relationship and I wanted so desperately to “fix it” or “control it” or just “make it feel the way that I wanted and if I couldn’t, then leave it”. But this newish thought entered and said, “why don’t you just sit with this and see what happens…give it a month and check back in with yourself in a month and see where you are…”
I instantly felt better. And I realized that there is so much of me that just picks things not because I need to or even want what I am picking, I am just making a decision because I can’t stand or don’t want to stand the discomfort of being where I am. Up or down, I don’t really care, I just want out of this particular situation NOW!
But that is what life’s pause training ground is for…moments just like yesterday where I am coming out of my skin. Wanting, needing, wishing, demanding. And ready to do just about anything to make that particular mental spiral stop. Instead, I just made a decision to refrain. To check in with myself on February 20th to see where I am with the particular issue. Instant relief!
Pauses can be long or short, momentary or life lasting. There are as many ways to pause as there reasons to need to. I need to have that tattooed on my hand, somewhere I can be reminded of that every minute of every single motherfucking day.
What else I have learned about practicing the pause, is that the more you do it, the better you become at it. And the more comfortable you are doing it. I can just see my sponsor lying in the dark all paused up yesterday. Just chillin with her mad pause skills. I mean, I am sure that she didn’t think she was being pause heroic. But I do.
She and I get each other because we are fixers, solvers, doers and controllers. Pausing is very hard for these types of people. But, or so it would seem, life tends to give you what you need. And in our case, a lot of reasons and opportunities to pause or suffer the consequences…and we do. Practice and suffer. Suffer and practice. The two are intertwined, inextricably linked so much so that I am never sure if I am suffering or practicing, they feel so much alike.
Sitting still. Not taking the action is a spiritual act. Perhaps harder and more demanding than any action I have ever taken. Refraining, delaying, waiting, pausing. All things that I fucking hate. Except that I am finding out that I don’t. That I learn wonderful things about life, love, myself and others right there in the dullest part of the pause. The place where I am disarmed from all my good ideas and thinking and can just be content sitting with it all. All of life’s melodramas, and moreover the ones that control and dominate my head.
You show me a good pauser and I will show you a spiritual gangster…fo sho!