Pausing Is Encouraged

House - Drina River (credit: blogger "That EJ")

House – Drina River (credit: blogger “That EJ”)

“Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.” ~ Eddie Cantor

Much of our lives are series; cycles of events. Just as days turn into nights, seasons change over time, and tides roll in and out – our lives shift from phases of peak activity to periods of rest and relaxation. Whereas high tide is no better than low tide, and autumn no better than winter, activity is not, in itself, better than inactivity. Yet it is during those times of rest and daydreaming that we reconnect to ourselves.

Western cultures typically applaud action and achievement. I know mine does. We are often most comfortable with ourselves when we are on target toward defined goals. When we are working in pursuit of those goals, we are usually taking action on our vision(s). Yet there are times during our efforts when we feel the need to take a break, back off, or just put things into neutral for a while. These are actually good times to gauge intention and progress. By being aware of your intention behind the action of lying low you can gain a clearer perspective on it.

When you sense a need for down time, trust that this is a natural part of the process of achieving your goals. Acknowledge that what might appear to be steering you “off course” could actually be giving you permission to redirect or change a focus. Don’t unnecessarily judge yourself. Do whatever you feel will nurture your mind and your body so that when you choose to resume activity, you can proceed with clarity and renewed intention.

Here are three (of many) ways to enable conscious idling:

  1. Control what you can. Change what you can and don’t worry about the rest. You cannot change traffic but you can change how you react to it. If you have an extra 20 minutes in the car; see and use it as down time.
  2. Shut off your mobile device. Endless interconnectedness causes stress. Leave your laptop at the office when you can (yes, it’s doable). Find ways to create boundaries between work and life (and yes, they are two different domains).
  3. Rethink your “list.” Sometimes all it takes to retain peace of mind is to drop just one thing. Ask yourself: “What item here least reflects what matters most to me?”

Pause. Relax. Reflect. Restore.

These photos were added post-publishing as a reader queried if the first shot was photo-shopped….

Drina River HouseAnother house

48 thoughts on “Pausing Is Encouraged

  1. Just had my myself a cup of tea and was laid back on my pillow tapping through my favourite blogs!
    Yours in particular obviously sanctioned my having some ‘time out’ and judging by the awful weather beating at my window here…I think I might just stay put a while Eric!
    Happy New Year my friend

  2. A timely post. Today is our day off from big activities. Beach day, small (Please God) amount of shopping and a mindless movie. I enjoyed my break from internet!

    • Perhaps a shift in the balance and intention? A focused effort on the factors that you deem worthy of more (of your) time and energy? I hear you on being better at relaxing; I suspect many people are. πŸ™‚ You know the drill, my friend, choice….

  3. Eric – What a great post! This really resonates with me, and connects with so much of what I know (which is not much) about the human soul. You dispense encouragement, Eric. I am a fortunate man to have discovered your blog. Have a good year. Peace, T

  4. I believe you’re not alone in knowing little about the human soul. I suspect, however, that is appreciates rest and nourishment, just as our physical bodies do. Thank you for your faithful following and always kind comments, Tim. Much joy and good health to you and your family, as we enter 2014.

  5. My culture has become mixed over the years due to marriages of siblings, cousins and myself. I like the combination because it has allowed me to have those ‘low’ times without any need to feel guilty.

    Happy New Year!

    • Combinations, diversity, whatever works well toward enabling us to appreciate rest or down time – is good! πŸ™‚ Glad you have (or create!) those opportunities, Glynis. New Year greetings returned, warmly.

  6. This photo is INCREDIBLE!!! I just can’t get over it, that it exists! Wow…

    An excellent post on pausing, Eric. I really like your blog. It’s a very grounding place. Yes, western society applauds that movement and achievement, but oh so YES you do lose the sense of where you’re going & why, in a rush.

    What you say re mobile phones, once one of Daniel’s friends rang in the middle of the night. From that night onward, he switched off his phone at night (or put it on silent). His sleep was really disturbed. He learnt very quickly! I thought it was massively unreasonable that his friend rang, and I heard the ringing from my room in our two roomed flat, but when I brought it up with Daniel the next day and saw his own reaction to it – enough said!

    Mobile devices, seriously, some people “can’t” even drive without them at hand. Incredible. Great post indeed.

    • Agreed! The cabin perched on the rock screams sanctuary… to me.

      Thank you, Noeleen, for your always thoughtful comments. I look forward to and appreciate them. You must be proud of Daniel and his reaction to a friend ringing him in the middle of the night. Near always, it is beyond necessary and borders on abusive (but that’s just my humble opinion).

      And not because I seek to promote my posts but I believe this one:
      speaks to the same page from which you, I, and many others feel. Glad this post resonated with you.

      • Too humble!
        There’s nothing wrong with promoting your posts/self, I don’t think. It’s only when you do it habitually in troll-like manner that it’s distasteful. I actually love people to point me to something they know I will appreciate. So I’ll hope over there. Cheers πŸ™‚

      • Oh, & I think why Daniel didn’t appreciate it is because no.1 he’s really serious with his sport and really values his sleep. He actually leaves gatherings/parties early, to get home before midnight. I’ve hardly had to train him in such a direction! He’s somehow taken it on himself! I just thank God because truly, I’m not a dominant leader kind of person. I do, though, believe deeply in the subtle guidance by lead.

  7. Great advice. As we enter the new year it is easy to want to do so many things and add to our overflowing plates. We can gain so much clarity that will aid us in our lives if we take the time to just be still. I have been taking a much needed break and I was feeling a little guilty for not being busy. I really needed to read this post. Thank you and Happy New Year! πŸ˜‰

    • “…if we take the time to just be still.” Well captured and stated, iB. Banish that little bit of guilt. I belonged there. πŸ™‚ Thanks for your thoughtful comment and acknowledging its benefit for you. HNY to you and yours, too!

  8. A very good reminder. I know that I can definitely get caught up in scrambling to conquer something that I forget to stop and evaluate whether it’s truly something worth conquering. If that makes sense. Your advice about work and life is good– I’ve recently had to take control of this after about a year of little to no boundaries between my work and personal life. It’s not at all worth it. I really enjoyed this post.

    • Makes complete sense. Don’t get me started on boundaries. πŸ™‚ Glad to learn that you chose to retake the lead with that life facet. Yet there are so many, Aussa, who are mired in that groove, totally unaware of how they found themselves there or how to extricate. Good on you for pulling up your bootstraps. Onward!

  9. Haha, something I do well! I am a pro at the old ‘Pause. Relax. Reflect. Restore.” Beautifully put, Eric. I can attest to the worth of everything you have said here.
    And thanks for the credit, not that it was at all necessary. You’re such a thoughtful bloke. πŸ˜‰

    • Thanks, EJ. It’s good to have you back. I, too, am fairly accomplished with the P3R model although I also know I often do more than simply pause before I shift into the 3Rs.

      Credit given where credit is due. Without your image of the house on the river, I’d have been without inspiration for the post. πŸ™‚

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