Each day as I awake, the first question that comes to mind is, how much longer can I sustain this pause? This physical separation from my three boys, their wives, and my grandchildren needs to end!

My mind races with all the unfortunate coronavirus statistics reported on the news causing this pause. It could be a year or so before I can feel comfortable and safe to commune with loved ones and friends. My stomach rumbles, my head feels like it is in a vise, and my body numbs with angst. I push myself out of bed. This endless loop is making me feel sick even though, thankfully, I am not.


I raise the shades on my bedroom windows, and sunlight filters into the room. I am warmed by soft rays of the sun on my face and smile when I see a flock of birds heading to my backyard. They will find nourishment and, I hope, comfort in food I have set out for them in my garden.


My destructive thoughts begin to fade. I shower, dress, and head downstairs, knowing that there is hope in my backyard. Quickly, I head to the kitchen window and raise the shade. Looking out, I see birds not only flocking around the bird feeder but also lining up for their turn on the railing that sits in front of it. This creates a flutter – a good flutter to my heart. I am caring for something in nature.

These flying wonders seem excited to have a safe place to feed and then go home to their nests, to care for their young ones. It reminds me days as a young mom caring for my three little ones. A sense of peace washes over me, for a moment, as I recall those treasured times. Suddenly, a squirrel enters the scene. Danger has set itself upon my little flying creatures. It wants to feed not just on the bird food but on the eggs in the nearby nests. My delicate, beautiful birds have seen danger. They quickly fly off and must pause in their nests until the danger leaves. Never do they fly to the feeder without knowing that danger lurks without notice. I yell out through the window, and the squirrel departs quickly, but the birds do not return immediately.

A while later, as I am eating breakfast, a beautiful orchestra plays through my window. Cardinals, blue jays, and sparrows have returned to their feeder. A mourning dove stands on top of the feeder — the lookout. Remember each time they had to pause for danger. But they would reemerge when the danger disappeared with new hope for their future and a willingness to carry on.


By this time, my destructive thoughts seem to have settled down. Why? I had a love experience an appreciation of what life was like before the pause for which I may not have had the time to take note of each day. It may seem like a simple thing, but now when the crazy thoughts emmerge, I reach for something to love that perhaps I hadn’t noticed before. I can’t control what is out there in the world. I can control how I react to it. It will not always work right away. Sometimes, I too will just have to pause and notice something new. The mama and papa bird cannot control danger in their realm, but they know how to pause when needed. I am sure they are pausing and appreciating that which I can provide when I do. Maybe that is the reason why they were given wings to show us how to flow with what the wind blows in each day.


So, what to do when you do not have a backyard or birds to feed? Let’s recall what we do have. Are you in a hospital right now? (I hope not) Are you safe inside the nest you’ve created? What can you do to embellish it and free it up of clutter? Do you have a writing tool with which you can express how you are feeling right now? Is there a window from which you can notice something you never took the time to appreciate? Perhaps the number of people missing outside as compared to a day not in the pause. I actually see people on bikes or communing with their loved ones who perhaps had no time to do this before.

Yes, concerns about how you’ll pay your bills will creep in, and rightfully so. I find my husband, and I are spending less. Also, we do not know how all this will turn out, but we can control our personal health and state of mind. This country has been through several wars in history and an awful depression, as well as 9/11. Many times, there were different types of pauses within each trauma. Each time, most chose the best life they could possibly live — one day at a time during and after the pause.


Is this pause an accident? I say no. Instead, it is the universe telling us, “Enough is enough!” Each of us has been given a beautiful place for our souls to work, play, and thrive. What are you going to do with it ? You have all that is needed to survive peacefully together. Instead, some of us find reasons to hate, manipulate, and even disregard the plight of our fellow humans. Yes, this is a pause. Let’s get back to our source, our hearts.


Take time to sit or lie down and reflect on why you were sent here. If you can’t hear the words, write them. They will come. What are you doing each day of this present pause to improve any situations when you did not honor your life here on Mother Earth? This is not just about the environment, which we know needs desperate attention. It is about how we till the soil of our hearts. What is vital in this life— really essential?


For me, first and foremost, is taking care of my spacesuit. The temple that holds my soul. When it is fit, healthy, and flexible, my spirit has a clean and safe place to reside. I am in greater cinque with its voice- and it does have one. You know- that whisper reminding you to forgive someone who has hurt your feelings or abused you physically. That whisper telling you to call someone that you have left behind. The voice that tells you to provide for a charity, or that whispers when you have been dishonest or mean to another human being or animal. Yes, that voice is within us- always. So, take the time during this pause and find your whispering voice. Make friends with it, give it a hug, and then share it with others.

“Through the sacred art of pausing, we develop the capacity to stop hiding, to stop running away from our experience. We begin to trust in our natural intelligence, in our naturally wise heart, in our capacity to open to whatever arises.” ~ Tara Brach

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