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Week Three: Pausing

When I was pregnant with Asher I read a parenting book – ok, I actually read an embarrassing number of parenting books. This one has stuck with me, though, because the author introduced what I found to be a very interesting concept: the pause. Rather than immediately rush in and scoop up your child the second he fusses, she advises parents to pause and take a moment to observe. Often, she claims, babies are just transitioning to a new sleep cycle. By leaving them alone, they can do this efficiently and get themselves back to sleep. I’m hardly one to offer any baby sleep advice – Asher has only slept through the night a handful of times in the last nine months and I still hold him during most of his naps – but the idea of taking time to carefully observe before responding resonates with me.

So many of my regrets as a mom, a wife, a friend, a teacher stem from times when I reacted to a situation without thinking. If only I would have taken the time to pause, observe, and think before responding perhaps I would have been kinder and more helpful. I’ve been reflecting on this because one of our assignments this week has been to meditate every day. I have honestly been shocked by how helpful it has been to take just ten minutes each night to clear my head and then reflect – it’s like an extended pause before launching into the next day. Little disappointments fade as I recall the important events of the day: a wonderful conversation I had with a friend, going out to lunch with my mom, the moment Asher looked at Curt and said, “Dada.”

Clearly, pausing is helpful, but doesn’t it conflict with the idea that I should just keep moving? How can you do both? Maybe moving just to move isn’t the right approach at all. Maybe stillness is actually a prerequisite to thoughtful, intentional movement. Isn’t this what Abby has been trying to teach us all along? We begin almost every session sitting together in a circle and reflecting on our challenges or our goals. And we end our time together with some sort of meditation. When I tell people about Body Back, I often focus on crazy number of burpees, the insane hills we run up, the movement. But now I’m starting to realize that these last three weeks have been so much more powerful than any other exercise class or program I’ve been involved with because I’ve been forced to pause. I’m not just moving to move; I’m moving deliberately and with the support of an incredible community. That is the difference.