Sacred Pause

Nineteen years ago, my sister and I participated in the Avon Breast Cancer 3-Day 60 mile walk. We trained all winter to walk 60 miles from somewhere in Maryland to the mall in Washington DC. All that training and that long walking weekend, I barely stopped moving for months. When we finished, my sweet husband (to whom I’d been married for less than a year) gave me a simple vase with the word “pause” on it .

I loved it then and ever since it has a place on honor on my desk to remind me to take my time and to stop and breathe (it’s pictured here in my new studio with other beloved reminders of creativity and adventure).

For the past year and a half, that same husband and I have been building a dream. It’s a house but more than that. On Friday, we passed the final inspection and started to move into our new home. It’s wonderful and exciting…and it’s been exhausting. So in the spirit of the walk in 2000 and the reminder of the “pause” vase, I am taking the week off from teaching to get settled and get my bearings.

So this week, I offer you a poem and a dharma talk. First, the dharma. Tara Brach speaks eloquently and beautifully about the practice of the Sacred Pause. I hope you will pause and listen to her wisdom here.

And then the poem:

For Our World

We need to stop.
Just stop.
Stop for a moment.
Before anybody
Says or does anything
That may hurt anyone else.
We need to be silent.
Just silent.
Silent for a moment.
Before we forever lose
The blessing of songs
That grow in our hearts.
We need to notice.
Just notice.
Notice for a moment.
Before the future slips away
Into ashes and dust of humility.
Stop, be silent, and notice.
In so many ways, we are the same.
Our differences are unique treasures.
We have, we are, a mosaic of gifts
To nurture, to offer, to accept.
We need to be.
Just be.
Be for a moment.
Kind and gentle, innocent and trusting,
Like children and lambs,
Never judging or vengeful
Like the judging and vengeful.
And now, let us pray,
Differently, yet together,
Before there is no earth, no life,
No chance for peace.

September 11, 2001
© Matthew Joseph Thaddeus Stepanek 1990 -2004
from Hope Through Heartsongs, Hyperion, 2002

Have a peaceful week, everybody. I’ll see you the week of April 29!

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