The Power of the Pause

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In the practice of yoga, there is emphasis on the breath. One breath cycle is usually composed of four phases – inhalation / pause / exhalation / pause.

While all phases serve their purpose, I have always loved the pause. To me the pause is a special place, a fleeting few seconds where I have the luxury of not having to do anything, not having to go anywhere, not having to think about anything. In these few seconds, I can rest, I can pause, I can simply be.

When I come home from work, or if I feel like my head is spinning from information overload, again I like to pause.

I go into the lounge room, lie down on the floor and put my legs up on a cushioned chair. For extra inversion I like to put my lower back on a bolster, but this is optional. I allow my arms to fall naturally by the side, with palms facing up, in the pose of relaxation. I take a few big breaths out and simply let go – of the day, of worrisome thoughts, of excess information in my head. I close my eyes and just allow any thoughts to drift in and out of my consciousness, like clouds floating across the sky.

In yoga, this is known as supported Viparita Kirani and is known to reduce blood pressure, reduce heart rate, relieve headaches and soothe the nervous system. As the diaphragm doesn’t have to work against gravity, breathing naturally becomes deeper, which allows more oxygen to enter the body, creating more energy.

In this way, I reconnect with my self…..I restore my energy…..I pause.

Just like I enjoy my pause on a personal scale, I feel like we are being invited to pause on a collective scale also, at this time of the Covid pandemic.

This is an invitation to slow down, to rest, to go within, to reflect, on a global scale. If we accept this invitation, we have the potential to tap into the power of the pause – the power to reflect and question how we are living our lives and make any changes that we see fit; the power to restore; the power to simply be, with no expectations.

This is an invitation particularly to those of us who have always tended to do too much, to overachieve, to strive for perfection. This is an opportunity for us to realise that we don’t have to do it all, that it’s okay to rest.

The power of the pause reminds us of the importance of simply being. By being our true selves, this is enough.

Gifts within the Adversity

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Tomorrow is Anzac Day 2020. Usually there is ritual based around this date, commemorating the fallen soldiers. Last year I attended my first dawn service and thoroughly enjoyed the solemnity and comradeship of this event. This year I was looking forward to the same, but Covid 19 has put a dampener on this, or has it?

Even though the usual marches and gatherings will not be going ahead, collective creativity has stepped in as we look for other ways to commemorate this event. There will be an audiocast at 5.30 and 11.00am, there will be a lone bugle player at some memorials, and old mates who usually catch up at the pub are going to catch up on Zoom.

People are being invited to stand in their driveway or front verandah with a candle at 6.00am as a show of solidarity and unity to commemorate Anzac Day.

What I’m seeing here is a gift in the adversity. The adversity is the inability to celebrate Anzac day as we know it. The gift is the opportunity for collective creativity and a new way of seeing / doing things. What a great gift!

Despite the many adversities of Covid 19, there have been many gifts:

Petrol is at an all time low (about half of what it used to be);

We are showing more kindness and compassion;

Mother Earth is breathing clearer with less pollution;

We are embracing baking, growing veggies, and having chooks in the backyard;

Creativity is rife as we find new ways – to do business, to connect, to live and to be;

Those that have lost jobs are offering to help those even less fortunate;

A five star hotel in Perth has opened its doors to the homeless and the manager reported that in his entire twenty year career, never has he met such an interesting bunch of people!

Teddy bears and soft toys are popping up everywhere as we engage in a global bear hunt.

And the best part about all this? You and I can tell our kids and grandkids that we lived through the pandemic of 2020!

Acknowledge the adversity (yes it sucks to have your work hours cut back and yes it sucks to not be able to sit a cafe and enjoy a catch up with friends, yes, yes and yes) but underneath all this there are hidden gifts waiting to be found.

We are all in this together

Love this bit of art in my local community

It is no coincidence that I started this blog in April 2020….As the entire world is gripped by the COVID 19 pandemic.

I feel like the world has been turned upside down and inside out, and when we do finally emerge on the other side, it will be a new ‘normal’. I feel like things may never be the same again.

I feel like we are in the midst of a massive change and transformation that the earth and her inhabitants have been longing for. I feel like this is a time of both outer and inner transformation.

Some people are worse off, some feel like they are better off and some are struggling to deal with the changes beyond our control. One thing is certain…we are all in this together.

At this time, most of us find ourselves in social isolation, allowed out of our homes only for work, study, shopping and exercise. No family get togethers, no celebrations, concerts, festivals, movies, religious services, etc. Most people are working from home, some parents have been thrown into the deep end, expected to work from home and home school their children.

Easter has come and gone and I feel some sadness at the fact that our family has not been able to get together. We have two new bubs in our family and I won’t get to see them.

My daughter wants to catch up with a friend, yet they have no idea how this is physically possible. How does one even date at this time?

So much disconnection…..

And yes there is connection through social media and the internet which is a blessing at this time.

Despite all this, I feel like there is a deeper sense of CONNECTION, a common sense of purpose, and a sense that we are all in this together.

People all around the world are going through the same issues at this time. This is a level playing field.  There is no discrimination. Celebrities have been affected as well as young children, royalty, sports stars, politicians and so called ordinary people.

We rely on the so called humble people like truck drivers, grocery store workers and medical technicians now more than ever. This is their time to shine. One of my heroes is the man who makes my coffee when I need it and who has kept his café open, even when others are closing.

There is no us and them anymore, it is all just us.

We are all in this together.