Over the last few weeks, I have used the word pause. I’ve used it when talking about moments I have felt overwhelmed and needed a break. I’ve used it when I stop and catch my breath during a workout. I’ve used it with a client and said, “let’s pause for a moment and spend some time here,” when something they said deserved more attention. I’ve used it as a way to care for myself, a way to slow down, a way to rest, a way to focus in the middle of the chaos of life.
Merriam-Webster defines a pause as “a temporary stop.” The most important part of a pause is that it is neither an ending nor a beginning; it is simply a break in the action. It often feels like life is go, go, go, without any downtime. We live in a world where we hear phrases like “no days off,” “always hustle,” and “work, work, work.” These tend to create a belief that a break or rest of any kind is a bad thing. But is it? What are we missing when we never stop, take a break, or pause?
Selah is a Hebrew word used at the end of verses in Psalms. There is no direct translation, but some believe it was intended to be a pause for contemplation. I love this idea that when we hear something beautiful, we take a moment to observe and be in the moment. We take the time to consider what things mean to us. We briefly focus on the now and what is important to us, what matters beyond work.
I talked with a friend about taking pauses, and she said pausing gives things a chance to settle. It made me think of those experiments most of us have done with oil and water. The one where you mix oil and water up in a bottle and watch them separate. It becomes cloudy and hard to see through when you shake the bottle up. As it sits still and separates, you can see through the bottle. The water settles at the bottom, becoming transparent and easy to see through.
Life can be like that bottle of oil and water. When it’s all shaken up and busy, it is hard to see through, and as it settles, we can see things more clearly. But we have to give it time to settle and separate. We can see clearly through the water at the bottom of the bottle. I’ll take it one step further; of the two liquids, water is easier to see through, and it supports the oil above it. When we let life settle, it’s like that water; we can see clearly the things important to us; we see the foundation of what makes us who we are.
I encourage you to find times to pause and let things settle in your day. Find what is important to you beneath the frenzy of life. If you’re not sure where to begin, reach out and set up a time for us to talk so we can take the first step toward settling in your life and building your strong foundation.