The walis tingting (broomstick) is made from the dried midribs of coconut leaves. It is a common – if not necessary – cleaning tool in most Filipino homes. Swish, swish, swish, the sound of the walis tingting can be heard in the morning and then again in the afternoon as it is used to sweep the garden.
The image of the walis tingting resting against the trunk of a tree reminds us of the pauses in our lives. We clean, we work, we play. The moments in between each and every activity in our daily lives are invitations to take pauses – necessary pauses – to help us wind up from the previous activity and at the same time prepare for the next one. Taking pauses allows us to move consciously from one activity to another. Mystics tell us that in between an inhale and an exhale is a momentary pause. Yogis call this pause Sandhya and it is regarded as a vital component of meditation.
When we incorporate pauses in our daily lives, we give our Selves a chance to touch base with our soul. When we pause, we suspend activity. We become still and silent and if we really try to, we can dwell in the pauses.
When we dwell in the pauses, they become sacred. Sacred pauses allow our body to breathe and unwind and at the same time, they feed our soul.
Sacred pauses can be as short as a few minutes, or as long as several months. They are necessary parts of our lives. If we are aware of the pauses in our lives, we can use them to help us heal and nourish our soul.
“A pause is a suspension of activity, a temporary disengagement when we no longer move toward any goal. It can occur during almost any activity and last for an instant, for hours, or for seasons of life. We may pause from our responsibilities by sitting down to meditate. We may pause during meditation to let go of thoughts and reawaken our attention to the breath. We may pause by stepping out of daily life for a retreat, to spend time in nature, or to take a sabbatical. We may pause in conversation, letting go of what we’re about to say to genuinely listen to and be with the other person. We may pause when we are suddenly delighted or saddened, allowing the feelings to play through our hearts.
“In a pause, we simply discontinue whatever we are doing. We become wholly present, attentive and, often, physically still. Try it now: Stop reading and sit there, doing “no thing,” and simply notice what you experience.
“A pause is by definition limited. We resume our activities, but with increased presence and more ability to choose. In the pause before sinking our teeth into a chocolate bar, we might recognize the tingle of anticipation, and perhaps a background cloud of guilt and self-judgment. We may then choose to savor the chocolate, or we might decide to skip the chocolate and go out for a run. By disrupting our habits, we open ourselves to new and creative ways of responding to our wants and fears.”
“We must pause. In pause, we are able to rebuild the relationship between our wisdom and our actions. In pause, we are embodied—aware of and connected with our internal experience—allowing us time to access the resources, seen and unseen, needed to thrive in the world.
In pause, we rediscover a peaceful, creative intelligence.
In pause, we have time and space to rest. We can learn to access silence and solitude routinely allowing us to return to our own hearts with nourishment and peace.”
–Patricia Noel Breen