Today, I will courageously stay a little longer in the pauses. I will just linger and be. I will let my gaze be held and held some more by the tree that catches my eye, and I will stop and really pay attention to the way the Light is playing with the shadows on the path before me. I will slow way down even if it's just another Twin Cities Tuesday, and I will drink in the moment through all my senses.
What sounds surround me, what smells, how does the autumn air feel on my skin, how does my breath move in my body, what is really going on inside right now? Where in my body are all my feelings felt, could I name these feelings, can I hear what I really need? Can I ask for it? Who do I ask for it? Why is my tongue so tight against the roof of my mouth and what makes me pull my left shoulder forward just a touch?
I was born and raised in Copenhagen, a city that is highly residential, with an abundance of majestic apartment buildings from the 18th and 19th century, mostly with out elevators but with beautiful landings between the floors. Landings with intricately carved little benches and stools, and stain glass windows that project juicy colors on the walls and open just a crack to let fresh air in to the stairwell -- and often well cared for plants in heavy pots.
I remember walking up these endless steep stairs as a small child, right foot first on every step, and often finding a little old lady with a scarf around her head, just sitting there on one of these landings. Taking a tangible pause from the climb up to the 5th floor, grocery bags on the floor beside her.
There was a peacefulness and gentle sense of her full being just being right there in that moment, on that landing, between the third and fourth floor. Breathing, sometimes sighing audibly, and patiently taking the time that it takes for the energy to arise within -- the energy to keep moving and doing and going up.
As I move through my own story, trying to understand and trust this intricate tapestry of what? Self-created projections, destiny, unexpected twists and turns, my responsibility, my lessons, my repeated lessons, and my once more repeated lessons and then what to do about it all...I have found again and again that it is in the deliberately drawn out pauses that I understand just a little bit more...and only to the extent that I stop and really feel and acknowledge the feelings that are moving within -- especially the ones that are heavy and murky and that make me weep and sigh audibly...
Life in my childhood Europe was slower it seems, at least in hindsight, the cafes on the streets were crowded not with people isolated on laptops but with people being deeply engaged in each other, leaning in, touching arms, throwing back heads in laughter and sinking their heads into their hands, frowning foreheads and nodding in agreement...and then the silence, the not talking, the silence that you can only be comfortable with when you really trust each other and know that just being together in stillness is also something, lingering into the pause between words and actions....
So, today I will not do so much outer work -- I will be quiet and pensive and be really slow about it all. I will be with all of me. The sad longing. The losses and regrets. The bewildered not-understanding and the optimism that inevitably bubbles up around the grief. And then the beauty that surrounds it all, penetrates even the most head hanging moments.