My daily practices kept me sane last year
2020 was, without a doubt, an unprecedented year. And yes, I’ve heard it called many things, but I think I’ll stick with ‘unprecedented’.
It was a year that forced many people to assess (or re-assess) their priorities.
And whilst 2020 was an extreme example of how to cope with, and navigate, change, it did remind me of the importance of having a daily practice to keep me from getting lost in a sea of overwhelm or despair.
No matter what goes on in my life or the world around me, my daily practices give me space. They allow me to take a pause, come back to my own centre and respond from a place of greater inner calm.
Do I always manage this kind of calm response?
No, of course not! I’m human.
But do I feel better for knowing that I can turn to my practice in times of overwhelm or confusion and it will give me a moment of inner calm, so I can choose how to respond to a situation, instead of reacting in the heat of the moment. Absolutely!
The idea of a Sacred Pause isn’t new
People used to find their moments of pause and solace in religious practices and rites of passage. But today, many of us have turned away from traditional religious practices.
We’ve turned away from outdated models of worship, and from an absolute, dualistic focus on right and wrong or good and bad. We’ve also turned away from paths with very dogmatic views of the world that have little room for nuance, tolerance and change.
But once we stepped away from religion, we didn’t replace the practices that once had value and offered meaning to our lives with anything else.
As a result, so many of us feel spiritually ‘empty’. We lack a certain sense of community and connection that leaves us searching for meaning elsewhere, without really knowing what we’re looking for.
Historically, when communities were hit by tragedy or anguish, they’d have a place to come together. They had a practice they could share, be that praying, lighting candles or just being together as part of a congregation in a place of worship.
Of course, 2020 removed that option for the few people who do follow those religious practices. Still, they could carry out their practices at home, knowing that others were doing the same. They could still feel that sense of community and connection.
Most of us who’ve left religion behind, however, no longer have a practice to turn to when times are challenging. We’re left feeling alone, buffeted by events and feelings, not knowing how to come back to our centre and find a place of calm and clarity.
You don’t need religion to take a Sacred Pause
If you’re one of those people, I’d like to share one of my own practices with you. I hope that it helps you find a moment of calm within you, no matter what’s going on in your life or the world around you.
I hope it helps you come back to your centre and find a moment to pause, catch your breath and breathe again.
I call this practice the Sacred Pause.
I first heard the term ‘sacred pause’ from Molly Remer. And as soon as I heard those words, they gave me a sense of calm.
A sacred pause.
In a world that’s getting busier and louder, with ever-increasing distractions, the words reminded me that my life was indeed missing a pause of any kind. And it was definitely void of any kind of sacredness.
I’d turned away from any religious practices when I was a teenager.
My family wasn’t particularly religious, and I remember feeling very sceptical about religion as a teenager.
I sometimes went to Catholic Mass with a friend, and I used to get annoyed by all the ‘asking for forgiveness’ that seemed to go on during the service. On more than one occasion, I thought to myself that I didn’t want forgiveness, and how dare they assume that I’d done something wrong?!
Other than that, my mum only ever took us to church twice in my childhood for any regular length of time. The first time was when she got divorced. The second was when she got re-married – we went to church so that she could have a church service to get married a second time. In fact, it was really just a blessing disguised as a wedding, which seemed like cherry-picking that, again, annoyed my angsty teenage self.
And whilst I like the idea today of being able to find comfort in religion, I don’t like hypocrisy that we see in so many people who claim to be religious.
So I’ve made sure that the practice I want to share can be done by anyone of any religion or faith (or of none at all).
It’s a practice that you can make your own, so you have something to turn to when you need to come back to centre and feel connected. A practice that you can use when the world around you doesn’t make sense, and you want to connect with something that can bring you purpose and meaning.
Want to know more about the Sacred Pause?
Click here to get access to a video walk through of this practice for the Sacred Pause.
Take 15 minutes to join me, as you re-group your energy, come back to centre, and leave feeling, refreshed, aligned, and more yourself once more.