In our presentpolitical/societal climate, the stimulus of blaring headlines is powerful and the impulse to track news stories throughout the day overwhelmingly compelling.
And here is where I can practice The Pause. I did it just a few moments ago, when sitting down to my office computer. It’s Election Day. Wondering how the polls are being attended, I almost chose to go down the News Story Rabbit Hole.
But didn’t, choosing instead to access my wordpress site and do some writing. Here I am, with you, instead of with the endless news cycle. Yes! This is what practicing The Pause is all about. We catch ourselves in a habitual response, and with a slight pause, we can then choose what is best for us in this moment.
All is well with the world when the horizon can be seen; a luxury not often afforded to city dwellers like myself. And finally the election season has ended…all the more reason to get myself to the farm for restoration. As the leaves fall, the vistas open up to distant rolling hills beyond the valley. The wide horizon lengthens and widens me into spaciousness and a long deep breath. Space to move. Space to breathe.
Opera Workshop students recently received a list of Alexander Technique Prescriptions, which included an attention-training practice and instructions for Constructive Rest (a future post). I would now add, as a prescription for election season recovery, giving yourself an horizon-view-stroll. Get outside, even if it’s overcast, windy, and dank. Dress well and go. Only then will you and I stand a chance of rallying our resources and making our next contributions to this 240-year-old experiment in living well together. We’ve got a ways to go. Start where you can. Take a walk first, and often.
(This horizon thinking stroll was made possible by Mike, who cleared the perimeter lane of the hill meadows and woods. Thank you, Mike. It was a wonderful walk.)
Leftover Beggar’s Night candy? Whip up a batch of your favorite basic cookie dough, and mix in copious quantities of candy pieces. Mine included KitKat bars**, Hershey’s chocolate, Almond Joys, and Reese’s peanut butter cups. Add more broken-up-bits than you think possible. It won’t be too many.
Why, on a Monday with a lengthy to-do-list and a full afternoon of teaching, would I divert from plan, tie on an apron (thank you, Susan), and make a mess of the kitchen? Several possibilities present themselves…pre-election jitters (that would be me, probably you, and definitely the stock market), touring a Clintonville ranch home reeking of special cat aromas (will we ever find our next domicile?), facing the onerous task of researching health insurance options (AFTER Mike retired, the state of Ohio concluded it could no longer provide coverage for spouses of retirees). Is that enough to send a person into the corners of a kind kitchen? It was for me.
And so, for today, this Alexander Technique teacher advises her readers to ‘hunker-down’ as needed. There will be other times for opening into our best Selves. For today, let’s just agree not to waste….our Halloween candy, or our good will.
**I didn’t think a KitKat bar could be improved upon, but I can report otherwise. A surprise bite of KitKat crunch in the middle of cookie puffiness placed me squarely in the ‘want not’ zone.