In order to “take time to notice and enjoy what is around you every day,” many of us need to improve a skill that may be a little rusty — the skill of slowing down and pausing.

It’s hard to appreciate life when it is flying by, and for most of us life seems to be flying by much of the time, both externally and internally. Pausing, taking a few deep breaths, and being still help us notice where we are in time and space.

When we pause, even for just three or four deep breaths, we have the opportunity to notice our surroundings, to notice our bodily sensations, to notice our emotions. All of these things can provide valuable information about how we are moving through life, the quality of our lives.

Pausing is about how we are being, not what we are doing. The stillness of a pause allows us to listen – to nature, to our deepest feelings, to wisdom that is always available but often overwhelmed by the noise of doing. Pausing in stillness also offers an opportunity to gain perspective and perhaps even make different small or large life choices.

Spring is a wonderful time of year to practice pausing and noticing. Last evening at dusk I noticed a lone bat dipping and turning around our back yard. I paused long enough to see it make several circuits looking for insects. Then I sat down to be with the bat for a few minutes. I felt honored and grateful that it had chosen the exact area of our back yard within which to look for its meal.

What might you be missing in your surroundings that, if noticed, might bring joy, gratitude, love, or a smile?

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