Pause, Listen, Breathe, Be

Photograph of 3 koi -- a white, an orange and a orange and white koi swimming in green algae filled water near rocks

This morning, I was having a hard time settling.

October is going to be a busy month and the past couple of weekends I’ve had to push my boundaries on working because some things just didn’t get done during the week. So I felt myself pulled back to doing, and began to feel a lot of stress around not knowing what to do. I had to do something. I had to be productive. I had to get some work done.

I have done a lot of self-work (and community care and mental health work) and I am in this inquiry around what it means to choose myself and my humanity, so instead of finding something to do (there is always something to do), I paused, ate, showered (because returning to some form of water always centers me) and breathed.

It is October 1.

A year ago today as I was leaving Paris for Bordeaux to meet new colleagues, a trip I lovingly refer to as “my midlife crisis trip,” I got the news that my father died. I wrote about that morning, and the initial complexities of that loss¬†here.

A year later, my sister is with her mother in Bangkok so that they can be together on the one-year anniversary of his passing. I am at home and will continue celebrating my birthday tonight and this weekend. My kids have soccer and dance practice today. Life continues.

My body remembers and tries to protect me in the best way it knows how to survive. We push through. We work. We produce something when we feel like nothing because it is what has kept us alive all these years. We numb the emotions because there is no time, no space, no room for our humanity, if we want to survive.

But what has kept me alive has also kept me from choosing myself, kept me from my choosing my full humanity, kept me from thriving.

Pause, listen, breathe, be.

I make myself a hot cup of “Paris” tea. I remember that I am in the middle of reading the remarkable Year of the Tiger¬†.

There is time.

There are ways we know to choose ourselves.

My body begins to relax, to remember that we are going to be okay, that we are learning to trust ourselves.

Pause, listen, breathe, be.

I can choose to thrive, moment by moment. I can choose to make space for all the parts of me, all the emotions, moment by moment.

Pause, listen, breathe, be.

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