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  • Writer's picturegera clark


Sometimes when we have been working and striving to make deadlines, meeting the truly important things in our lives never seems to take precedence. We allow ourselves to get caught up in the limiting beliefs of “have-to’s”, perfectionism, and people pleasing. Having heard these terms so often, we know that we sometimes give in to them. In spite of the knowledge in our brains, we charge ahead, unaware our lives have become nothing more than us, ending up exhausted while beating down that deadline and trying to get it done to the proverbial “T”. Then, we top it off with that useless feeling of guilt because we haven’t spent

quality time with those significant others in our lives. While it’s true that these tasks may be essential to paying the rent, or fulfilling our responsibilities, we sometimes make a list that is almost insurmountable. With all this stress, sometimes we should just regroup. But we say, “I don’t have the time... I am a caregiver... I am a provider... I am important to whatever damn mission I happen to be on.” I suggest perhaps we are making things too unmanageable for ourselves and are not taking the time to allow for that “pause”. That “pause” is the time BETWEEN our breaths

enabling us to experience the essence of nothingness. We may actually ”cut ourselves short” of our actual breath, the giver of life that helps us realize how precious this life is. Instead we are in the habit of just going from one thing to the next, with a check list that we keep adding to because our inner critic says we must do and make it the best! We are debilitated and irritable. A feeling of incompleteness or worse...FAILURE has descended upon us! We suddenly feel tired and are lying down, our bodies prone...exhausted. Only then, and in spite of ourselves, when we close our eyes, does our body release its beautiful breath to

allow the nourishment of an inhalation. In this state we subconsciously fall a little deeper into our natural breath rhythm and allow that “pause” between the breath to happen. This is the place of actual give up our agenda of ‘should'

s’, ‘how’s’, and ‘musts’. This pause allows us to shift into the universal (un)consciousness of being. No checklist in hand or in the computer of our brain. We are given the chance to experience the place which existed before we went down the birth canal...perhaps maybe even before we took our physical form. Your question may be, do we have to do that? Can we pause between and

the process of the ‘in breath’, the hold, and then the release...into the “pause”, into the mystery of the breath where there is no in and out? That place is nothingness. Sometimes people’s fear factor comes into play and it can take us to that edge. That edge is where the fear of being out of our body, or worse, on the edge of dying, kicks in and alarms our sympathetic nervous system. It’s the primal instinct of fight or flight. Can one be in awareness of what that is and relax with it? Can we be at that edge and let go and transcend? An extreme example of that phenomenon happened when I was

about 3 years old. I was in the ocean on a raft with my siblings and some friends. An unexpected wave came and swept me off the raft! I was on the back end and not surrounded by the rest of the kids. Suddenly, I was under water and didn’t understand what had happened. I vividly recall seeing myself from outside my body, blowing bubbles under the water and then thinking to myself, “I’m like a fish now, breathing through my gills.” I was totally at peace, viewing my bubbling body free under the water when my older sister quickly grabbed my hair and pulled me back up on the raft. I remembered the under water place where I had been was quite beautiful and peaceful. To breathe

the air again was so painful. Coughing, expelling the water that had collected in my lungs through my nose and mouth was not either beautiful or peaceful. I felt that place of spaciousness and expansion and then the painful limitations of having to breathe again as a land dweller. The world came back to me...but that previous moment of my unintended release was profound...don’t get me wrong...I am in no rush to die. Our lives are to be enjoyed and experienced. Our breath is certainly important to feel fully alive but perhaps, as I suggest, a moment between the out breath and the in breath can be experienced as a peek

into the unknown. A place not to be feared. A place where ‘shoulds’ and pardon the phrase, “deadlines” don’t exist. Keep breathing and enjoy the “pause”. Let yourself do this in a more conscious way. Please remember, because it is the second wave of the pandemic here in NY, wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands. You were doing it anyway, and keep appreciating our breaths and the “pause”.

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