The P.A.W.S that Refreshes

Hello dear ones,

Today I received a great gift from the handsome duck in this photo, and I’d like to share it with you. Image

In many of my newsletter articles, you’ve heard me refer to “Pause, Refuse, Choose” as my 3-step foundation for dealing with a variety of challenges, including fear.

  1. Pause in the moment;
  2. Refuse to go down the automatic path of reaction;
  3. Choose a more skillful, helpful way to respond.

Well, for me, “Pause” has always been the most challenging step. I’m usually quite ready to rush right through intense emotion, and, often, on to less-than helpful-action.

Today’s gift will help with that. Here’s what happened.

For the second day in a row, I was taking what I sincerely hope is my regular early-morning walk along the Washington Channel. (Yeah, yeah, I know, I’ve tried this before but I’ll never give up!!!)

It was 7 AM, and after 20 minutes of vigorous motion (that’s what “they” say is enough to experience the benefits) I was resting with my Safeway breakfast sandwich, mulling over the life-lessons of my week, and wondering which one I wanted to share with you in today’s blog.

I looked up and noticed how the leafy green trees and clear blue sky  softened the concrete walkway. I felt the gentle, cooler (yay!) breeze and smelled the clear air. And I thought, Thank you, Universe, for this lovely bit of Mother Nature’s beauty in the midst of my city.

Then I looked out a little further, and saw this iridescent duck, all by himself (it’s the males that are all colorful and gorgeous, right?) and I felt this urge to share the 1/2 of the focaccia roll that, in a moment of somewhat surprisingly easy choice,  I had decided to toss.  

So for just a few, peaceful moments, I broke the 1/2 roll into what I hoped were duck-bite-sized pieces, fought back an old tickling in the back of my  brain about how white bread, even fabulous Italian white bread, might not be good for birds, and just enjoyed my sweet connection with this handsome creature. I felt a little smile come through, and took out my phone to help me save this moment.

And then I realized, this was a “Pause” moment – I was practicing my most difficult step – Pause – without having any particular challenge or crisis to manage. I was refreshing my self, my energy. And I was having a very enjoyable time!

In my somewhat compulsive search for an acronym to summarize my experience, it came to me that  “PAWS” can help me to practice Pausing.  P.A.W.S – Pause Action; Waken Senses.

Stop doing, step into nature if I can, and allow as many as possible of my senses: seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting, touching, to get me back into my body. Then when I really need to “Pause,” to help me respond rather than react to one of life’s many challenges, my “Pause” muscle will have gotten quite a bit stronger. And as a bonus, you never know what delightful creature might decide to join you!

Much love and many blessings,