Looking for God’s Goodness in contemplation and prayer. Creating Space
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.Victor Frankel
Recently Brene Brown talked about the need for creating space. It was helpful for me to see the quote above as a formula which could look like S( )R. I, along with Brene, didn’t grow up with the understanding or even awareness of this space. Brene says, “ I grew up with the R starting before the S was even done. Something happened, someone did or said something, and I’d come out swinging or fearing or worrying or apologizing. No space. No choosing a response. Hell, not even the parentheses. Just responding in a way that led to more stacked stimuli and responses. There was very little growth and very little freedom.”
What does space look like in your life? What allows you to keep the space between the two parentheses open wide. Usually it is in the emotional wrestling that space is created. I’ve been pondering that this week. Creating space is noticing my preference for action and complimenting that with prayer and reflection time. It’s getting enough sleep, eating well and moving my body so I have energy and a clear mind.
This effort to create space is what Brene Brown and her team refers to their podcasts as pause-casts. She intentionally stops and takes a breath before she asks or answers a question, She says it’s awkward, but it’s life giving. They call it the sacred pause in Buddhism.
The sacred pause helps us to reconnect with the present moment. Especially when we are caught up in striving and obsessing and leaning into the future, pausing enables us to reenter the mystery and vitality only found here and now.
Choose a time when you are involved in a goal-oriented activity — reading, working on the computer, cleaning, eating — and explore pausing for a moment or two. Begin by discontinuing what you are doing, sitting comfortably and allowing your eyes to close. Take a few deep breaths and with each exhale let go of any worries or thoughts about what you are going to do next; let go of any tightness in the body.
Now, notice what you are experiencing as you inhabit the pause. What sensations are you aware of in your body? Do you feel anxious or restless as you try to step out of your mental stories? Do you feel pulled to resume your activity? Can you simply allow, for this moment, whatever is happening inside you?
You can weave the sacred pause into your daily life by pausing for a few moments each hour or as you begin and end activities. You can pause while sitting, standing or lying down. Even in motion — going for a walk or driving — you can pause internally, eyes open and senses awake. Whenever you find you are stuck or disconnected, you can begin your life fresh in that moment by pausing, relaxing and paying attention to your immediate experience.
Kindness. Weekly Reflection Summary.
Sunday. Extreme Kindness. To show mercy means to have compassion.
Monday. Good Measure. Am I making good, life-giving choices for myself?
Tuesday. Kind Words. As I grow in wholeness, I allow room for space.
Wednesday. No Room for Fear. When my heart is full of love and hope there is no room for fear.
Thursday. Ever Present. Do you find God’s presence in the day-to-day moments of your life?
Friday. It’s a Choice. The paradox of being human.