A little while ago my husband and I looked after my friends 4 year old daughter. Once we got over the apprehension, she relaxed, really we all did, and she took over the running of the babysitting gig. Although we were the grown ups we were definitely not in charge. All games were the ones she chose which included one called ‘Pause’. When I was 4 (some uhhm years ago), we called it ‘Simon says’ or ‘statues’. It was fun to be ordered to stop, and not move until the person in charge told you to play!
This got me thinking how often do I set aside time to stop all activity and just focus on nothing but breathing? At the start of lockdown I was working in my dining room which looks on to the garden. Prior to me doing this I had not known that the garden was a hive of activity during the day. I learned that there were several types of birds that frequented my garden, magpies, black bird, very loud and tiny robins, ferral pigeons and golden finches. Watching the birds got me to stop, take my mind off the demands of my inbox, to do list, to stop list, social media news-feed or burning headline. It was also relaxing to watch them collect food and supplies to build nests and I forgot about the COVID-19 pandemic in those moments and remember that there is a simplicity to life that I had forgotten.
So I organised another wellbeing session called Pause and Play, for me to explore with other colleagues what the idea of stillness really is. The discussion started off with someone reminding us all just to say how we were. I am fine, not sure, tired, anxious etc. were some of the responses. But also thank you for asking. We just stopped for a few moments to think, “how am I today?” Just taking time out to notice this without judging it was just refreshing.
After that we had a lively discussion about what we do individually to find stillness and the responses included colouring, doodling a cup of tea in the garden, listening to music, watching birds as they feed in the garden, putting a jigsaw together a few pieces at a time, using mindfulness relaxation techniques to breath slowly, deeply and relax. I showed everyone the colour and share book I had bought (forgot about) but picked up just before the session, and that sparked others pick up theirs again.
Whoever wrote the rule book on growing up left out the big part we learn as children stop doing, producing and checking the news or social media and just be! Boredom is good for us, free and it can help spark creativity in ways that keeping on cannot ever realise. Time out to do or produce nothing is worthwhile for my mind to re-centre, calm down so I can remember who I am and why I am here.
So I am making a promise to myself to set aside time each day to stop, pause and play. To whoever reads this, I encourage you to do the same too…………….