The Power of the Pause

Thanks to someone’s post on Twitter, I discovered a link to a recent commencement address by Maria Shriver to Communications graduates of USC. Click here to listen and watch the whole address.  As always, she did a great job as she is such an eloquent speaker.  The focus of her message and advice to the graduates was simply to take a moment to pause in your life.  “Here you go, ready to hit the fast forward button, trying to get all the answers to the questions.  But before you do this, I am hoping and praying you have the courage to press the Pause button, yes, that’s right…the Pause button.”  After I heard this, I smiled and thought to myself how simple yet powerful her words were and how so many of us need to hear that over and over again.  We go racing through the events in our life, not taking time to enjoy what’s happening right now because we are so busy planning what’s next. 

I closed on my first house this past Friday. There have already been times I’ve thought about what all I need to pack, what date do I want to make as a target to move in, what all I want done before I move in, etc… After watching Maria’s speech, I want to enjoy this process…not make it stressful.  Frankly, the most stressful part is behind me with the closing process.  The house is mine and it’s not going anywhere.  I have plenty of time to move in and clean out my apartment.  Each time I go over to the new house to clean or check on something, I pause and take the time to realize what an exciting time this is for me. 

One of my favorite lines from her speech, though there are many, is the following: “Pausing today, and throughout your entire life, allows you to take a breath. It allows you to take a beat.  It allows you to be in the moment.” 

So often we hear the saying “Cherish the little things” and sometimes we just roll our eyes and don’t fully appreciate the true meaning of that phrase.  Those “little things” frequently lead to big things so thanks to Maria, I plan to not worry about what’s to come, all the packing that needs to be done.  I plan to be in the moment and take things one day at a time.  I plan to pause and be grateful that I have this opportunity.  I hope you all do the same.

Hitting the Pause Button in Norman…

A Day Full of “Little Things”

After finishing some errands, I was pulling into a parking space outside my apartment.  I heard a noise and wasn’t sure where it was coming from or what it was exactly.  I turned off my radio and as I got out of my car, I turned my head toward the direction of the sound.  There was a guy in the parking lot playing Taps on a set of bagpipes.  I leaned against my car and just listened.  I couldn’t help but smile as I watched him turn in a circle while playing.  Many thoughts ran through my head such as “What prompted this?  Does he do this often? What does the song mean to him?”  As I started toward my door, I kept turning back toward the music.  I leaned against the building and continued to listen before heading inside.  A few minutes later, I sat outside to hear him finish.  With the temps having gone down and a slight breeze, it was a perfect night to be outside.  Once he was done, I put in the ear buds of my iPod and went for a walk around my complex.  I figured some fresh air and exercise was a great way to cap off the day.  I replayed the events of today in my head as various songs played in the background.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown to appreciate the little things of life.  Today, these included the following:

  • Enjoying a day out of the office while taking part in professional development and meeting some people at another campus of our university.
  • Letting the hardest decision of the day be which restaurant we should try for our girls lunch
  • Taking a detour on the way home by driving through a prestigious neighborhood, frequently joking and repeating the phrase “Hmm, that sales price is just a hair off my budget…”
  • Smiling after your best friend says “Oh yea, that’s the one….I approve” after showing her the house you want to buy
  • Staying hopeful for love and relationships….especially when  you’re fighting that twinge of envy
  • Appreciating the support system of friends who help encourage and remind you to be patient as good things come to those who wait

I stumbled across this quote and thought it was a fitting way to end…..

May your thoughts be as glad as the shamrocks
May your heart be as light as a song
May each day bring you bright
Happy hours that stay with you allyear-long.
~Irish Blessing