When I have
Done the cooking and cleaning…
Completed this project…
Take leave next month….
Taught my kid…….
Ordered the grocery….
Planned the dinner menu….
On Friday night …..
I will read this book while having coffee, or do whatever I want to do.
Many Fridays came, but the book lay unread. Sometimes it used to be late, by the time I finished the tasks. By this time, I had already lost the zeal to make coffee and was too tired to read.
Then one day in the midst of piling the laundry in the washing machine, I discovered a crumpled paper in my gown’s pocket. (I have a habit of scribbling notes on pieces of paper while working around the house.)
It was a quote from Thich Nhat Hanh.
That moment was a startling experience. I believe in receiving messages from the Universe, and this surely was an important message. Immediately after starting the machine, I went to the kitchen. Water boiled, I added shredded ginger, tea leaves, and the golden liquid was rippling. I took out my lovely teapot that I had saved for a special day, placed everything on a tray and carried it to the balcony.
I sipped with closed eyes. Somehow, the spoon and the cup together made interesting music. I drank the tea just as Thich Nhat Hanh suggested.
Placing my attention to what I was doing in the moment helped in shedding the burden I was carrying on my shoulders. I realised drinking tea can also be a meditative experience. Yes, I went back to my day and my list. At the end of the day there were some undone chores that would have been completed if I had not taken the tea-break.
At night, I took out my journal and wrote about the day. Those twenty minutes that day created a practice of ‘breaks’ for me. It provided an opportunity to enjoy work and leisure. I carefully planned the ‘pauses’ throughout my day. It took some effort to let go of the attachment to my ‘to-do’ list. Habitual thinking is a result of a psychological pattern. It puts your brain on automatic mode thus letting any beheviour unfold. As this continues it shuts down the decision-making part of your brain. Pausing interferes with these mental patterns and helps in breaking habits.
It is the busy nature of life that causes yearning for leisure. We need to stop any continuous activity to pause, breathe and rest. However, both go together, without work, there can’t be any leisure.
Be creative, coffee time, laughing minutes with my kid, dance break, nature talk, and listening break, you can devise any activity to pause. So the next time you have a huge to-do list break it up.
Pause, stop and take a break to LIVE.