I’ve had a really hard time deciding what to write about for P. Not because of a paucity of good words beginning with P, but because of a plethora of possibilities parading through my head. All day yesterday, and then last night, after I went to bed worn out from a few very stressful days with serious parental health problems, my mind promptly perked up, with P words racing nonstop through my thoughts. I finally fell asleep and dreamed about choosing a word to focus on, and woke up with more words pouring through my mind. I pursued several potential paths, then finally decided I needed to proclaim a PAUSE

And that is what I did. I went out and planted pansies (oh dear, more P’s), and that partially cleared my head. I realized that whenever I have a stressful few days, even when I have had the margin I wrote about a few days ago, my mind does tend to get going and it acts like a runaway horse (or should I say pony) and will not slow down. I sleep poorly, I wake up groggy but wired, and my thoughts revert at the drop of a hat to whatever my mind has latched onto. Perseverance is good, but perseveration is exhausting.

I really do need to pause, but it seems I can’t simply do a passive pause, because my thoughts snap back to their previous focus like a rubber band that’s been stretched and released. Hence my decision to get out in the fresh air, take a walk with Ramble, sketch a tree, and do some gardening. As I ponder this problem, I recognize that, though the subject differs, this is perhaps one of the more important skills I need to develop– the ability to pause my mind. I don’t know if everyone’s mind gets stuck in a permanent loop like this, but looking back, I can see that this has been my response to stress for as long as I can remember, even when I was a child.

And that makes me think that while calling a pause is a good start, I probably need to address the root of the problem, which is how I respond to stress. I suspect that this is actually a form of worrying, even though I am not specifically worrying about the issue at hand. I am going to try a three-pronged approach to Pausing:

  • Redirect my mind– Go for a walk, sketch, read.
  • Remind myself of truth– I am not God. I’m responsible for my actions but not for outcomes.
  • Receive God’s peace– “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

As I look ahead to tomorrow, I am thankful that there are not as many Q words!

And now I need to click “Publish”…

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