Before you begin, pause...


This is a lovely week – the last week of the year. The darkest week of the year, here in the northern hemisphere. If we pay attention, we can’t help but pause.

What does any great athlete do before they…

…. dive into the water

…. throw the discus

…. grab the rings

They pause.

What are they thinking about? Nothing — absolutely nothing.

Shabbat means stop, cease. That’s what this week beckons us to do.

Wait a moment. Before you think ahead to 2012.

Go a little slowly. Be a little gentler. Take in the opportunity this week offers.

Pause, and then reflect. Let your mind traverse the year. Watch the movie. Don’t turn it into a project. Just see what emerges.

Soon I will blog about about vision, goals and taking action because it will be time to take stock and plan for the new year.

But first it’s time to pause.

This is the moment of between, the moment that separates you from what was and allows you to focus on what can be. It’s an important moment. It doesn’t last long, but you can experience it if you stop and pay attention.


20 comments to Before you begin, pause…

  • Jesse, this post couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I just finished my MBA December 10, transferred within my company to a new location, and although I am done with school, things still feel overwhelming.

    It is difficult to take in that deep breath you speak of in order to truly ready myself for the new year.

    Thanks for the reminder. Miriam

  • Jesse,

    I love this!

    “This is the moment of between” is a beautifully true expression.

    You make a difference,


  • Marye Gail Harrison

    Hi Jesse,
    My thoughts exactly! I love the picture you included today. This week is a time to suspend ourselves in cosmic wonder and then as you say, then let the new year begin to move us forward again. At the winter solstice in the norhtern hemisphere, the sun actually pauses several days before the days grow longer again. Maybe some old genes in us knows that.
    Marye Gail

  • “PAUSE” – such a simple thing yet something I have never given conscious thought to and rarely do. I will begin today and make it a New Year’s resolution.
    Thank you for this wonderful message.
    Happy New Year!

  • Well, well, well… If you read my post from today, you will understand why I am a bit lost for words on this one.

    I have taken my first real shut down at this time of the year for five years, and it has felt good. I really like the pause button, before I press play when I check in again to work next week. I am looking forward to the rest of my R&R so thanks for this validation Jesse

  • A wise old man once told me that the ancient Greeks believed that we walk with our backs towards the future. That’s why we can see what has happened, only partially understand what is happening around us, and really haven’t got a clue about what is going to happen – next week or within a year.
    “This is the moment of between.” This is right now. The moment for compassion, contemplation and choice.
    Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Susan

    Because I run on an academic year, my pause is in June….when school gets out, I take at least a week to chill, stop running around, try to imagine what my summer and next academic year will look like, review the past year….it feels natural to do it then, not now when I am in the middle of it all…but pause I do!

    • Hi Susan, Your point is well-taken – what’s important is taking a pause at the completion of anything major, whenever it occurs. It is interesting, though, that your big pause is near the summer solstice, rather than the winter solstice. Thanks for your comment. Nice to see you here!

  • I love this…and the star-gazing picture. It is in those moments of stillness, silence…presence… when energy can recoil within us. You have captured what it is to be “in the moment” and I love thinking about how this week can offer that for people. It is one of my favorite times of year, and you’ve reminded me why. Happy pausing…and then Happy New Year! MMF

  • Jesse,
    This morning I came across this from T.S. Elliot: “Between the idea and the reality. Between the motion and the act. Falls the shadow.” Perhaps in the shadow is the pause.

    What’s important is that we individually know where the pause is.


    • That’s a wonderful description of the pause. Thanks so much for sharing it, Shawn.
      As T.S. Elliot shows us, the pause is always there. To find it, all we have to do is pay attention.
      I believe right now, during this magical time, the pause is magnified and it is easier for each of us to experience it quite personally.

  • Jesse,
    Just discovered your site, and I am very glad I did. This is a great post and very timely. Have a wonderful New Year and I will look forward to hearing more from you in 2012.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>