This is a lovely moment. The darkest day of the darkest week of the year in the northern hemisphere.
It is the moment before the balance shifts and light begins to overtake darkness.
On the winter solstice, the rhythm of the sun pauses as it changes direction from decrease to increase.
If we pay attention, we, too, can’t help but pause.
This darkest day of the darkest week beckons us to pause.
What does any great athlete do before they…
…. dive into the water
…. throw the discus
…. grab the rings
What are they thinking about?
Nothing — absolutely nothing.
Shabbat means stop, cease. That’s what this week beckons us to do.
Just stop and be.
Wait a moment before you think about goals for the new year.
Go a little more slowly. Be a little gentler.
In a moment the darkness will begin to recede and light will begin to increase. Hope and desire will increase. We’ll reflect on the past and set goals to guide us forward.
But first, take a moment to pause before you plan.
This is the special moment of between – the moment that separates what was from what can be.
This is my annual tribute to the winter solstice. I hope you can take some time between the festivities of the holidays to relax, reflect, and think about nothing.
Thank you Jesse for this post – now living in a land where we are down to about 5 hours of sunlight (which, when we do see it, is very low on the horizon) your analogy is a good one. I appreciate the reminder to pause, reflect before moving ahead.
I love your description of the sun, low on the horizon. Our biological response is to slow down and replenish during these cold, dark days. But in our modern world, no matter where you live, we now have the ability to wall ourselves up and get disconnected from our natural world. Glad my reminder to pause and pay attention to the message on your horizon resonated for you, Carl.
What a beautiful note. Thank you. As a child, I always wondered why my grandmother made crazy choices on Shabbot. If I had this poem, I would have understood. I will cease at sunset this week and sit in awe of amazing world that surrounds me.
Delighted to hear from you, Marcia, and so glad my piece affected you. The intention of Shabbat is that by ceasing, we separate from our normal activity and open the possibility to reconnect with ourselves and what is most fundamentally important. It allows us to move forward again, more focused and grounded. A lesson not only for business planning, but for our own personal lives as well.
I love the concept of reconnecting with ourselves. That is hard to imagine but when I feel it, I know it. You have inspired me to take time this week to get grounded and connected. Thanks!
Exactly. It’s impossible to imagine when you’re not there. You know it when you feel it. It helps us have the courage to enter and do the hard work of the discomfort zone.
I know nothing of Shabbot and I agree with Marcia, I like the idea of reconnecting with one’s self. It is the purpose of my meditation. This is a lovely tribute to a very special day. Thanks!
Meditation is a great way to separate from the mundane and reconnect with what is deeper and truer. Establishing a regular meditation practice is a powerful way to integrate that into your daily life. By the way, I suspect you are aware of Sabbath, although you are not alone in not knowing that its literal translation is “cease” or “separate.” Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts about meditation, Jamie.
Aha, pausing to prepare for the Discomfort Zone. Great advice!
Slow down to speed up things!
Indeed! The Lesson of the Tortoise and the Hare 🙂
Great message, Jesse. Taking a pause allows us to be in the moment, reflecting. In these moments, we catch our spiritual breath for the new year ahead. All the best to you, Jesse, in the year ahead, and thank you for all you do. Jon
A great way to describe it – “catching our spiritual breath.” We’re just starting to see the value of pausing and focusing (aspects of mindfulness) in business and personal effectiveness. Thanks for deepening the conversation, Jon. Warm wishes for the holidays!
Thank you very much for this posting. Allowing time for thought is essential and valuable. Effective learning in life needs quality wait time.
In school classrooms and in the classroom of life, wait time provides provides positive changes in affective climate, positive changes in the equality of classroom interactions, an increased level of cognitive functioning, an increased level of academic achievement, and a decreased number of behaviour problems.
Thanks, Jim, so much for showing how the importance of waiting extends into education. In an age where we expect instant information and decisions, we overlook the importance of time for for simply being, reflecting, and allowing knowing to arise.
Jesse – I loved this post. I love pauses – and I love the in-between times. In the early 90s I lived in Trinidad and Tobago. I cherished my ferry rides from Trinidad to Tobago (over 4 hours long). This was before we had instant internet diversions. These rides were an exquisite STOP and exquisite transitions from one world into another. Heavenly. Enjoy your “dark” week!
That sounds so lovely, Achim. Sadly the world has changed and these kinds of opportunities to pause are disappearing rapidly. Unless we pay attention closely and create our own opportunities, we will be always “on.”