Reflection: The final week of my recent ‘Grand Pause’ was spent in Paris. It’s a city that’s renowned for its monuments (think Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe), its museums (think Louvre and Musee d-Osay), and of course its food (think buttery croissants and boeuf bourguignon).
Like any large metropolis, it also has a few downsides. Nonstop crowds of people and hordes of tourists (yep, I was one of them). Bikes, scooters, cars and buses all jostling for space on the streets. Honking horns and ‘ee-aw’ sirens day and night.
And still, in the midst of the commotion, there are places of peace and tranquility. The wide open spaces of public gardens – like the Luxembourg, the Tuileries, and Parc Monceau – are well used by the residents of the city.
Even more appealing to me are the many Parisian ‘pocket gardens’ tucked away in hidden spaces – just around the corner from the chaos of city life. You can find these tiny oases secreted away beside the National Archives, behind Notre Dome, on the western point of Isle de la Cite, and in countless other nooks and crannies sprinkled throughout the city.
These ‘parcs de poche’ as the French might call them are quiet, green, and frequented by individuals or small groups of two or three people who are clearly enjoying the peace and tranquility on offer.
Action: In the chaos and commotion of your daily life, where are your private parks – your points of pause and places of peace?
They could be anywhere. A bench in the atrium of a nearby office building. A corner in a public conservatory. A swing in a schoolyard or neighborhood park. A window seat looking outdoors from your local coffee shop. The lawn chair in your backyard.
Whatever and wherever they may be, keep them on your radar. Build time-out visits into your regular routine.
There’s much to be said for a pause practice that delivers a measure of peace and quiet in the midst of a crazy day and a chaotic world.
Quotes Of The Week:
Nature is not a place to visit. It is home. – Gary Snyder
Time and space – time to be alone, space to move about – these may well become the great scarcities of tomorrow. – Edwin Way Teale
Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike. – John Muir
And this chuckle by Demetri Martin is just plain goofy: I was walking in the park and this guy waved at me. Then he said, “I’m sorry, I thought you were someone else.” I said, “I am.”
Resource Of The Week: Do you or does someone you know need more convincing that downtime is essential? Here it is – signed, sealed and delivered – in this article from Scientific American: Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime.
Readers Write: In response to the last ezine, All Will Be Well, Pause reader CT writes: Thank you for your e-zine this week. My husband often tells me something similar: “Everything’s going to be all right”. Sometimes I listen and sometimes I don’t; and yet he always seems to be right. I tend to catastrophize situations. Right now I’m at a low place. Things are not going as planned, and I despair. My head says I need to act on faith (as you put it) and stay the course, but my heart isn’t in the same place. Your reminder that “All will be well” was timely indeed!