Pause for Reflection

In our oh-so-busy lives, we seldom take the opportunity to pause and notice, much less to reflect on things.

This morning while enjoying my coffee, I spied an unusual movement of the tree branches near my fence.  Moving outside to investigate, a mother possum with her babies clinging tightly, was hovering among the branches wispily offering her camouflage.  The gardeners next door had apparently flushed her out and she was seeking refuge.  Backing off, I watched from inside as she inched along the branch and dropped down, hiding behind my wood pile.

I wondered silently about my insulation from nature.  How often in our protection from it, do we compete with those who share our planet?

I have a bit of “undeveloped” land near me, thus attracting such wandering creatures as mother possum.  I grew up in the luxury of natural surroundings, without close proximity of humans living next door.  Now, I ponder the word “undeveloped” as I notice the effects on our taming of the land around me.  Do we humans need to conquer?  Is it natural for us, or something we can question and perhaps change?  We have tamed animals as pets and control nature through our landscaping, but what funny creatures we are to insist on demonstrating our ability to dominate others.  In fact, there are no “others,” rather we are all living, breathing creatures sharing this ship hurling through the ocean of space.

  • When we have met the basics for survival, perhaps that’s when the responsibility for exercising love, acceptance and generosity is the next step in OUR development, rather than staying in the fight, flight, freeze mode of controlling and getting and reacting.
  • Pausing, is a practice that gives an opportunity for presence. Presence usually gives rise to gratitude and love for it allows us to connect with our true self, not the reactive emotional behaviors our survival-oriented brain generates.

Rather than working so hard to destroy nature, perhaps we could benefit more from taming our own nature, filled with tendencies to judge rather than accept.  We never know who or what might be able to take flight and soar when we do.

A pause example from my own life happened with my friend who was driving us back from riding our horses in the back country. I noticed a hawk ahead on the road and said out loud to the car in front of us, “Slow down!”

Alas, the driver did not hesitate as the hawk took flight from the side of the road and was hit by the speeding car, that did not even stop after running into the bird.

“Stop the car” I insisted to my friend and ran to where the bird was on the side of the road. Feeling sick, I surveyed the felled raptor, lying on its back. Suddenly, it righted itself, shook its head from side to side and focused its drifting eyes.

“Are you okay?” I asked, not thinking that I was trying to communicate with a wild bird.

It eyeballed me during a long-silence and then with a leap and flapping of wings, the bird soared high above and away from the speeding cars on the road.

Walking back to the car, I climbed in, filled with grateful appreciation. The love I have for nature is not blind, nature is cruel as are we at times.

  • My hope is that our ability to practice more than survival techniques will become what we focus on developing.
  • Rather than working so hard to destroy nature, perhaps we could benefit more from taming our own nature, filled with tendencies to judge rather than accept.
  • We never know who or what might be able to take flight and soar when we do.
  • Of course, pausing is a mindful practice. Not too long ago, I paused while hiking and discovered I was standing in the middle of a giant red ant housing development.