Holy pause

I love the word pause. This is the time zone of wonder. (Noelle Oxenhandler)

The Practice of Statio

cropped-sunflower-sun-summer-yellow.jpgIn the monastic tradition, statio is the practice of stopping one thing before beginning another. It is the acknowledgment that in the space of  transition and threshold is a sacred dimension, a holy pause full of possibility. This place between is a place of stillness, where we let go of what came before and prepare ourselves to enter fully into what comes next. (Christine Valters Paintner)


When we pause and allow these in-between spaces, we can discover a new type of presence, a “sacred attentiveness.” These in-between spaces open windows of possibility – so that we might recognize how Grace is working in us and around us.

So, how might we practice statio in our daily lives?

I invite you to pause right now and take 3-5 long slow, deepening breaths…

“Notice what you are experiencing as you inhabit the pause. What sensations are you aware of in your body? Do you feel anxious or restless as you try to step out of your mental stories? Do you feel pulled to resume your activity? Can you simply allow, for this moment, whatever is happening inside you?

You can weave the sacred pause into your daily life by pausing for a few moments each hour or as you begin and end activities. You can pause while sitting, standing, or lying down. Even in motion — going for a walk or driving — you can pause internally, eyes open and senses awake. Whenever you find you are stuck or disconnected, you can begin your life fresh in that moment by pausing, relaxing and paying attention to your immediate experience.” (Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance)

Holy pauses are threshold places that promote transformation but they are often not comfortable. We often cannot see the new until we let go of the old. It is a place of trusting and surrender.

I live in unfamiliar places:
The unknowing of empty spaces
Between what was and what is yet to be.
It is the hardest earthly place for me
To dwell within, pause, absolutely still.
Knowing only God and love can fill
The wanting, one drop at a time.

It’s only through the heart’s abiding
That Wisdom might be found hiding
In the shadows of such Sacred Pause.
I offer up what was to mourn in empty spaces,
Let go of worn embraces
So what is yet to be
May somehow birth in me.

~ Pam Breau in PRESENCE, Vol. 10, No 3

Yesterday, I hosted a birthday party for my husband and our one-year-old grandson. Twelve people gathered in our home to celebrate. Given that six attendees were young children and we needed 3 versions of dinner due to health and diet needs, and that there were two birthday cakes and piles of cards and presents that needed constant monitoring so 3-year-old Ezra would not sample the frosting or (helpfully) unwrap the baby’s presents, the event was anything but a physical pause. However, like Tara Brach suggests above, I was able to experience “holy pause” by reconnecting to the moment as fully as possible. It was not always possible of course. But when I could, my spirit –and weary body 🙂 — were lifted in timeless joy by my grandchildren’s shining eyes and smiles, and their loving attention to their grandpa – my beloved.

In closing, I want to share the video below by Carrie Newcomer “Every Little Bit of It” as an invitation to abiding, en-joying, and noticing the Holy, in this very moment…

Dear friends~  May the presence of “Holy Pauses” bless you this week. Please continue to share (as you feel led) in the comments below. It is a precious gift to all of us. ~Donna



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