I came across this in Taoist Living and had to share, so perhaps taking a moment to stop, pause, reflect….


Life offers so many little pauses, breathing spaces, and moments of relief from constant movement, urgency, and stress. It saddens me to notice how seldom we take advantage of these small but essential gifts. Instead we see them as obstacles, stumbling blocks along the road from here to there, along which we must travel with all possible haste.

Idling cars lined up around the block this morning at a “drive-through” flu shot clinic near our home. I’m all for flu shots. I’m going to get one myself, but I continue to be puzzled by what seems to be a growing inability to take the time to park and leave one’s car. Perhaps seat belts are too complicated to unfasten or a radio program is too fascinating to take the chance on missing a word. Whatever the reason, the cars continue to sit out on our street and idle for fifteen minutes so people can have the convenience of sticking their arm out the window for a sharp jab.

As I drive across town, I pass several “drive-through” coffee shops where the line of cars backs into the street and blocks traffic so people can pay for their coffee drinks without the inconvenience of parking, getting out, and standing in line. Starbucks has just unveiled a new mobile app that plays on this need. Now a person can go to their mobile phone, place their order, pay for it, show up at the local Starbucks, bypass the line and find their order waiting for them.

Parking a fair distance from one’s destination, waiting in a coffee or grocery line, sitting in a doctor’s waiting room, even stopped at a red light in the midst of traffic – each of these is a gift of a precious moment in life. Each is a chance to look around, appreciate the faces of strangers, the clouds, the sun, or the flower pushing through a crack in the sidewalk. Each is a gracious bestowal of extra time to stop, look, and listen to life.

Take advantage of the pauses, the spaces that come naturally with life. Don’t believe the story that you are too rushed, too busy, or too important to wait a moment, walk a bit further, or stop and look around. Walk a distance from where you park your car. Deliberately pick a long line in the grocery store and notice your breath and the humanity around you. Take a good book to the doctor’s office. To quote that famous Taoist, Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”