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Pressing Pause
Teresa Mug

Being still is hard.

As I type this, I am almost 110 percent certain I have shared these thoughts before on more than one occasion. Yet as the saying goes ... the struggle is real.

So at the risk of being redundant, I share my take on this yet again for the reader who, like myself, is still struggling.

This past Sunday I forced myself to be lazy. Yes, “forced” and “lazy” as used here is 100 percent subjective to the perspective of the person using the words. In truth, I did not do absolutely nothing. I did do half of what I had intended, which was not due to lack of time but rather heightened awareness. Allow me to explain.

I’ve increasingly become aware of the “power of pause,” the checking back in with oneself, the true evaluation of feeling. As my awareness grows so too does my action in the way of ‘what’s next?’

Sunday morning I woke from a good seven hours of sleep (a home run in my sleep log) still feeling exhausted. Thinking of the list I had before me, I gave myself an extra 30 minutes to relax. By midday, exhaustion was still apparent so I revisited my life.

What I mean by this, is I actually traveled through the past handful of weeks in search of the last time I’d been ‘still,’ lazy, disengaged. Yep! Like most mommies I came up empty, could not recall when that was.

In staying true to my new commitment to myself (and my family), I grabbed my book and put myself to bed – nap time. Just as I once used to do for my kids, I did for myself. Come to think about it, when they were real small, I’d even nap with them on occasion. Ah … Those were the days.

The list was far from done, but I recognized rest and stillness were in order if I were to make it through the second half of May. As I woke, I felt refreshed … rested and then my mind returned to that list waiting on my desk.

What would I tackle first, now that I had taken the time to pause and rest a bit? As I had this thought I returned to my initial intention, learning to be still. Then I began to ponder this notion.

Why was sitting still so challenging? What is it about the list, the making of it, checking off, completion, that is so fulfilling? I mean, who’s in control here, me or the list?

Reflecting back, I can see how this may seem a bit silly, for me however it is pretty accurate. I recognized in that moment that as adults we are not dissimilar from children in the way of energy level and allowing it to release. Some of us can sit for hours, take an occasional stroll and be perfectly content.

Others of us struggle to temper the energy. Some of us aid its control via exercise, which is both healthy mentally and physically. Exercise helps tame the beast, yet even still we struggle with the ‘what’s next?’

Just like morning, I grabbed my book and forced myself to lie there a bit longer. Recognizing this is hard. My unscientific mommy theory is that this behavior is partially learned and/or created habit and partially genetic (i.e.: how we’re made).

But I’m trying to slow life down, as my kids grow older, the days grow shorter and years begin to feel like months, I need to feel and see more. That’s the ultimate objective of this stillness I seek and speak of. We can’t get days back. We can’t recreate moments missed. We can pause a bit more and take in the moments, that’s the end goal.

As for the list, some boxes were checked – this column was one of them. So in that area I won. Be still my heart, I checked the box. Yay me!



Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.