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Resting in the Pause


Put yourself in this setting: You are watching the opening scenes of the movie ‘The Fellowship of the Rings’ where Frodo is leaving his cottage and saying goodbye to Gandalf. Gandalf gently suggests Frodo leave the ring, his “Precious,” behind for his journey. Frodo puts it on the fireplace mantle, does another task and heads out the door. Gandalf has to stop him “Frodo, the ring!” Somehow his “precious“ has gotten back in his pocket. The clip stops for now.


In the next scene, Frodo will throw down his “precious” with a resounding clang. I want you to throw down your “precious” with him.


Take a moment to listen to what your precious is. What thing or concept are you holding onto with all your might? What has become too precious in your life? It could be alcohol or food or exercise or success or any idea of yourself you desperately want. Hold that idea in your hand, palm up. “One,” “two,” “three,” then turn over your hand and throw down your precious as hard as you can.


What immediately came to my mind in that scene was “control.” That was my precious. Little did I know what a journey I was beginning as I consciously let go of control, and how funny and rewarding it would become. Whenever I noticed I was hanging on to my precious control, I would imagine it back and my hand and physically throw it down. Again and again. When good friends and family they heard me explaining a situation in which I was obviously grabbing for control, they would gently, and annoyingly and laughably, make the hand motion of throwing something down to remind me of what I was unaware of, or at least not wanting to see.


Often my reminder that I need to “throw down precious” is chemistry in my body. An awareness that I have triggered adrenaline- low level anxiety, a spinning of my brain or downright anger or frustration. I am learning to stop when I feel that trigger, find out what my fear is, and throw it down. As I consciously step away from my desire a “pause” is created.


The delight has been the intrinsic rest that comes in this pause. Life is more beautiful. I notice the small pleasures more. Situations become humorous. I am reminded that I am not in control and there is so much rest in that.


-Anne Lider


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