The Power of the Pause

Note: After writing this blog post, Mike Henry, my ex-husband’s 58-year-old brother, unexpectedly died. We will be traveling this Thanksgiving to attend a funeral, to pause, and ponder another life gone. I dedicate this blog to Mike, who remained and will forever be with his high school sweetheart, Sherry; who was also the father of four, grandfather of three, who loved his work and community, and who was alive and peaceful in the end. 

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Every Tuesday I attend Toastmasters, an international public speaking organization. To help each other improve our presentation skills, members serve as functionaries, such as Grammarian, Timer, and the ever-dreaded Ah Counter, who tracks filler words like and, um, ah, so, and but. It’s not that we can’t use these filler words. We can. We just can’t allow them to use us, in other words become too much, too annoying, too distracting. As members get more comfortable speaking in front of others, we learn the value in replacing these habitual words with silence. 

We learn to pause.  

Pausing can allow the speaker to collect his/her thoughts, add emphasis, slow down a speech that needs slowing, help gain composure, or further enrich a rhythm. 

There is power in the pause. 

And just like with public speaking, there is also power in pausing from our daily runaway duties. 

This week, Thanksgiving week, is all about pausing––one of the reasons I hail this holiday. Unfortunately, it is sandwiched between the frenzy of black witches and Black Friday––the madness that kicks off the madness of holiday shopping. Thanksgiving is there, but barely. It’s like a piece of bologna between two slices of cake. 

But I love Thanksgiving! I love the Macy’s Day Parade and that the commentators are bundled up and I’m not. I love that there are no gifts. I love that we actually take time to ponder our blessings and be with family and friends. I love fall. I love all the amazing food. I love Thanksgiving.  

Today I’m taking a pause from my body image series to promote my favorite holiday. I don’t want it to be bologna between two slices of cake. I want Thanksgiving to be hailed for all its glory. I want it to push its way back onto our calendars. To demand its place. But Thanksgiving isn’t like that. It is not rude or forceful. It’s simply there if we so choose. 

Please. 

Let’s pause this Thanksgiving to collect our thoughts, to add emphasis where needed, to slow down that which needs slowing, to gain our composure, and to further enrich our distinctive rhythms. 

Let’s pause this Thanksgiving. 

2 thoughts on “The Power of the Pause

  1. First, I am so sorry for your family’s loss. What a hard thing, especially at the holidays.

    I don’t give Thanksgiving much credit. Halloween is my favorite because of all the supernatural phenomena; it’s exciting. Each holiday is special for its own reasons. As I get older I’m starting to see Thanksgiving in a more adult way… as in, using it as a day to acknowledge what I’m grateful for. When I was younger, I saw it as food, parade, bed. But you’re right, pausing and taking inventory of life is important.

    1. Thank you Serena for your condolences and thoughts. I’m glad to hear you’re appreciating my beloved Thanksgiving more as you get older. I think we need a day of gratitude. Savor the day, both figuratively and literally.

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