Saturday: Stop and Go

"stop and start"

by dr. susan nettleton

February brings an awareness of the stop and start quality of natural processes.  In Albuquerque, we may have a run of almost spring-like days and then days and days of bitter winter. With the lengthening periods of sunlight, there is a stirring of activity in nature but it is almost hesitant, restrained by winter barrenness. It’s useful to remember that we too stop and start.  There is a pulsing quality to life, a rhythm that often conflicts with our social/cultural/economic demand to always be active, “on,” growing and producing.  That demand is a root source of our modern complaint of stress and all its unhealthy and unpleasant effects.  As a part of nature, we cannot possibly be “on” all the time without disrupting the normal rhythm of life’s energy.   We need times of rest as well as activity, times of daylight, and times of dark night, times of sound and sensation, and times of quiet.  We are amazingly adaptive beings, we do adjust, and we can regulate our rhythms, but we can’t ignore them completely without causing damage to our bodies, our relationships and the world around us.   Often the first step toward healing and living a less stressful life is learning when to stop.  Stop.  Re-group.  Start again. 



There comes a point in our life when we become unwilling to commit ourselves to projects we really don't feel that we will complete. Our time becomes too valuable, too precious for us to waste on unfulfillable goals or unrealizable dreams. As we grow into maturity, we discover the directions and pursuits that are most important and relevant to us—the areas of life where we find our deepest fulfillment. As our particular path becomes clear and unmistakable to us, we find that it is easy and simple to give our whole being to it. Our minds and hearts become very open and receptive as we let ourselves stay on track and in tune with the unique way of life we have found—and we complete what we are here to do with grace and ease and peace.

“Full or Empty”

by Dr. Larry Morris

In Being and Nothingness, Jean-Paul Sartre describes the situation of a man who is rushing through a crowded restaurant looking for someone who isn't there. For this man, the restaurant is filled with nothingness. Sometimes we can be rushing through our life looking for what isn't there. It's as if nothing can really please us or make us happy—we may be trying so hard to get somewhere that we are missing the joy of the journey. We may need to just relax and take time to appreciate what is there in our lives already, instead of constantly seeking what hasn't yet happened. Our life right now may already be filled to the brim and overflowing with beauty and joy—all we need do is stop for a moment and take a good look.