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Maria Gonzalez Blog
Mindful Leadership

Taking a Pause on November 11th

I always think of November 11th as a time to pause and be still, not just at 11:00am, but, all day.  When you do, you realize the enormity of this day.  We are pausing for so much.  First and foremost I feel gratitude and respect for those who have sacrificed so much.  My gratitude, extends to those who through the ages have fought for the hope of a safer and more peaceful world.  Now, that may sound like a political comment, and those who know me, know that I do not make political statements.  So, I would encourage you to here these words from a different place, a deeper place.

That gratitude I just mentioned extends beyond those who fought.  It goes to their families who also sacrificed a great deal in having to live without them.  Then there are those who have come back and experience the pain and effects of war every day.  And, that is the first layer of November 11th.

But, there is much more.  On November 11th I always pause and reflect on the pain humans cause one another, other beings and the planet as a whole.  We don’t pause enough to reflect on that.  If through the ages we didn’t and hadn’t caused one another such pain and suffering, there would not be such a need to pause and reflect on this day.

When we practice Mindfulness, hopefully we are pausing to notice our behaviour and our thoughts all day, every day.  And by catching ourselves, by purifying ourselves of our patterns, we start to cause others less pain, we walk more gently on the earth, we see all creatures as part of us.  We no longer see a division between ourselves and others.  We know we can not possibly harm another, without harming ourselves.  This then evolves to experiencing compassion towards others.  True compassion always includes action, to relieve the suffering of others, in some way.  Without action, there is no true compassion.  Without action, compassion remains intellectual.  By allowing it to remain at that level we can turn away and forget, so that the pain does not really touch us.

Add to this compassion with action a healthy dose of wisdom.  And, when we aspire to live each moment with compassion and wisdom, everything changes.  That is the pause the world needs.  A pause that includes the realization that “I” need to purify and clear “my” patterns, so that “I” cause no harm.

This is hard work.  It requires a real commitment to being with our own pain, so much so that we have a full experience of it.  Having that full experience washes away our hurt and that paves the way for us to not cause others pain and suffering.  It all starts with each and everyone of us taking responsibility to do no harm based on our old wounds and to see that we all have the power to heal ourselves.  No one else can do it for us.  And, in so doing, we contribute to healing the world.

That is how I experience pausing on this important day.

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