Finding Strength In The Pause

Tara Brach has written about the concept of Querencia, which can be interpreted as finding your focus and strength in the refuge of a pause. Tara reminds us that in the midst of a bullfight there is an area of safety in the arena for the bull. He just has to find it inside himself and his environment. This place and inner state where he can reclaim his strength and power are called his querencia.

“As long as the bull remains enraged and reactive, the matador is in charge. Yet when he finds querencia, he gathers his strength and loses his fear. From the matador’s perspective, at this point the bull is truly dangerous, for he has tapped into his power.”

Querencia is where we find refuge and renewal. These are two elements which are crucial to poignant and powerful forward motion. The image that comes to mind is pulling back on the bow so that when the time is right the arrow can fly.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes wrote of her experience studying the similarities between wolf and human behavior in her book ‘Women Who Run With The Wolves’

Dr. Estes tells us that when an intruder appears, the wolf pack may draw together at a safe distance and breathe together. They can attack in this formation if need be, but they can also pause and connect with the terrain and each other. They do this to focus and ground themselves in order to decide what to do next. Each breath readies them for anything that may happen. In this moment of indecision, they do not pounce, they simply sit and rock and breathe. Then and only then do they act.

We are constantly reminded of the unlimited power we receive when we are willing to just be in the moment with our breath and our body.  More often than not when I have allowed space for this in my own life, I have left the moment open for grace to enter.

That is what I want above all else. Grace in moments of fear, anxiety, danger, and weakness. Grace is defined as the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in salvation and the bestowal of blessings.

I need some of that more than I need to be right. I need that more than I need the advantage of striking first.  I need grace to breathe easy.

I talk myself out of self-care, a pause, or a deep breath by saying that it is unnecessary.  I tell myself that it is indulgent.  I tell myself that I can go on without it.  In a world full of people who think that caring for the self is a rebellious act, be a revolutionary.

As a yogi friend of mine says, “Sit down and meditate every day for at least 12 minutes. When you find that you don’t have enough time to do that during the day, then you must sit down and meditate for 20 minutes.”

Take a deep breath today.


Find refuge.

Allow yourself to be renewed.

When we wish not to feel, not to participate in the stream of life, we hold our breath. Breathe deeply into your experience and emotions. Allow yourself to be here now and witness everything. See all there is to see which includes options, choices, and roads previously not considered.

So feel it all and connect your breath to the moment, to your heartbeat and your intuition.

Feel it.

And when you are ready, take your first step.


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