When do you palo?

Do you ever feel like you’re running a race from the moment your feet touch the floor, first thing in the morning, all the way until that moment of deep relief, when your head lands heavily onto your pillow, late at night?

I do.

Each night, I set my alarm, a little bit earlier than I really need to get up, with the intention of being able to take my time in the morning, moving slowly through my start-of-the-day routine, with calm and ease.

Doesn’t that sound nice?

It would be, except that I am far too weary of the day, to simply step out of bed, and slowly, conscientiously enter into it. So instead, I stay stagnant a little longer, only to then catapult into the day, at the very last minute, creating this feeling of being behind - a feeling I’ll carry into not only that day, but likely the next, and day after that, and so on, until it becomes chronic; this feeling of being too far behind, not good enough.

The problem is the weariness. Why so weary?

It’s a vicious cycle. I feel exhausted already, immediately upon waking, even after a good, solid eight hours of sleep, because I anticipate the rush of the day. Every day.

I know that I’ll get up and I’ll rush to get ready, I’ll rush out the door, and then I’ll rush through my tasks at work. I’ll rush to get enough done and then I’ll rush to get home, and I’ll rush to change, and then rush to the gym. I’ll rush home again, and rush to prepare dinner, and then rush to clean up and rush to get to sleep (which never works, by the way).

Not once in my day, do I pause; to breathe, to feel calm, to reflect on my progress, reward myself with a bit of acknowledgment, or to simply feel gratitude for this incredible life that I’ve been given, that I so seldomly bother to enjoy.

And so I indulge. I indulge in these sleepy moments between resting and waking, in the wee hours of the morning, right there in between, where I’m not really asleep, but not really awake - and instead I am in a fruitless battle with myself; day after day: Do I get up and go? Or wait a little longer to take the plunge?

What if the day was not so weary? What is there was space for pause, reflection and gratitude throughout the day? Thirty seconds here, a moment or two there...

That’s when you palo.

When you're having a moment of distress, perhaps trying to make a difficult decision you’ve put off for too long, or you’re trying to come up with a solution to a problem, albeit work related, health related, something with the kids or your spouse; a conflict with a dear friend...

That’s when you palo.

It’s not just about clearing your space, but creating space.

Space to feel centered, and calm; like yourself. Space to feel alive and human; and not just like some erratic robot, tirelessly performing task after task, with no real intention, no true effect...

...because the effect is in the moment, isn’t it?

And you’re missing it.

Moment by moment, day by day, and eventually, yes - year after year.

So here is my proposal, and I hope that you will join me in this endeavor. I invite you to take a moment, or several, each and every day, to simply strike that match, light that holy stick of wood, and watch that flame dance its wild and magnificent waltz.

Give it all of your attention, and I do mean all of your attention, for just one minute. Even just thirty seconds...

And when you’re ready, take a deep breath, and with it, blow out that dancing, flickering flame - but then stay still!

Be still, just a moment longer, and witness those residual, elegant ribbons of smoke - the effect of the flame, now that the flame is no more. And let your senses become ignited in its place.

Be touched, and be renewed. Then, become the flame.

Now give yourself those thirty seconds of attention, so that your dance too, is not missed.

- Kale Bajowsky