The word Selah has a meaning that is discussed and debated. It appears in the Psalms over 70 times and I just learned in Habakkuk. I like to think of it as a musical direction in a song that a) tells the singer to pause, take a breath and b) for the audience to pay attention this is important.
One of the best explanations I found was here and it mentions that the Amplified Bible uses this phrase each place where the word Selah appears:
Pause and calmly think about that
The idea behind this word is the idea behind this site – to pause. Not to stop, not to do something totally crazy but just to pause and take a deep breath before moving on.
The pause is an amazing concept if you think about it. You are asking your brain to do something it doesn’t like to do and totally against what we have trained it to do over the years. To slow down and stop racing a million miles a minute. Do you have those sleepless nights when your brain will just NOT turn off? I do and it is one of the most frustrating reasons to not be able to get to sleep.
We have trained ourselves and our brain to multi-task, to push beyond our limits and drive ourselves to distraction and exhaustion. We have taught ourselves to not pause. It is a sad concept and we are starting to deal with the consequences – at least I know I am. To me pausing has become a luxury, something I long to do. What I am realizing is that pausing is a necessity and not just a luxury.
Just like any new discipline we have to learn (or re-learn) the idea of pausing and stopping, it is not something we do automatically which I think is sad. Nowadays it seems like we pause because we have too.
You get sick, a child gets sick or you pause in between appointments or picking up the kids from their various activities. Again, not because you choose to but be cause you have too. But even in that pause we watch TV, pull out our phone and check Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, the news, email. Even in that moment of a “forced” pause we feel the need to fill up that empty space with something.
Today I got sick, not terribly sick but enough that it was hard to push through it and try to get work done for my clients’ websites. Finally I turned off my work computer in my home office and said I’m done and climbed into comfy clothes, curled up on my bed and tried to think of what I could do. It kept hitting me how absurd that thought was. I’m sick! Go make some tea, take a nap, just rest and here I am feeling the need to fill up this pause of not feeling good with some sort of noise.
Today I chose TV, not that it lasted all that long, I kept falling asleep. Duh, Marta, doesn’t that tell you something!? So with the dogs curled up in various spots on top of the bed with me, we all napped at least one of the dogs snored and started chasing something in their sleep and woke everybody else up. But we all paused and rested and filled our time up with what we needed to do at that moment.
Why can’t we, and by we I really mean me, learn to pause on a regular basis and not just when we are sick enough there doesn’t seem to be a choice? What benefits would we see and experience if we did? I’m thinking it is time we found out.
Marta Goertzen is an entrepreneur, writer and nature photographer. She daily explores the trails and beaches of the South Central Oregon Coast with her buddy Bailey. You can follow along on their adventures on Instagram. She is also the author of several books including her newest, “Choosing Gratitude: A Daily Quiet Time Journal”.