The old saying is true: Time really does seem to speed up as we get older. But a monastic tradition called The Seven Sacred Pauses that’s been around for thousands of years may help us slow down and appreciate each day.
It may not be realistic to stop and acknowledge them all, but pausing for no more than a minute to reflect and pray during these seven specific times is a simple way to increase our gratitude and inner peace, which reduces stress.
Dawn, The Awakening Hour. At the break of day, around 5:30 or 6 a.m., set the tone for the day by opening your heart to its possibilities and asking for guidance.
Midmorning, The Blessing Hour. Around 9 or 10 a.m., when our days can sometimes start to feel overwhelming as to-lo lists kick in, stop to reflect and reset your thoughts into a positive place.
Noon, The Hour of Illumination. This is when the sun is in its most powerful position. Taking several deep breaths will help you focus on reenergizing yourself and give you a fresh outlook on the day.
Midafternoon, The Wisdom Hour. At 3 p.m. when the sun begins to descend is a time to let go of any stress or worry that’s built up over the day.
Evening, The Twilight Hour. Take a moment to be aware of the sunset and how it represents the end of a day and the hope of a new beginning tomorrow.
Bedtime, The Great Silence. Around 9 or 10 p.m. before going to sleep, stop to reflect on the day and evaluate any lessons you’ve learned.
After midnight, The Night Watch. If you wake up and find yourself not being able to sleep, think of it as a gift and use the time to pray for others or make a mental gratitude list.
To learn more about this ancient practice, read Macrina Wiederkehr's bestselling book, Seven Sacred Pauses: Living Mindfully Through the Hours of the Day,