There’s something special about slowing down; about taking pause.

Busy as I am sometimes, I appreciate those moments that take me out of auto-pilot mode so I can stop, reflect, and appreciate what’s happening with me or around me. I’ve found that it doesn’t take much for it to happen, and I consider that a good thing. Here are a few examples.

The Birthday Card

Last month I was in a store picking out a birthday card for my wife and I was having some difficulty deciding which message I wanted to convey. As I lingered in the card section, other folks came around in search of a card for someone they cared about too. I didn’t really talk with them, but I was struck with the realization of how important our actions were. Each of us in some way, took pause to think about another person; considering who they were, what they liked, and what message of kindness we could share to convey our feelings. There was something really special about taking a pause to think of someone else, and something uniting and communal about knowing that others were doing the same.

The Movie Theater

One time we spent a movie day at the theater where we saw a few films in a row. Sometimes we’d find ourselves waiting in the lobby for one another after needing to split up briefly. For me taking pause allowed me to acknowledge what it felt like to be surrounded by so many people, and yet feel disconnected. When we reunited, with me either moving toward her or she moving toward me, it seemed as if we had similar experiences. We’d later talk about how nice it was to be waiting for someone, and how nice it felt to know that someone was waiting for us.

The Secretary of State Office

Food, music and sports are 3 things that bring people together. But you know what else brings people together? The Secretary of State office. All kinds of people, in a room, with nowhere to go, for an extended period of time. In some cases, people who’d never otherwise spend time with each other had they not needed to come to this central location for assistance. When I was sitting in there one day I thought to myself, “well, I might as well start talking.”

There’s something about waiting that forces us to take a pause and reflect. It can present us with important opportunities for increased understanding, increased awareness, and increased appreciation if we’re open to searching for ways to connect the dots.


From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins-Jones, MSW, LLMSW

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Relando Thompkins-Jones

I'm a Social Justice Educator and Aspiring Humanitarian who is interested in conflict resolution, improving intergroup relations, and building more equitable and inclusive communities. "Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian" is my blog, where I write about issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. By exploring social identities through written word, film & video, and other forms of media, I hope to continue to expand and enrich conversations about social issues that face our society, and to find ways to take social action while encouraging others to do so as well in their own ways.

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