The hustle and bustle of the holiday season starts in November with Thanksgiving. (This year there were even Christmas decorations and gifts being displayed in October–before the Hallowe’en costumes were even removed from the shelves!). The frenzy continues through December with Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, Christmas and New Year’s Eve– all smashed together in just a few weeks. Yet there seems to be a duality at the year’s end—it’s frenzied yet can also be quiet if we pause long enough to experience it. At first there is a sense of urgency—a frenzy to: get things done; complete hand-made gifts and unfinished projects before the end of the year; host and attend get-togethers with family and friends. Plus, most of us over-indulge by eating good food, madly shopping and hectic traveling. Tempers run hot, patience runs out and emotions sink and rise.
Yet it can be a quiet time. We can take time off from work; soak in some peace and quiet; spend more quality time with the people we care about; stay cozy inside our homes; and simply read, listen to music and bask in the inner glow of winter.
What I truly love to focus on during these winter times, are the spaces in-between the noise. “The Pause” is what I’ve come to call it. There is a calm there in those rare moments of peace. And it takes a lot of concentration to notice the quietness as you are listening.
If you pay close attention to “The Pause”, it’s almost as if you are listening to a stringed orchestra or the wind.
“The Pause” is something that is sometimes difficult to define or even to notice. In music it may come as an intermission; a rest or transition between notes or keys; a lyrical pause between words or phrases; a drop in tempo or tone– perhaps even a moment of total silence. A recent song I wrote “Winter” uses “The Pause” quite liberally. It’s a lullaby and the ¾ time offers a natural rhythmic pause. Even the title word “winter” has a pause and quietness to it, as do many of the winter images in the song.
Liten to Hunk-Ta-Bunk-Ta: Winter
The Pause calms us and slowly brings us to a halt. Whether it be the holiday season coming to an end or preparation for the launch of a new year- The Pause can center us. I feel most calm when I’m out in nature, writing songs or with the people I love. These moments of calm inspire me to re-focus. Another one of my newer songs is in Sign Language which naturally brings a sense of calm, quiet and peace whenever it’s used. Pardon the pun but with Sign Language, we can all use our Pause! (Paws). Right?
The inspiration for my album, “Hunk-Ta-Bunk-Ta HOLIDAYS- a Celebration of Global Light”, is really about “The Pause.” It’s the global light from the sun, moon and stars that keeps us connected and brings all peoples together in celebration, and it’s the light inside us that inspires hope, compassion and love. My intention was to create stories and songs that rise beyond cultural, political and religious divides. It was written and recorded two winters ago during “The Pause” and meant to be a global love note.
As December and 2021 come to an end and the Pandemic continues, remember “The Pause” and give yourself and your loved ones plenty of time to experience it. Remember the calm and quiet in-between the frenzy and daze of these holidays. Happy New Year!