There are a lot of ‘Stop Streets’ in Cape Town. A T-junction or crossroads where you have to stop even if you don’t see any oncoming traffic.
They don’t have Stop Streets in London. People don’t stop often in London or at least I didn’t.
I have been learning over the past few years about the importance of stopping sometimes, in fact the importance of stopping often. Stopping to reflect, stopping to look back and to look forward. Stopping to breathe, to reconnect with myself. It doesn’t come naturally but it became very necessary.
It’s easier than we think to take a brief moment to stop and reflect – time while the kettle boils, time in the shower, time when the baby is sleeping or feeding or when we stop at a traffic light. Just brief moments to stop and think ‘what’s been good today?’ and to be thankful.
I tried to discipline myself to have one night ‘in’ per week in London. At first it was a struggle but then I would look forward to those times. I also tried to have a weekend day totally free every month and a weekend or two a year when I would head out of town to a Bed and Breakfast place for a mini retreat.
Time to look back: What’s been a joy to me? What am I thankful for? Who am I thankful for? How can I let them know? And what’s been the low times, the struggles? What have I learnt through them? Has any good come of them?
And time to look forward: What do I hope for? What/who do I want to make my priorities? Do I need to change anything to see that happen?
I’m glad for those times to stop and reflect. It helps me be more intentional about the rest of my life. To live with fewer regrets maybe, as time slips by.
The Stop Streets in Cape Town remind me to stop, even if breifly, and to be thankful.
John F. Kennedy: ‘We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.’