I learned a new word today: caesura.

To be fair (to my AP English teacher, Dr. Locke), it could very well be one of those words that I learned in high school, then forgot because I don’t study poetry the way I used to.

No, I came across this word in a ​story​ about Olympic trampolinists*. A former athlete of the sport used the word to describe the moment of transition from jumping to gain speed and height to jumping to perform their moves. That moment comes in every leap…that breath of weightlessness before gravity has its say again. I think we’ve all probably felt that, if not on a trampoline, but perhaps on a swing? That moment with your head thrown back and your legs and arms out straight, and you just hang for a moment…before leaning in, tucking your legs and hurling yourself through space in preparation for the next swing. The author called out that space in time as a caesura… “an intentional pause taken between two phrases, a clear recognition of a Before and an After.“

And it hit me…that’s the pause we all strive for when we feel ourselves frustrated, or when we want to jump in and solve or rescue, when we feel pushed by our own inner impatience to make something happen. The Educaring® Approach, Magda Gerber, teaches us to pause. To give space between the thing that just happened and what happens next. Often that pause allows children to find their own way, to figure it out for themselves. And when it doesn’t, it offers us the opportunity to choose how we want to respond.

I think it is also what makes a RIE class so special…a RIE class is a caesura in your day, your week. There’s a clear Before and a definite After. The space in between is when we separate ourselves from the gravity of life and busyness. It’s a time to hold yourself in the weightlessness of observation and not-knowing. To prepare yourself for what will come. And over time, as you practice, you’ll find yourself finding more and more opportunities for pausing, for slowing yourself down more regularly. Not always of course, gravity is real folks, but more and more regularly.

The next time you feel like life is hurling you through space like your child’s hurling food off his tray and blocks across the room, look for the caesura.

*I was surprised that’s a word, too!