Book Review – Seven Sacred Pauses: Living Mindfully Through the Hours of the Day by Macrina Wiederkehr

by Mark Votava


I love this book!  It is a book about living mindfully through seven particular times throughout the day that will help us to be grateful, aware and compassionate.  These seven pauses include: matins (the early morning hours when it is still dark), lauds (sunrise), terce (midmorning, the heart of the workday), sext (hour of light when the sun has reached its peak), none (hour moving toward evening), vespers (twilight hour, quiet of evening) and compline (last hour of the day).

This rhythm of pausing seven times throughout our days is a peaceful way to approach everyday life.  We begin to root ourselves in the present moment of our experience and begin to see all of life as sacred.  It is a way to slow down and cultivate awareness of the beauty of life.  Our own belovedness becomes known more deeply in our souls.

Macrina Wiederkehr’s book has helped me to become more mindful in my life.  I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to create some healthy rhythms.  This will help us to become aware of God’s presence within us and in our world.  No other book will help you to embody this authentic path quite like this one.

  • When ordinary experiences speak to us

“There are times when ordinary experiences that have been part of our lives day after day suddenly speak to us with such a radiant force it seems as though they are miracles…”

  • The gift of mindfulness

“We all have the potential to give ourselves wholeheartedly to whatever it is we must do.  This is the gift of mindfulness…”

  • The sacred connections that are possible in daily life

“Never underestimate what little acts of love can accomplish.  Do not take lightly the sacred connections that are possible in daily life…”

  • Practicing remembering who we are

“Waking up requires practice.  We practice remembering who we are.”

  • Your work is your love poured out

“In you contacts with people each day, you will be blessed if you remember that your work is your love poured out.”

  • The pauses can be our teachers

“The pauses throughout the day can be our teachers…”

  • Bringing a new kind of presence into our day

“As we grow in mindfulness, we bring a new kind of presence into our day…”

  • Longing to live in the present moment

“I long to live in the present moment.  I want to stop trying to control the hours so that new paths of inspiration are free to unfold within me.  I want to remember that I have the potential to be a blessing in the lives of those whom I live and work.  Take my scattered thoughts, my fragmented moments.  Breathe into them and draw them into your centered heart.  Open my eyes that I may see the grace that waits for me in every moment.  You are the Source of every moment’s blessing.  Teach me to live awake.”

  • Peace must begin in our own hearts

“Deep as our longing for world peace may be, we know that peace must begin in our own hearts.  For this reason we widen our thoughts about peace so as to include our personal lives, our attitudes, thoughts, and actions…”

  • I believe the truth about myself no matter how beautiful it is

“I will believe the truth about myself no matter how beautiful it is: I believe in my power to transform indifference into love.  I believe I have an amazing gift to keep hope alive in the face of despair.  I believe I have the remarkable skill of deleting bitterness from my life.  I believe in my budding potential to live with a nonviolent heart.  I believe in my passion to speak the truth even when it isn’t popular.  I believe I have the strength of will to be peace in a world of violence.  I believe in my miraculous capacity for unconditional love.  I believe the truth about myself no matter how beautiful it is.”

  • A disorder that cries for our attention

“Our driven state is a disorder that cries for attention.  Just what is it in our bodies or in our society that causes us to live as though there is no tomorrow?  Perhaps our driven condition has something to do with the difficulty many people experience in trying to live in the present moment.  It is true that, for the most part, no one applauds us when we pause from working.  The applause often comes when we are working overtime, when we are going beyond the call of duty.  There may be times when working beyond the call of duty is admirable, but making a lifestyle of this manner of working borders on compulsion and may be more of a sickness than a blessing.”

  • Being attentive to your soul

“If you want to be attentive to your soul, you must find ways to honor your need to acquire a sense of rhythm in your life…”

  • The darkness of suffering

“There are times when the darkness of suffering opens up whole new vistas of growth and insight in our lives that, perhaps, we could never have learned in the light…”

  • Silence is like a river of grace

“Silence is like a river of grace inviting us to leap unafraid into its beckoning depths…”

How do you live mindfully through the days of your life?