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Neat and clean stop

Recently I came across a beautiful quote: „There is nothing in which a horse's power is better revealed than in a neat, clean stop.“ (Michel de Montaigne)

Photo by Josephine Amalie Paysen on Unsplash

I was lying on my balcony today, contemplating whether I have the midlife crisis or not and again, this quote entered my mind. I said to myself: Well, I don´t know whether I have a midlife crisis but if I do, then I would like to go through it with precisely this horse ´s power.


Would it be possible to regard any crisis as an invitation to stop and take a pause? Isn´t environmental crisis a call for stop in what we are doing on the planet? Isn´t life crisis a need to stop in our life journeys?


Tom Andersen* emphasised the crucial importance of pauses in our conversations. He compared it to breathing. After exhaling, we need a pause before the next inhale. Only by allowing our clients this space „(…) we might contribute to the next inspiration that starts spontaneously, not by will or force“ he wrote. Could we say that in our lives we also need such pauses in order not to run into crises?


Using Open Dialogue network meetings in situations of crisis might be seen as creating safe space for a pause in a life of a family / network that can be used for orientation, reflection or preparation for the next moves.

Importantly, it is not a certain person (i.e. who exhibit strange behavior) that needs a break. Rather, we can say that a sensitive individual expresses a need for the whole system (a family, a community, a network) to have a pause.


Maybe, if we feel or see the call for stop (in our bodies, in our surroundings, in our life) soon enough, we only need to take it into account, follow this feeling and make a pause. Consciously. Slowly. Neatly and cleanly. Since if we stop neatly and cleanly, we do not even have to call it a crisis.


*Andersen, T. (2012). Human Participating: Human “Being” Is the Step for Human “Becoming” in the Next Step. In H. Anderson & D. Gehart, (Eds.). Collaborative therapy: Relationships and conversations that make a difference, pp. 81-93, Routledge.

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