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Local author offers a way to integrate room to breathe in busy lives

Rachel Raya Horcher of Homewood lives the busy-to-the-point-of-frantic life that many people experience these days. 

She is a solo mom with two medically complex children. She juggles more jobs and doctor’s appointments than many people and has become, by necessity, what she terms “a master of resilience.”

Rachel Raya Horcher with a copy of her book, “Permission to Pause.”
(Provided photo by Jessie Jury)

Unlike many others who struggle to keep up and keep stress at bay, Horcher is a professional with more than 25 years of experience at finding peace, grounding the body and the space to breathe. She’s a licensed massage therapist, a yoga instructor, a life coach and a Reiki master (a Japanese energy healing practice similar to massage).

She knows from personal and professional experience that finding the time to apply common self-care advice is not possible for everyone, and so she wrote a book, published in 2023, that shares with readers her advice and practice on how to slip self-care into even the busiest life.

“Permission to Pause: The Art of Slowing the F**ck Down” includes an author’s note at the end that reads in part: “This journal is a reminder that it’s okay to slow down, cuss a little, or a lot, and embrace the messiness of being human.”

“There’s this idea of self-care. It’s an hour here or a vacation there,” she said. “It’s all these really beautiful things that in my personal experience haven’t been super viable. You don’t always have an hour or you don’t always have the financial resources or the support to go do those things.”

She advocates for practicing yoga and experiencing massage, but she also wants people to find ways to practice self-care when yoga and massage are inaccessible.

“My personal practices, the practices I’ve taught my children and my clients, are typically much more like little slivers of moments,” she said. “These are practices that I incorporate in my daily life that I hope that people can utilize.”

Those “slivers of moments” are the “pause” in the title, and she begins the book by urging people to give themselves permission to “hit the brakes” when life seems like “a twisting and looping roller coaster of responsibilities.” 

The key, she said, is being prepared to take advantage of those small bits of time when they arrive rather than waiting until the ideal amount of time is available.

The book is divided into three sections that lead readers from advice on how to find permission to pause, interspersed with journaling prompts; then in the second section, descriptions of how to implement specific practices; and finally, reflective journaling to help understand the whole process. 

The middle section includes descriptions of somatic practice, breathwork exercises, embodied movement and communication practices. The final section is a series of reflection prompts with space for writing.

Even for people who choose not to write in the book, the journaling section prompts are intended to invite thoughtfulness. 

“We often go really, really quickly, so it kind of slows you down a little bit,” she said. 

Horcher is available to do workshops based on the principles in the book. She recently presented a workshop geared to teens at the H-F High School Operation Snowball retreat. She said she heard back from one participant who used “permission to pause” as a kind of mantra as she prepared for final exams.

The F-word in the title also makes a few appearances in the text, but it serves a purpose, according to Horcher. Even though she doesn’t cuss often and not around children, she thought the word in the right places would bring her authentic voice onto the pages.

One of her coaching clients said she felt like she was talking with Horcher while reading.

“It’s the energy behind the word,” she said. 

“Permission to Pause” is available at the Rock Shop, 18109 Dixie Highway, and Serendipity Yoga and Wellness, 18300 Dixie Highway. 

Contact Horcher at [email protected], on Facebook at @Rayalife and on Instagram at @rayalife_.

Correction: One of Rachel Horcher’s professions initially was listed incorrectly. She is a licensed massage therapist.

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