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The Power of the Pause

I used to believe that the more activity I did in my day to day life, the more productive, efficient, or possibly even "more important" I was. If I was busy it meant that I was "somebody", I mattered, I had things to do. As I've gotten older, I've learned the importance of taking breaks, creating space to journey inward and assess what is actually working in my life (and quite frankly, what is not!). This reset button is integral to my well being and to my success as an entrepreneur, a therapist, a mother, a friend, and the list goes on.

I recently noticed the ways that the power of the pause can support me in micro moments as well. If we already see the value of the pause when we're flying high, allocating our time and assessing our calendars, then I'm going to challenge us to dig deeper. Every DM, email, text message, and call does not need to be handled right now. I started to notice the ways that I was engaging with my clients and potential clients, my family and friends, comments and messages on social media, and the the list goes on. I got curious about why I was behaving that way. I noticed that it wasn't because I thought I was going to miss out on a business opportunity, or that people would think less of me if I wasn't super responsive. I realized it wasn't because my friends and family were pushing me to get back to them right away. I noticed that it was simply my discomfort with the stillness. In these moments where I "wasn't doing anything", the ping on my laptop or phone instantly gave me something that needed to be done.

As someone who has worked diligently to notice their habits, automatic responses, and the ways in which my thoughts and emotions impact my behaviors, I thought I had arrived at a healthier space when it comes to my relationship to technology, my work, and the world around me. I can usually take a pause before responding to something that triggers me, I know that it's not my responsibility to soothe another person's anxiety if I'm taking "too long" to reply, and I know that it never ends well when I react quickly in the moment, as I'm often either providing a half hearted response or let my emotions get the best of me. With all that being said, I'm standing here noticing my eagerness to react to literally everything that pulls on my attention. It's as if I was wired and conditioned to do this. Well, spoiler alert, we are.

The heart of meditation is being able to quiet the mind and tune into the awareness that exists within each one of us. Bringing awareness to my thoughts and emotions and remembering that I am separate from them is at the root of my work on the cushion; however, it becomes very easy for us to identify with and attach to the stories we tell ourselves. Many of us move through the world just reacting to each new experience, with no sense of being grounded in and connected to a greater consciousness. I realized recently that I was not carrying the principles of meditation to my daily experiences. I started to become more intentional about slowing down, connecting to my awareness, and ultimately being more deliberate about how I use my devices.

I share this because I know this is how our world operates today. We are fast and furious, responsiveness is in high demand. It's valued. We are taught that if you don't go and get it, someone else will. And we rush, and we hurry, and we continue to stress ourselves out and perpetuate this cycle of busyness. Maybe a healthy way to relate to our social media, our work, and our phones is to remember that at the core we have a CHOICE. Choice is where freedom exists. I see the ways that many of us have forgotten that we actually have a choice in the matter. We are responding to things before we're even aware of it, filling that void, and becoming hostage to this fast paced, ultra hurried world we live in. Leverage the power of a breath, leverage the power of the pause, and then make an intentional, conscious, choice to leverage your own personal power as you move forward in this space.

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