It is amazing what can change in a moment. One pause. One breath. Whole new perspective. Towards the end of the year we are dealing with more than usual as we continue our typical routine but then add annual review and planning plus holiday celebration activities. The pause becomes so valuable in times of many simultaneous activities.
- One pause, one breath gave me insight on a piece of narrative for a new client in the midst of completing tactical tasks.
- One pause, one breath let me truly enjoy a celebration despite a pending work deadline.
- One pause, one breath reminded me to send See’s candy to a distant loved one before the holiday shipping deadline.
- One pause, one breath stopped me from making a request that felt urgent, but was poorly timed.
The trick to gaining the power of the pause is two-fold. First, practice pausing to develop the muscle memory so it can be effective in a busy moment. Second, take the cue from the situation to use the pause power.
Practice the Pause
Like any skill we want in life, we need to practice. Practicing the pause means some regular contemplative practice. Ideally this is daily, just like physical exercise. It can be focusing on the breath, repeating a mantra, or anything that allow us to shift our focus inward and away from the external stimuli. Practicing the pause teaches our entire system to pipe down. We shift from active mind to calm system. In this state, we see more clearly and notice things we may miss when going about our usual work and home routine. This regular practice gives us the muscle memory we need to have the pause work instantaneously in daily like.
Take the Cue
When to pause is determined by the environment. Often cues are strong and we just need to pay attention. Tripping over nothing while walking. Spilling coffee on my shirt. Struggling to remember a name of somebody I’ve known for years. Time to pause. Take a breath. Reset the system. Regain the power. One breath and the muscle memory from practice kicks in and calmness and clarity arise.
So simple. So powerful. Pause. Power.