Life has reminded me that there is always a need and an opportunity to pause. We live a life of constant contact, constant stimulus, and constant motion. There is always something happening and there is always something to do or attend to.
Too often we find ourselves, not in the pilot seat, by in the passenger seat, merely reacting to our environment. We are so busy in our life reacting to to “to do” list and the schedule, that we don’t take any time for ourselves. Every second of every day is accounted for and belongs to someone or something else.
We must remember to pause, in everything. On the simplest terms, we need to become comfortable with “comfortable silences”. Have you ever met up with a friend and started talking over coffee or something like that, and then you both got quiet. It wasn’t a moment of “oh, I don’t know what to say”, but rather “I am comfortable sitting here, for just a moment, and not talking. I am processing what we have said so far. I am taking in my surrounding. I am observing. That is a comfortable silence, and it is important. A conversational interaction without pause is draining. Focus must be maintained at a high level and you don’t have the time or energy to sit in the moment and appreciate what is happening.
Another important pause is the pause you should take when something is not right in your world and you are not happy. Perhaps someone has said something wrong or something did not turn out as planned. If you do not take pause and step out of that moment for a brief amount of time, you may say something or do something reactionary that is not in your or anyone’s best interest. This is how feeling get hurt. This is how friendships get damaged. This is how relationships end. It is important to step back from the issue so that you can calmly look at it and respond in a way that is productive. This can be incredibly hard to put into practice and is something that I must work on continually.
When there are too many things coming your way, your workload is too heavy, or your attention is being pulled in too many directions, that is a time for another pause. A pause when things are hectic can actually make things more along faster. If you take the time to step back and prioritize what is going on around you, you can manage the situation better. You can chop all of the big things that are flying around you into smaller, manageable blocks and organize the flow of work and or energy.
The last type of pause puts into place a spiritual practice. I firmly believe I am at my best when I take time out of my day to meditate. I am calmer. I am more aware. I am more relax. I am healthier, when I meditate. I try to make this a 30 minute practice at least once per day, but it doesn’t have to be like that. Before you start your day, look out your front window, take in your surroundings, relax your breathing and simply, slowly, count to 20. Then look at what your day holds, and in that same calm frame of mind, put things in order. After you finish your mid-day meal, take 20 or 30 seconds to do it again. Take some calm breaths and count. Do this before and after a meeting or conference. Do this before bed. A 30 minute or longer meditation can be wonderful but sometimes all you have is a minute. Take that minute and recenter yourself.
Our lives are so busy and often Chaotic. Remember to take your pause to keep your day manageable.