At the start of each class, Mona (@fitnessandmindbodywithmonapower on FB) centers us by having us sit in lotus position and bring attention to our breath. We close our eyes, palms turned upward on our thighs and breathe. Mona tells us to make sure we pause between each breath. Last week she said, “Breathe in. Pause. Breathe out. Make sure you take a pause between each breath. Wonderful things can happen when you pause between the breaths.”
That sentence, “Wonderful things can happen when you pause between the breaths”, really stuck with me. I began to think about life and about what it is like when I stop, even for a few seconds and pause.
I am a doer. I love nothing more than to check things off my often-long list. I began to think of how I tend to approach many things in life. I like to get started, keep focused and get finished. I suppose it started when I was very young. Dad trained us to get the work finished first, and then we would have time to play (or not). There weren’t many pauses built in to our days.
Jim is a pause-er. When we go on a walk, I usually have an idea of how far we are going and how long it should take. In my head, I sort of book that much time before we head out the door. If we are walking in the park, Jim will always notice an interesting bird, or see a little animal, or stop for a drink or a sit on a bench, and inevitably we will pause for a few minutes. This used to make me quite antsy. I would think about how we would be ‘late’ if we kept stopping. Over time, I have come to appreciate and even love our little pauses. It is in the pauses that we see some wonderful things. Just like Mona says.
Stephen Covey talks about the small time, the pause, between a stimulus (event) and our response. He maintains that if we notice and use that pause, we can choose our response. He says that we are response-able. How often do we simply respond without pause, and then wish we could take back our response? The pause gives us time to think about the words we will say, and to think about the impact they will have. It reminds us that we are able to choose. This can all happen in seconds.
Since Mona mentioned that ‘Wonderful things can happen when you pause’, I have begun to remind myself to pause, and I have made up a new word. I’ve begun to think about the pause-abilities (possibilities) that become available when I remember to pause. I imagine what is pause-able (possible).
Think of a time when you have been in a situation where things were not going your way. So often, in cases like these, we stubbornly continue with what we are trying to do even when we can clearly see it is not working. We get frustrated, and even mad. We might lash out at someone who is offering us ‘suggestions’. We keep our blinders on and refuse to open our minds to new ideas. We forget to pause.
Imagine what a difference it would make if we could take a second or two to pause; and in doing so to remind ourselves that ‘wonderful things can happen when we pause’. We might even take a breath or two and give ourselves time to imagine different pause-abilities. I can think of many times in my life when, if I had just slowed down for a minute or two, and taken pause, I might have created a completely different outcome.
I’m getting better at pausing. Lately on our travels, we make sure that we don’t schedule our time so tightly that we won’t have time for ‘pauses’. That way, if we see something that wasn’t on our list, we can still take time to explore it. Many of the unexpected things we have experienced in the pause, have been the things we have loved and talked about for years later.
This weekend is the long weekend. Surely on our weekend with an extra day, we can each find a time to pause. Wonderful things can happen in the pause.
My inquiry for you this week is, ‘What possibilities are there in this pause?’
There are unlimited possibilities waiting for you in the pauses. Book a coaching session for yourself, a group or your workplace to learn how to effectively use the pause to uncover some unexpected things.