The Power of the Pause

It seems like now, more than ever, we as individuals and as a collective would greatly benefit from pressing pause.  To stop everything that we are doing and just breathe.  To get good and grounded in the present moment. To feel. To be. And to do it often. However, now more than ever, this feels so incredibly difficult to do. But it shouldn’t be.

I taught a meditation series recently where participants shared that they really wanted to meditate, but they just keep forgetting.  Which made me reflect on how sad it is that in our modern world so many have dramatically shifted, away from ritual, away from disciplined practice, away from focusing on individual health and wellness which starts with each one of us, at home.  

Health and Wellness is a multi-billion dollar industry, however we are paying a lot of money in hopes that others will make us feel better, when what we really need is step back and take a moment. A moment to stop all of the doing.  To stop looking to external sources to fix what we feel is broken on the inside.  To stop trying the next “new thing” that is going to heal us.   It’s not to say that those things don’t help, they do. But the healing part is individual, and no one can do it for us.

The reality in this world is that there is a pill for almost everything, we are accustomed to instant gratification due to Google, Amazon, etc., we have nearly anything and everything at our fingertips.  Except the peace and calm that is so coveted by many, yet evasive to most.  

The things is, most people know how to work hard; the trouble is, the work is almost always extended to doing for others, or doing things that keep us busy, but never allow us to be quietly alone.  It seems a huge lesson we aren’t taught is the value and necessity of spending time with ourselves, focused on ourselves, time that allows us to feel sane in an insane world that moves at an insane pace.  Time that allows us to process our lives as we are living them instead of not having enough time to feel that feeling, until cumulatively it cripples us like a tidal wave. Time that avails us the opportunity to reflect on the choices we are making so that we can move in the direction we feel guided to, not the direction we feel we are forced to.  

I get it, though.  I get that slowing down also means that all of the “stuff” (you know what I mean, and we all have it to some degree or another) also has an opportunity to bubble up to the surface.  And we may have been consciously or more likely unconsciously, avoiding that “stuff” for years, maybe even decades.  But what we might not know is that if we don’t let this stuff come up, and allow it to be released, we are holding on to it, and eventually that stagnation of energy will turn into something we really don’t want to deal with. 

A quote that really speaks to me is “Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from” from Seth Godin.  I love this because it speaks to decisions. To empowerment. We often get caught in a tidal wave of shoulds, and we completely disconnect from what it is that we really want, or more importantly, what we need.   

When we pause, it allows us to experience things in real time, fully immersed in the moment, so that we can see the beauty in connecting with our family and friends, we can notice the stunning colours framing the setting sun, we can allow ourselves to inhale a deep breath of cool winter air, and appreciate those fleeting experiences that otherwise pass by barely noticed.

Believe me, with two young and very busy children, being self-employed (which may seem to be full of perks, but is also regularly full of challenges) and a schedule that takes me away from my family 4-5 nights a week and on weekends, I have felt both the need and the power of the pause.  

Even as I write this, I pause.  I pause to breathe.  I pause to ground.  I pause to tap into a deeper place within, to make sure I am writing from my heart.  I pause.  

I understand that pausing doesn’t always mean peace.  It means stopping and letting yourself feel what is coming up for you in that moment, acknowledging its existence (whatever it is), breathing into it, and then letting it go, energetically grounding it out so that you can stay with the breath, quiet the mind and tap into an energy that is so much bigger than ourselves.

Each new day allows for the opportunity to create something new.  A place to accept where we are, yet taking steps towards where we want to be.  The important thing to remember is that we get to create the life that we want; it all starts with pausing, breathing and checking in with the decisions we are making in each moment and how aligned they are with the direction we want our life to go. For many, it also means facing the shadows we may be intentionally or quite unconsciously avoiding, and allowing time and space to heal. Not an easy path, but a necessary one, because we heal the world one person at a time.

As you finish reading this, before going back to scrolling or working or wherever you are off to, pause. Close your eyes, take a few slow and deep fully body breaths, and just rest for a moment, in this moment.

Sending so much love!

A

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