I’ve been thinking a lot about the Power of Pause and mindfulness lately… there is so much potential when we allow space for Being.
Do you notice that space?
Think about it. Something happens (stimulates us), and we react… But what if we didn’t?
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
Viktor E. Frankl
What if instead we paused and allowed space before that reaction?
Imagine all of the possibilities for what our response could be? What if we could CHOOSE that response with patience and peace, instead of it being “automatic” or quick?
Well, of course, the good news is that you CAN choose!
As is the case with all things in life, it requires practice. It is a practice. It’s called mindfulness.
Taking a pause; A break, a breath. Allowing a gap, a rest period, a time-out to occur before responding… it requires so much awareness, intention, and attention. But what an amazing power that can be unlocked within us!
Think about a time when someone may have said something to you that was offensive or hurtful, and perhaps you responded quickly and automatically—out of either anxiety, pain, or defense.
We are all human, so it’s happened to every one of us—we later reflect and perhaps “regret” our response.
Even if our feelings are valid, it doesn’t mean they manifested or were expressed in a productive way.
With practice, we can learn to notice that anxiety, pain or defense in the moment, and choose our response accordingly—but only with a pause.
Pema Chodron, a teacher I’ve learned a great deal from says “it’s a transformative experience to simply pause instead of immediately filing up the space. By waiting, we begin to connect with fundamental restlessness as well as fundamental spaciousness.”
When we practice mindfulness, we learn to not impulsively do the same thing over and over again.
Can you imagine a life without compulsiveness? What if we were able to not compulsively over-work, over-eat, over-talk, over-smoke?
When we aren’t pausing, we aren’t being present. We’re doing, acting, going, prolonging. Perhaps we’re even avoiding or suppressing in an effort to protect ourselves.
But we have the power within us to take a closer look at our impulses and transform our compulsive behavior to become more intentional and peaceful. Mindfulness can unlock that power.
There are many ways to practice mindfulness—sure, we can meditate (I love meditating and it’s done wonders for my mindfulness practice)—but we can also just practice being any time, anywhere, eyes open or closed.
Right now, can you spend one minute becoming aware of your present moment?
Notice your environment, your emotions and physical sensations. Notice your thoughts, see if any judgments are coming up. Try NOT to judge anything you notice, but just let it be.
Next week, I’ll share some specific mindfulness practices that you can implement that require NO meditation at all—stay tuned!
Feel free to reply to this email and let me know your favorite mindfulness practice, if you have one! I’d love to learn from you and share it with the community.
Until then, I encourage you to spend the next hours, days, and weeks noticing… Can being stimulated be used as an alarm to stop and pause?
If it feels too automatic right now, try to notice the response as it’s happening, and with practice you may find yourself next time noticing the space, and then even noticing the stimulus, allowing you to take a second and choose your next move.
It may seem small, but the Power of Pause may be able to solve most of our problems—if we keep practicing.