In our busy, reactionary lives, we sometimes to forget to intentionally rest, breathe deeply and pause. We take advantage of momentum and get lost in busyness. Our thoughts and worries and fears keep us on high alert and our to-do lists and inboxes run our days.
Some may say that we have too much to do to slow down, but I’d like to suggest that we are afraid to slow down.
We are afraid that …
- we will become irrelevant
- we won’t measure up
- we won’t get enough done
- people won’t respect or appreciate us for us
- we are what we do
- we will miss out
Instead of coming to a full stop, easy into a slow down by practicing the pause. Making time to pause gives you a chance to take in your surroundings, check in with you how you feel, quiet your mind and appreciate the present moment.
How to Practice the Pause
Take pictures. Beauty and awe is everywhere, but when we run through the day with tunnel vision, we miss it. I use my camera to capture beautiful ordinary moments everyday. My family teases me a bit about my obsession with the sky, but I can’t get over its magnificence. It’s so nice to pay tribute to something beautiful by taking the time to capture its image.
Drink Tea. Leo Babauta says, “I find that if I’m having trouble concentrating on one thing, pausing to brew some tea is a great way to regain that focus. I’ve gotten some of my best writing done with the aid of a cup or bowl of tea.” Use the ritual of drinking tea to practice the pause.
Stand up. If you sit at a desk, in your car or in front of a computer for most of the day. Stand up throughout the day. Give your eyes, back and brain a break. Take pause with a big stretch.
Respond thoughtfully. If you are used to multitasking and reacting to email, voicemail and other things all day, batch your decision-making. Spend an hour thoughtfully responding to email and then close your email and turn off your alerts. You don’t need to know when someone emails you or updates their Facebook page. Instead, check in when you are ready. Pause and respond a few times a day instead of reading and reacting all day long.
There are other ways to take pause. I’m about to board a plane and while internet may be available on the flight, I won’t take advantage of that. Four hours of being completely disconnected sounds like a great time to appreciate the power of the pause. (and to take in the beauty of the sky)
How will you practice the pause today?