This morning, I was reminded of the beauty of having the ability to pause.
My son told me to “Please stay right there and don’t move.” Well, that made me feel a little anxious right away because we were in the midst of getting ready to go to school and we have well-timed routine to get out the door on time. I was definitely triggered. So, I took a breath. And I thought, “well, at least he said please.”
But, I still felt a little anxious about getting out the door on time. So, I asked what he was doing, but the response was still, “don’t move.”
Okay. I’m still a bit triggered. So, I breathed again, and then, I decided to listen. And, when I stopped and listened, I heard him in the kitchen. He was making a bit of noise. Things were clattering and clanging. It was then that I realized, he was making breakfast. He was doing something really kind.
It was my own reaction to waiting that made me uncomfortable, so I thought about how I could change how I was feeling and still allow my son to do something kind. Then, I realized, I simply needed to be patient and calmly wait. What can I do while I calmly wait? I can meditate. So, I sat down, closed my eyes and just focused on my breath. It really helped me to release those anxious feelings and I began to feel calm.
Soon enough, my son came into the room I was in, and said, “Boo!” and led me into the kitchen where he had prepared two bowls of granola for us for breakfast.
I am so grateful that I made the choice to pause instead of reacting to my own anxiety related to being on time. We ended up having a happy morning, making it to school in plenty of time. But, had I acted upon my own anxiousness, I would have turned the morning into a stressful situation and not allowed my son to shine.
This is the beauty of the pause. Being able to regulate yourself so that you are not as reactive in the moment. Because we all have our own stories, stressors, and trauma that are living within us, and it is easy to let those things take over and not allow us to see something beautiful in the moment.
How do you cultivate the ability to pause?
A mindfulness practice really helps me. That includes meditation, noticing the fluctuations in the muscles of my body, and also cultivating the ability to be in touch with my senses.
- Start by meditating for 5 minutes.
- Allow your breath to flow in and out.
- Then, notice the feel of the air on your skin, listen to what you hear around you, notice scents in the air, notice the tastes in your mouth, and even open your eyes and look at what is around you in a non-judgmental way.
- As you notice things with your senses, also notice how your own breath and heart rate change. Notice what calms you and what activates a quickening of your breath or heart.
This helps you to start to notice when you react to something happening in your day to day.
In the moment, when you notice yourself reacting, there are several things you can do to pause before you react:
- Take a breath (or two or three or more…)
- Count to ten
- Drink a glass of water
- Notice your senses
- Walk – even if it’s just in a circle or across the room and back
- Say “Pause” in your head
After you pause and feel calmer, gather your thoughts and speak from a calm place…. or maybe you’ll choose to not take action, stay silent, or simply listen.
When we pause we also cultivate the ability to be patient. Helping us to release control and allow ourselves to be in the present moment. Experiencing things as they are. And perhaps, even creating a more peaceful outcome.
Please try this practice and let me know how it goes for you.
This is a practice, so maybe try to make it a routine, because the more you practice, the greater your ability to pause when you are triggered.
May you have peace within,