Then I realized what I could offer is one of the most powerful tools I have discovered. I could offer the power of the pause.
Pause. Stop. Breathe.
It’s here in this stillness you can find some clarity. Here you can find some grounding. Here you can tap your own intelligence and guidance.
A pause is powerful because it breaks the chain of reactivity. It stops the rapid fire keyboarding response to Facebook or twitter posts that have elevated your blood pressure to new heights.
A pause allows you to step back for a moment, to take a breath, and to remember who you are, what you stand for, and to decide what you want to say or do in any moment, particularly the heated ones.
A pause may open you up to new perspective, to new insight, or perhaps a willingness to listen to a differing point of view.
A pause allows you to respond or act more intelligently, more thoughtfully, more likely in a way that aligns with your values and your heart.
A pause breaks the cycle of reactivity. That is definitely something we could use these days. Fewer people launching themselves willy nilly into the spinning frenzy without first calming themselves down a bit - what would that be like?
A pause does not mean you will not speak out or you will not act. Nor does it mean you will not feel anger or sadness. But it greatly improves your chances of speaking and acting wisely. It improves the odds that you will connect with your compassionate heart.
Pause allows you time and space to feel what’s here in this moment. To grieve, to let the tears fall, to let your body ache with pain and sadness, to allow the anger to boil. To allow yourself to be overcome by emotion. Pausing is an act of kindness and compassion - for yourself and for others.
There is very little in life that requires an immediate response. We’ve only been mislead to believe that we need to jump right away. We act as if we do (I know this is a trap I have fallen into many times). Yet when we do, we often only add to the mess, rather than bring forth any sort of helpful dialogue or solution.
Before you take to the streets, pick up the phone, strike the keyboard, or open your mouth, give yourself and those you will interact with the gift of pause.
Whatever you are facing that gets your heart racing - a societal outrage, a problem with a loved one, a challenge at work, losing your job, getting a frightful diagnosis… allow yourself the grace of a pause. See what becomes possible when you do. You will most certainly see a little more clearly.
and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?”
- Lao Tzu