Regular readers of my blog, will know how passionate I am about bringing little pauses into every day life. I should change my tag line “The Mind Shed, Passionate about the pause”.
When you think about it (There we go, thinking again!) our minds rarely get the chance to take a pause, it’s just not quite that straight forward, you can’t just stop it, there is no on or off switch. How hard is it to stop our minds from chattering away, thinking, thinking.
You often hear people say “I just need a moment to think”. I wonder why we don’t say “I just need a moment to not think”, doesn’t quite have the same ring to it but would probably be a better use of time.
Genuine and true pausing, is a great tool we have at our disposal. It requires some unpacking to get the most out of it. There is another type of pausing that doesn’t have the same benefits and I am sure we all do it at some point.
For example, I may think, oh I will just have a minute, take some time out, have a pause. I go and sit in the garden for a minute. From the outside, I look as if I am pausing, but delve deeper and my mind is whirring away, what shall I do next? What about that project? I wonder why he said that? etc… For sure I have paused what I was doing for a moment, but I haven’t truly paused and tend to get little benefit from this type of pause. I catch myself doing it now and again, it is an easy trap to fall into.
So how do we develop the skill to truly pause…
It seems counter intuitive, but I find the best way to learn how to pause is to choose one activity that you do everyday and make it your intentional pause moment. The moment in your day, when all your doing and thinking about, is that very moment. The more we can do that, the easier it becomes to take a genuine pause from our everyday life…
- For the next few weeks, pick a relatively easy task or activity that you do every day. It could be taking a shower, making a cup of tea, or brushing your teeth for example.
- Make that task your intentional pause moment, give it your full attention. So if we take the having a shower as an example, feel the water hitting your skin, smell the clean scent of the shower gel or whatever soap you use, listen to the sound of the running water.
- If whilst you are having your intentional pause moment, you get pulled into thoughts about the future or the past, just gently bring yourself back to the present moment, the water, the soap etc. Don’t worry if this keeps happening, it’s what our minds do. Just gently re-direct it back to your intentional pause moment.
Over time, if we practice with our intentional pause moments, it helps us to be aware of when we are in autopilot mode in other areas of our life, for example, if we are taking a pause but not really taking a pause, as I mentioned before.
That is the key, that lovely, magical moment when you suddenly realize you are in autopilot mode. When you are lost in thought or ruminating about the past or future. When you can say “ah I see what is happening” and you can gently bring yourself back to the present moment in full awareness, back to the senses, hearing, sight, touch, smell. Back to the only moment that exists, right here, right now.
So, when you can, take some time out to practice genuine pausing, pick an intentional pause moment that brings you back to the present moment and back to the senses. See how it over flows into the rest of your life.
I love hearing from you, feel free to share with me what your intentional pause moments are and let me know how it goes!
From The Mind Shed.