Pausing for Poise
When I am stressed, I have to organize something. It used to be my kid’s schedule or a friend’s life—anyone or anything that felt out of control and could use an intervention. I really liked fixing people!!!!! Now I’m wiser so I organize a drawer, a closet or my giant purse. No more people—just things. I’m immediately satisfied when I complete a project. I apply my energy to something that actually needs my attention!!!!!! ……and I swear I hear a tiny “thank you” whispered back in return.
Organizing projects are meditative strategies that calm me down. While my hands and eyes are busy, I am able to block out the thoughts that plague me. Is it living in denial? Maybe, but it’s temporary. I’m pausing my reality and giving respite to my brain.
I should elaborate that not all pauses are sitting with crossed legs and closed eyes. Pausing is a taking a break from a thought pattern.
1. I may regret what I say or do if I don’t step back from a situation. The more emotional we are, the less we function cognitively. I know we can all relate to sending an email too quickly or running our mouth before the brain engages!
2. A pause will quiet my senses and re-calibrate my emotional state.
3. The pause will allow me space to discover what is really going on in my head and my heart. The truth will bubble up if given the opportunity. This is where my Girlfriend Voice resides.
4. A pause allows me time to recognize and sit with my feelings. I don’t really like this one however it beats living in denial or bottling it up.
5. A pause allows me to change my thinking. Aha! I can actually change the recorded voice in my head.
Learning to pause has positively impacted other areas of my life.
I have more patience (stop laughing, I started with zero). More is still more than zero!
I feel like it is OK to say NO. Saying YES all the time is exhausting.
I am a better listener because I don’t have to fix you or your problem.
The biggest impact is that once I create space, I can identify what I need to let go of and what needs immediate attention.
If you are one of my A-type friends, you may poo-poo any suggestion of mediation. A good place to practice a pause may simply begin with sitting silently for three minutes; paying attention to your breathing. Are there other easy ways to slip a pause into your day? When I am waiting for a document to open on my laptop, I breathe deeply. It is only a few seconds but I feel refreshed. When I feel my face tighten with angst, I know to keep my mouth shut! When I lay down at night, I make a quick mental list of things to be thankful for.
Go out and find the pause…..find the poise that accompanies it! PAUSE FOR POISE. I’d love to hear your thoughts and if you have strategies for implementing the pause strategy so that you are better positioned for RESPONDING over REACTING.
From the heart,