Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Pause that Really Refreshes!

Remember a time when you were involved in a personal conversation with a friend and you spoke in a way that felt "off" for some reason? Where you didn't say what you really meant?

A pause would have been helpful.

Now recall another situation in which you were experiencing strong, upsetting feelings (e.g., anger, confusion, hurt) with someone you love. Then, you reacted quickly to your distress in a way that left you feeling worse about yourself or the other person.

Once again, a pause would have been beneficial.

A pause here involves creating a break between the "stimulus" and the "response." That is, you deliberately interrupt the stimulus flow of your own or another's thoughts, words, and actions, and insert a "space" in which you can reflect upon your possible responses.

Although the prevention of habit-driven, knee-jerk reactions seems likely to promote your health and happiness, you would probably have some difficulty establishing this new way of living.

What challenges your success?

Consider this.

In early childhood, the newborn demonstrates the power of reflexive actions. For example, when you put your finger in the infant's hand, she will automatically grasp. And, she will do so every time you place your finger on her palm. With development, her grasping reflex will stop, and you will see a new action. After this breakthrough moment, she will grasp your finger (or not) when she chooses.

In your own lifetime, you have reacted habitually in some ways for many decades. As an adult, you have repeated some patterns of thinking, feeling, speaking, and acting thousands of times! Of course, some of these patterns have been useful, while others have not.

Therefore, your efforts to make space for yourself require attention (see The Art of Witnessing), a commitment to your freedom and responsibility, and ongoing practice.

When these elements of attention, commitment, and practice combine with the continuous stream of Grace present in your life, you will have sufficient growth opportunities for conscious, inspired ways of being, doing, and having in the world.

This Pause (stillness) is the Source of all movement.

To engage a growth opportunity as you're moving through your day, try this practice:
  • Stop everything. Simply halt!
  • Pause.
  • Now, ask yourself: "How can I use this pause, right now, to create a response that nurtures me--that supports the quality of life I really want?"
  • Your response may be something you think, feel, say, or do.
In this practice, tap into your childlike wonder and let yourself play with different possibilities in various contexts--in the midst of everything. Allow yourself to learn from all your experiments, no matter how they work out.

Celebrate the pause that changes your life!

Love and Peace,
Dave



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