Finding Our Pause
Today, I invite you to pay attention to the parts of your day that tie everything else together, the transition times. These are the minutes that we have as we shift between our daily to-do’s. The drive or walk between work and home; the walk between meetings; the walk to lunch, or to the break room or to the bathroom; the drive home from work; the brief moments between dinner and putting kids to bed, and changing between activities such as reading, exercising, opening the computer to do more work at home … You get the idea. We have a lot of transition moments in our day and for many of us, these moments are filled with thoughts of where we came from and what we have to do when we get where we are going. They may also be filled with thinking, such as, “I better not forget to ______”.
Many of us don’t even think of these moments as transitions. We just view them as extensions of past and future to-do’s. But what if every time you transitioned between what you did and what’s next you used those seconds or minutes to find your breath and return to a sense of calm. Every space like this in our day gives us a chance for realignment, a chance to reconnect to the present moment. Every time we come back to the present moment, we let go of the stress that came with where we’ve been and the worry about where we are going. Beginning a practice of using the transitions to come back to the present moment gives us back our day! And, it brings our mindfulness practice into our everyday life!
I’m a big fan of practicing to find the hesitation between my automatic reaction and my purposeful response. The word hesitation can get a bad rap. It can be perceived as doubt or reluctance, unwillingness or delay. But, who can’t think of a time when a small hesitation would have served them well? Helped them say what they meant to say? This is what we are doing here, we are realizing that every time we change activity, go from silence to talking, etc. is a moment that we can use and we don’t have to do anything but recognize that as a moment of choice. For those that see hesitation as a negative, perhaps it would be better to use the word “pause”. A pause is a breathing space or interlude, a respite or intermission. Well, that sounds lovely doesn’t it? Our days would be like going to the spa with short little intermissions constantly throughout our day; intermissions that never interrupted us and always helped us to focus better on what was coming up.
Well, I might be stretching it a little, with the spa metaphor, but I speak the truth when it comes to this simple way of encouraging more focus throughout our days.
Here’s how it works. It is easier to invite Mindfulness into our day when we find a trigger that we can use to remind ourselves. Then it’s just retraining our mind to come back to the present moment, back to the anchor of our breath, or our feet, or our hands, whenever we come across that trigger. Just one breath or conscious moment of recognizing the weight and movement of our feet as they walk is enough to pull us away from the past and future back to the present. This one moment is enough to begin relaxing our shoulders and changing our attitude toward the next item on our calendar. The more moments we can insert throughout our day, the less crazed and out of control we feel. The more we feel like we can handle what comes next.
What is the trigger you use to bring yourself back to the present moment and away from your ruminating mind? A red light if you drive a lot between meetings? Walking to the bathroom?
If you ever have any questions about a blog post or perhaps the breath is hard for you and you’d like more instructions on using a different anchor point, don’t hesitate to drop me an email.