Go for a walk. Take a breath. Feel the sunshine. Do some yoga. Sound familiar? Especially when life gets heavy and these are the adages shared to help “clear the mind” and “make space.” I walk and do yoga frequently for this reason but have realized just how much of my time is spent thinking in a variety of directions when trying to gain insight and clarity; it feels similar to the motion I find myself in physically daily–forward, backwards, shuffled, and on repeat. There is an emptiness when my mind wanders as to what life is like without being in motion, who am I? Motion is freedom to explore opportunity, be in productive action, find an edge. And if it stops, what do I do?
Feelings such as that are now short lived after being caught in the powerful tornado of movement by living within each aspect of direction: poor decisions, not enough time to rest or process, disconnection from self and others, and unsure as to where life was headed. Being under the influence of how to live mindfully and find pause, a gentle shift has taken place: my eyes have opened, heart softened and life has allowed me to become more aware of what it means to live with surrendering love, owning self-acceptance, and embracing gratitude.
After running myself into the ground for years, finding how to implement PAUSE and utilize mindfully conscious tools to recognize thoughts as they appear, has created a paradigm shift in how I live each and every day. I am now aware when thoughts are catapult into the present (fast forward), stuck in the past (reverse), idle from indecisiveness, shuffled from one multitasking action to the next, or are a boomerang of repetitive deconstructive patterns. Finding pause has served as a refuge to help make sense of all the bullshit, chatter, and unnecessary time wasted away from experiencing life in the present moment.
Yesterday. Five years ago. This morning. Done. It has already happened so why cling to the past? To change the outcome? To gain deeper insight? Regardless of the answer, living from a place that takes me back to the original circumstance of feeling joy, hurt, shame, disconnect, has only led to more suffering and lack of fulfillment. There is a lot of time spent with thoughts that are reflective of the past. It is important to acknowledge when thoughts from the past occur and then begin to notice what shifts happen in the body, mood, attitudes, and actions arise. Reminiscing can invite a flood of emotions to surface. It is what we then do with the up rise of emotions that can be a ticket to what lies ahead or keeps us slated in ruminating the past.
Is my job on the line? Do I have enough money for this? What is going to occur when ___________ happens? Worry generates anxiety. Anxiousness is a manipulated disruption of our natural essence. So many hours of my life have been wasted in worry by trying to live from, control, and predict the future. It is exhausting and debilitating, which results in acting on decisions from a place of fear rather than love and acceptance.
Walk and text. Watch television and eat. Drive while distracted. Life is a constant flow disruption. We haphazardly combine unlimited aspects of life to make the most out of time and efficiency as if we are doing ourselves a favor by piling more on in one swoop. The shuffle adds to chaos. So if you are looking for clarity, ease, less turbulence, try doing just one thing at a time and notice the tendency to want to add in more. Practice what it takes to notice and see what comes. You may ask yourself if it is really necessary to add all ingredients to the mix at the same time.
It’s the game changer. A pause creates a temporary rest, momentary interruption, flash of stillness, which can either heighten the nerves or offer a calm reprieve. There was a time in my life when I didn’t think I had time to pause. I was too busy adding extra to my plate of busynes in order to avoid what feeling a pause was all about. The pause allows for life to become real, awake, and at times excruciatingly uncomfortable. It is SCARY! In order to catch oneself in the hamster wheel of doing, finding pause is a refresher; time to recharge, reflect, and acknowledge what is actually happening from an inner level of awareness. It begins by noticing what a pause makes you feel at the experiential and physical level. Think about a time you may have exerted physical energy and needed a pause to rest. In those moments of rest, did you feel the heart beat, a tingling sensation in the fingers, or notice where the breath originated from in the body? The PAUSE keeps us in present time; connected to what is happening in the very moment of existence. No turning back the clock to what was before or releasing wasted energy to make sense of the future unknown. It is about the here and now, make the choice to take in what reality has to offer.
Steps to Implement PAUSE
The process starts when one decides to be ready. Sometimes readiness occurs when we hit rock bottom or are swept up in euphoric charge. Regardless, the more receptive one is to something new, the higher probability it will make a difference. Only you can do the work.
1) Connect with your breath.
Seated, standing, while in motion, anywhere. Find the breath and explore it like a GPS roadmap sound, texture, where it originates, how it moves throughout the body, where it gets stuck, the temperature, etc.
2) Become aware of thoughts.
Are thoughts in fast forward, rewind, shuffled, or in present moment?
3) Identifying what happens to the body.
Is there an increased heart rate, sweaty palms, or other sensations when holding the space of awareness and mindful attention?
4) Note if judgment, avoidance, or clinging are attached to the process of becoming aware.
If so, don’t beat yourself up. Create a nurturing relationship with the thought and offer a sense of gentleness to what is occurring.
5) Gentleness cultivates calm. Calm breath equates to a tranquil clear mind.
Find equanimity. It is a daily practice.
6) Release the tension, agitation, and disruption by bringing focus back to the breath.
The breath is what is actually happening; it is the anchor to keep one grounded in present time. When focused on the breath, there is not enough space to live from the future, in the past or in shuffled contemplation. It is how we capture the individual thriving power of now.
I am on the journey each and every day. Some days flow with ease while others are a grinding struggle to show up to. Regardless, it is the process that takes us forward to the next step. Each breath keeps us connected to the unfolding inner essence of Self, Source, and Inner peace.
If you’d like to find pause, join me to “Center Within” October 7 – 9 in Idyllwild, CA.