Years ago, in a yoga class, I remember the instructor saying “practice the pause”. I don’t think I truly understood what she meant until now (more on this later).
The notion of “practice the pause” struck a chord with me during the yoga class and it was something that I vowed to practice in my everyday life. For context, this was a time in my life when I had a very stressful corporate job, before I started my coaching practice.
In my role, I wore a lot of hats. I managed people and I had a very demanding boss. I also had a client list into the hundreds. When I got stressed out, I’d take a few deep breaths and reframe my thinking, or move on to a different project. When I got extremely stressed out, I’d put on Fleetwood Mac and close my office door. My direct reports knew that if I was listening to Fleetwood Mac, not to come into my office.
When I learned about practicing the pause, I decided to test it out at work. It really did change my stress level. If I needed to, I would even take a walk outside for a few minutes to reframe my mind. I actually saw myself becoming even more productive because I was less stressed and therefore more efficient.
That was then, fast forward to the present.
In our current climate and with Covid-19, I think I truly understand what my yoga instructor meant by saying “practice the pause” all those years ago. Nature, God, a higher power, whatever you choose to believe, has pushed the pause button on our lives. We were living extremely fast paced, stressful lives, going through the motions and not living up to our fullest potential. The pause allows us to reflect and question. The pause allows us to look at our priorities and values.
I now understand “practice the pause” to mean, what are you going to do with your life? How are you going to make this life the best possible one for you? How are you going to put yourself first? How can you be creative? Are you doing what you love each day?
Practicing the pause is a way to reflect on your choices and determine if you are living your best life.
Practicing the pause allows for mindfulness. When you are in the pause, you can listen to your thoughts, notice what is going on in your body, be reflective, sense your surroundings, and observe what is going on in your life. Practicing the pause allows for introspection and to truly feel what is going on inside of your body. You may be resistant to this internal scan. You may not think that you are capable of change. You may not want to face truths. The evaluation is worth it.
I truly believe that we were given a gift during this pause time.
What are you going to do with this gift?
How will you practice the pause?