Occupy Sanity Tool (OST): Pause. I love looking up words in the dictionary. So, I had a look at the definition of pause. I began to smile at all the many words there that showed the wisdom of using this OST. Like:
Take a breather
Catch one’s breath
I found it interesting that among those words were many about breath and rest…some things vital to my existence. While I’m glad to be breathing, I find it much harder to do that ‘R’ word. In fact,…
…I fight pausing. As I said in a previous blog post, Non-Action as a Key to Action, “…I believe I am more comfortable as a human ‘do-ing’ rather than a human be-ing!”
I would rather be taking action on my to-do list, happily checking off the tasks and reveling in the feeling of accomplishment. It reminds me of the feeling I had in kindergarten when I received gold stars. I felt validated by the number of stars I received as if what I did was more important than who I am. I know the reasoning behind that system of rewards. In particular, for me, I know that the feeling of accomplishment releases all kinds of endorphins, which is good for my health.
While action has a place and its rewards, I’m continuing to learn the benefits of taking a breath, a time-out, a breather, an intermission…A PAUSE from activity. My meditation Teacher – Wong Loh Sin See put it this way:
“Stillness equals Insight.
Action equals Wisdom.
Together they equal Oneness.”
The Sensitivity Cycle
In Hakomi Therapy this process is described as The Sensitivity Cycle which is on a continuous loop of
Clarity – Effective Action – Satisfaction – Relaxation
Of great importance to me is that the ‘Relaxation’ (Pause) phase comes before the ‘Clarity’ phase. In the past, I have preferred to skip these phases and stay on a constant loop between Effective Action & Satisfaction. This turned into an autoimmune problem which forced me to take a BIG PAUSE.
“Life will test you but remember this when you walk up a mountain your legs get stronger.” ~ Anonymous
Thankfully these days I catch myself more often than not before I overtax my immune system. Much like the child in the photo above, I’ve learned to take a moment to look at the step just in front of me, rather than all of them. This pause gives me time to gather my strength, breathe, and perhaps find insight on the best way to move up those steps. Or even decide to use the ‘R’ word and rest a while on that step before continuing the journey which will, as Anonymous postulates, make my “…legs get stronger.”
In fact, in my previous blog post on Non-Action I noted: “As I continued to purposefully set aside time for non-action, I understood what the Tao Te was referring to by ‘…carving the block with no effort.’ I found that I had created my own think-tank where creative solutions for other aspects of my life began to Rise Up naturally.” A pause, then, offers time to build inner resources and strength as a result of expending less effort.
So much value lies in a pause.
It allows me to be in the present moment where I can connect to all my senses by simply breathing. It’s worth exploring, again and again, to see what arises.
How do you use a pause? What wisdom do you gain? I look forward to hearing your answers.
Excellent article, Connie! I’m with you on the “pause.” It’s often so hard to do that. As I’m all about accomplishing goals, I find myself also in the “taking effective action” phase so I can achieve my goals. Remembering to take a “pause” afterwards is a wonderful celebration of the accomplishment, not to mention rejuvenating and gaining clarity around what’s next. Thank you for the reminder to “pause, relax, and enjoy the respite!”
Thank you Jeanne for sharing your insight. You’ve reminded me about the importance of celebrating…yet another way to release those endorphins. Besides, it’s a great habit to create: pausing to give myself and others a pat on the back or a high-5 just plain feels good! Namaste, Concetta