- michelle m. davis
Time to Pause
The mere suggestion of taking time to pause causes most of the muscles in my neck to contract. After all, haven’t we been on one gigantic pause since March of 2020? I’ve delayed or cancelled so much over the past year-and-a-half that I crave forward motion. I do not want to spend one more minute of my life in idle.
However, that’s not the pause I’m referencing. Rather, this is a moment of mental stillness, the split period of nothingness. Compare it to the space between the inhale and the exhale. But instead of a rest between breaths, it’s a silence between thoughts.
When my coach suggested I take time to find silence and listen for what may present itself, my first reaction was, “Hell, no! I can’t do that.” After all, I’ve come to accept my monkey-mind, owning I spend too much time in my thoughts—dreaming, imagining, analyzing, creating, judging, and perhaps even avoiding. Still, I agreed to give this pause thing a try.
For the past two weeks I’ve been consciously trying to be in the pause, become quiet, wait, and see what happens. Instead of playing podcasts in the car or while walking, I’ve committed to no noise, not even music. Of course, my mind continues to sprint from one idea to the next. But then there are unexpected moments when I’m able to tap into stillness. And that is when the “aha’s” begin to flow.
Though subtle at first, I can detect when my mind goes blank. It feels as though nothing’s occupying my head, causing me to worry, fear, or resist. This is the pause. It’s what allows me to be present, aware, and receptive. But it’s hard to do. So, I must practice, requiring patience to shift away from old patterns.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve prided myself on my ability to think on my feet, be prepared for the unexpected question, and figure out the next step before it happens. Rarely have I consciously taken time before I spoke or acted. In fact, for years, I thought being ahead of the game, analyzing possible outcomes, and creating foreseeable scenarios would serve me well. But it hasn’t.
“The mind always needs a problem to solve so if you don’t give it anything to chew on, it will look for any little issue and scrutinize every single detail until it creates a problem. It thinks it’s being helpful, but ultimately, it’s holding you back.” Sahara Rose
How often have you found yourself lost in the nonsensical, creating drama where none is needed? I’ve spent years doing this exact thing. And truth be told, it hasn’t helped me in the least. In fact, it’s been the source for needless worries and fears.
It’s time for that to change. Instead of living in my head, thinking my way about life, I’m trying to move into my heart space, and feel what is happening within and around me. For so long, thinking kept me safe, in a detached, analytical mode. But when I encourage myself to pause and coax my emotions to surface, that is when I feel alive, present, and connected.
In this state, it is not difficult to make decisions. In fact, I sense an unfamiliar ease when I get out of the chaos of my mind. Suddenly, the lines in the sand become muted, transitioning to endless fields of wildflowers. The worries, fear, guilt, and blame dissolve, creating space for compassion, love, and joy. In the pause there is no past or future, there is only the now where things are not complicated, unsettling, or uncertain.
And magically the critical voice inside my head disappears. It’s silenced, no longer judging others or myself. Instead, intuition rises, leading me to knowing. Life becomes simple, peaceful.
While these moments are few and far between the racing thoughts that insist on being heard, when I can find the pause, I am more apt to discover clarity. Slowly, shifts occur, and I am receptive to new ways of thinking.
I believe the pause is the universal sweet spot that will help navigate us from the fear and uncertainties of the past months. Instead of remaining stuck in the negativity, we can instead see beauty and promise in the unknown. No longer do we need to find those like us, but we can embrace others for who they are, not who we want them to be.
If we’re able to pause and detect unforeseen possibilities, then we relinquish the narratives and belief systems that have kept us small and instead learn how to shine our authentic lights. Pausing helps ban the internal battles that occupy our brains, showing us another way. It reminds us to be courageous so we can travel our path without fear of others’ judgment.
“All that is important comes in quietness and in waiting.” Patrick Lindsay
Practice the pause. Find peace. Elevate.