The Power of Pause
Updated: Feb 18, 2021
How many pauses do you take throughout your day?
Do you pause before deciding what to eat for breakfast?
Do you pause to plan out your day before you get to the office or start your shift? Do you pause before you respond to a rude email from a client?
Do you take a pause after work to deeply exhale the day's stress before you go home to your family?
So many of us never take the opportunity to pause. We never think about how we want to show up for ourselves and others. Most of us are on auto-pilot, flying from one task to another, never stopping to consider our options when it comes to our next move or the next words out of our mouth.
But a short pause can change the trajectory of your day. A short pause could mean you intentionally reach for a piece of fruit for breakfast instead of hoping your third cup of coffee will do the trick until lunchtime.
Pausing to plan your day in advance could set you up for a productive day you can be proud of instead of spending another day procrastinating and beating yourself up about it later.
Pausing before you respond to that nasty email from a coworker or client could give your brain enough time to think through the consequences and you might decide no response is the better option — and trust me, no response is better than a shitty reaction.
You get the point.
There is so much power in taking a pause, even for a few seconds. Think about it as an act of self-care, because that's exactly what it is. Getting in the habit of pausing could save you a lot of grief, but more importantly, pausing is just another word for creating awareness — bringing the subconscious to the conscious, replacing our auto-programming with thoughtful and intentional thought processes.
The importance of the pause is something that's come up for me a lot in the last couple of weeks — if you believe in those sort of universal signs, I guess you can start to see it everywhere.
In starting my journey as a life coach, I've been preaching the importance of taking that pause to my clients — before they judge themselves, before they say they can't do it, before they listen to their negative self talk and before they argue with loved ones.
Then during my meditation the other morning, I pulled a card from the tarot deck my sibling gifted me to see what this week may have in store. I look at this more as a daily directional as opposed to trying to glean any psychic divination from it. Anyway, I pulled the often dreaded hanged man card. The card shows a man hanging upside down from a tree with one leg bent — a terribly awkward position to be in but he looks at peace. He's not struggling or trying to climb down.
That's because he's enjoying his moment of pause! As troubled as some people are when they pull the hanged man, I see it as another invitation to take a moment before your next decision, even if it feels uncomfortable. There's no point in coming down from that tree until you know what the hell you're going to do.
Digging deeper into the card's meaning for me specifically:
I think it's a reminder that constant productivity isn't realistic as much as I'd like it to be.
I need to rest when my body tells me too if I want to continue pursuing my long-term goals.
A brief pause to assess my next move doesn't mean I'm not making progress. There's no step too small!
The pause may be exactly what you need to propel you into the next steps of your journey with a new perspective. So don't be afraid to take that pause whenever you need it. Otherwise, the universe — or hell, let's be honest, your brain and body — will force you to take a much longer break and it won't be on your own terms.
I've been there. The forced breaks aren't fun. You feel powerless, not in control of your life and getting back on your feet can take much longer. Taking a pause on your own terms feels empowering and you'll be back up on the horse in no time.