By J. B. Cowling...
Falling into the trap of distraction and overwhelm is a normal part of life and when we are aware of this, we can remind ourselves to ‘pause’. In doing so, we are able to make authentic decisions and take fulfilling action.
How often do we get to stages in life and think, ‘shit, how did I get here?’ It’s easy in such a busy world to get carried away by all the lights, tragedies and short term highs. We are constantly distracted. In both the good and bad times we forget to slow down, to stop, to pause.
A ‘pause’ is essentially a brief shift from ‘doing’ (acting mindlessly) to ‘being’ (a state in which you are grounded and aware).
This is not a new issue, people have been grappling with this mechanism for years. We hear about it in the sayings we use, such as ‘stop and smell the roses’ or ‘slow down to speed up’. It seems that with the ever increasing pace of life, we are more distracted than ever. This constant preoccupation is taking us away from what is truely important and causing us to subconsciously move in directions that we are not aligned to. Lets be honest, sometimes it is easier to watch a marathon of videos to distract ourselves from the pressure of having to make hard decisions or tackle challenges.
Thankfully, in pausing we are able to break this cycle of distraction and disconnection. Just as we would pause a game or movie, we too can press pause in our lives, even for just a moment. The act of pausing is a commitment to slow down and focus on the now, as if you are stepping out of the river and looking at it, rather than aimlessly flowing with it.
So what is pausing? A ‘pause’ is essentially a brief shift from ‘doing’ (acting mindlessly) to ‘being’ (a state in which you are grounded and aware). It is an intentional interruption designed to assist you to view things with clarity and plan with intent.
Whilst a state of ‘being’ is were we strive to be, we often slip into the trap of ‘doing’. In itself, it’s not such a bad thing, however we often keep busy to distract ourselves from what is actually happening in the moments of our lives and as such, we pass through time almost unaware. Falling into the trap of distraction and overwhelm is a normal part of life and when we are aware of this, we can remind ourselves to ‘pause’. In doing so, we are able to make authentic decisions and take fulfilling action.
A pause can take any form, from playing music, writing, sewing, to exercise or meditating. It doesn’t matter what your process is as long as it takes you back to a place of being, where you are able to view your situation with clarity. There are three components of an effective ‘pause’:
Grounding - The process of bringing your attention back to the present moment.
Awareness - The process of building understanding around the current situation to ensure that you are focusing on what is important (assessing your intention).
Refocus - The process of redirecting your attention with intent in order to take authentic action.
One of the most effective ways of incorporating the act of pausing into your life is through the use of questions. An example set of questions are: (1) Where am I right now? What am I doing? (2) Is this (the current situation) aligned to my authentic self, values and current goals? If not, why am I doing this or wanting to? (3) What’s my next step? Is this action aligned to what is important to me?
Take a break, pause for a moment and then be on your way.