When I was younger, I thought being responsive was a strength. As more and more things demanded action, it became more and more difficult to respond, and more and more frustrating to me when I was unable to do so. Discussing it with my coach, I found that taking a brief pause gave me space to make a conscious decision about how, or even if, I respond.
This is one of the ways I practice mindfulness, which I also bring into conversations with clients. When I introduce the idea with them, I explore different ways of expressing it so it feels comfortable. It’s a way of letting our old habits or reactions be present for observation rather than becoming a call to action.
The pause has become a powerful tool for me. I found that once I had begun to use it, the world around me was a nicer place. And I started to see other things in my life I wanted to change. I also saw the impact of sharing my experience with clients who struggled to understand or practice it regularly.
Mindfulness isn’t a magic wand I can wield from time to time, but a decision I must make consistently in response to things that stir up frustration, anger, or disbelief in my mind. As I become better at managing those things, I notice how comfortable I am in the pause. It also means I have to be honest with myself about how easily I react to the things that stir up unsettling emotions.
One of my clients recently told me how she had come to appreciate the pause. She is working in a new field and finds herself facing the realities of workplace relationships. When she takes a moment to pause, she sees for herself what options she has rather than defaulting to a response that’s mindless and automatic. She’s now helping others in her office see the same options for themselves. I’d call that a success!
What’s keeping you from accessing the power of the pause?