The Power of the Pause

I was really fortunate to get to attend a conference this weekend that happened to touch upon a lot of things relevant to getting sane about food and body stuff. The conference was on a mixture of things, but focused on Buddhist psychology and putting that into the context of a Western life/mind.

It was lead by some really great speakers including Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach (they have written some great books if you’d like to check them out!), and I left feeling all filled up with valuable tips that I am excited to use towards continuing my own navigation of this stuff, as well as sharing them with you guys.

Firstly, one of the main helpful things that the conference reminded me of is allowing myself to take a pause. It sounds so simple, but it is easy to forget to do. I am almost certain that if I incorporated this practice into my daily life habits more often,  I would be all the better for it and issues around dealing with emotions, food and body stuff would be that much more manageable.

Between and during most of the talks, we would do little mini-meditations and have moments to let ourselves pause and settle in. It is so easy to just go into automatic mode and follow our lives (and our selves) in this trance without ever checking in with our bodies, our minds and our hearts. I know both Sunny and I have talked about checking-in before–and I do try and practice it, but it’s difficult to follow through sometimes. Having the opportunity placed in front of me (it was part of the conference)  just re-enforced the positive (and transformative) effects it can have.  I found that just a quick pause and check-in made a huge difference!

I think sometimes I get into this mindset of, “Well, I’d like to meditate and I know it would be good for me, but I don’t have time to sit down.” First of all, it’s not true, I could have time, but I just don’t make it a priority. Also, if I look at it as this big meditation, as opposed to a quick pause, it seems more daunting. The room where the conference was held was filled with over 600 people and not everyone was experienced meditators (we were also in the middle of New York City), and thinking of it as a pause made it feel much more do-able.

Even just this morning, I found myself feeling a little unsettled and uneasy in my body (mostly my stomach…that’s often where I store a lot of anxiety and feelings…hence the food stuff!) and I let myself take a little pause after I got dressed this morning. I didn’t make it a big deal, I just sat comfortably on the edge of my bed, feet grounded into the floor for about three minutes. I found the steadiness of my breath and paused to settle into myself and my day and what was maybe going on.

I tried not to judge any of the things (thoughts, feelings, tensions, etc…) I was noticing, but just notice them. After, when I opened my eyes to go on with my day, I hadn’t made anything disappear, I just felt a little more calm and a little more in tune with what’s up. As opposed to running out the door, in a weird mood, unaware of what I was feeling in myself (and perhaps unconsciously overeating or calming myself with food), I instead felt more a part of myself and whatever was going on, and well, it all just seemed a little more manageable.

I think this week, it’s going to be my goal to make sure I take more pauses. Who’s with me?

Have you guys tried pausing/checking-in with yourselves during the day? Do you find it makes a difference? –Morgan

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5 Responses to The Power of the Pause

  1. Katie says:

    Taking a “pause” is soooo helpful and I so often forget to do it! It’s amazing how I manage to convince myself that I don’t have 2 minutes to sit and be quiet with myself.

  2. Astrid says:

    I was actually president of the meditation club in undergrad. I love taking a pause. It was actually my favorite part of group therapy last year, too. Since then, I haven’t taken the time for myself. For some reason, I feel like a good workout in the morning is enough. But there is something about stillness while you check in that helps tremendously. Thank you for the reminder.

  3. Angie says:

    Yes, pauses help me a lot, but I do not pause enough. I often feel like “I don’t have time to pause,” but that often means I need to pause now more than ever. I love to lay on my back on my bed and just be for a few minutes. I work at home and it’s hard to transition between work and home. A brief pause is something I need to do more often.

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