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Finding the Pause

Life sends us curveballs when we least expect it. No amount of good planning or healthy living can make us immune. They happen to all of us. We are innocently waiting for the traffic light to change from red to green, when suddenly someone hits us from behind and propels us into the trunk of the car ahead of us. Or we are quietly reading a book on Sunday afternoon when we hear the sound of rushing water and realize the pipe under the kitchen sink has separated.

It is natural in situations like this to become very angry and take it out on everyone and everything around us. However, it is not necessary to respond in this way. How we respond in each moment is actually a choice. When we feel rage, hurt or fear we can choose to act on those strong emotions, or we can choose to be mindful instead.

In order to make the mindful choice, it is helpful to start by taking a deep breath. Everything goes better when we use our breath. After taking the initial deep breath, you may want to ground yourself by putting both feet on the floor and bringing your full attention to the sensations in your body. Offer yourself compassion for the unhappy intensity you are feeling. Then assess the situation and decide what one thing you can do to make things a little bit better. Then repeat: take a deep breath, get grounded, offer yourself compassion and do one thing to make the situation a little bit better. Soon things will be better and you will not have lost your temper, hurt anyone's feelings or acted rashly and made things worse.

If you practice this on a regular basis you will realize it gets easier and easier to do. The reason for this is that you are rewiring your brain to respond with a calm solution oriented approach. Basic mindfulness meditation can also help rewire your brain. Many people refer to this change as "the pause". "The pause" refers to the moment between a situation occurring and the reaction to that situation. The moment of pause allows us to make a choice about how we will respond and leads to a more helpful response.

If you would like to develop that "pause" in your life contact me to schedule an appointment.