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Pause by Clia Tierney, MA

Updated: Nov 14, 2019

The pause button is such a great invention. With the touch of a finger, it allows us to stop everything and ask a question, to get up and take a call, to make popcorn or visit the restroom or let the dog back in, all while watching our favorite show. After pausing, we can resume watching with reassurances, no more nagging stomach, an empty bladder and a happy pooch. Otherwise, we would miss out.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we had a pause button in life? One light touch of a finger and we could put everything on hold for just a moment. We could pause, perhaps take a few deep breaths, check in with our thoughts and feelings, become more aware and intentional, and then return to life, without having missed anything but, also, with a sense of renewal and presence. 

“Pause practice can transform each day of your life. It creates an open doorway to the sacredness of the place in which you find yourself. The vastness, stillness, and magic of the place will dawn upon you, if you let your mind relax and drop for just a few breaths the story line you are working so hard to maintain. If you pause just long enough, you can reconnect with exactly where you are, with the immediacy of your experience.” –Pema Chodron

Pausing is entirely possible. For all of us. Almost anytime. Unfortunately, most of us are so used to being busy and active that “we are hooked on doing” (Tara Brach) with we are allowing our ego to run the show. Our ego has us convinced that we cannot possibly find that sacred place inside ourselves unless we are in constant mental, physical and/or emotional motion. For some of us, some of the time, even when we aren’t “hooked,” we still pretend to be. This is widely researched and written about, so I won’t add more for you to read, but it is important to understand that no matter what the reason, most of us don’t believe it is possible to step outside of the busyness of our constant doing in order to pause and drop ourselves into being. Perhaps we are afraid of the vulnerability of being present. Perhaps we are too habituated to “busy.” Or perhaps we are working hard to maintain our storyline. Whatever the reason, we all understand the feeling. So this is not about PAUSING as yet another thing to do. As a matter of fact, being able and willing to pause should not separate you from your life but, instead, bring you closer to it. Pausing allows us to connect or to reconnect with ourselves AND THEN to connect with others.

“The power of taking pause is well researched. Not only does pausing promote relaxation, a break from noise and doing, it also refreshes and re-energizes you for hours. Taking time to just be still and quiet gives your nervous system a chance to regain balance.” –Cara Bradley (On the Verge)

When, you ask, should I practice “pausing”? Simply incorporate the practice into your daily life. Schedule pauses throughout the day during transitions like moving from your desk to another room. Attach pauses to other routine habits like brushing your teeth or making coffee or tea. Pause before answering the phone. Before viewing or sending a text. Before opening a door. Before putting your car in drive. When you sit down. When standing in line. These are just a few examples to get you started. “How?” you then ask. Start by taking at least three deep breaths. Get physically and mentally still, no matter where you are, and breathe deeply three times. That’s it. You’ve created a pause.

You can also make pausing a more formal practice, and as Tara Brach says, “Meditation builds the muscle of pausing.” You can schedule time to sit or walk or move in meditation, allowing yourself to pause and tune into your senses. Widen your awareness and ask, What is in my mind? My body? Ask “What am I noticing right now?” Notice the mind hijack the pause and when it does—and it will—merely return to following the natural cycle of your breath. Inhale, pause, exhale, pause. Notice and return, over and over.

Be curious and remember that there is no right way to do it. What a relief!


Clia Tierney, MA

The owner of Asante Wellness Coaching, Clia Tierney helps women move past "stuck" into possibility. She coaches people to overcome obstacles and obtain clarity about their goals. Through the process, personal transformation takes place, resulting in greater well-being, life balance and fulfillment. Clia's professional background and life experiences as a teacher, educational therapist, yogi, wife, mother of teenagers, daughter and sister have fueled her passion for helping women of all ages identify and reduce their stress and struggle so that they can discover their purpose and confidently move forward. 

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