As a longtime meditator, I thought I had a pretty good grasp of the value of taking time to pause during a busy day in a formal and intentional way. Most recently I took a second look and I wanted to share a distinction with you that I think makes a difference.
Let’s say you’re having one-of-those-days. We know that taking a step back from the rush of activity holds demonstrable value; reducing your heart rate and giving you a bit of breathing room to make more deliberate and well-thought-out choices. This also bodes well when you’re in “busy-person” mode (a misguided trap!)
You might notice the busy-ness in others too: meetings booked back-to-back, claims of being efficient, or people stating they have to leave the meeting early to get to another meeting! All of this keeps you in a constant state of doing. Pausing can provide the necessary break to that unhealthy cycle of rushed activity and failed attempts to multitask.
Although taking a mindful moment can have a profound effect on your health, outlook and performance, I know what it’s like to sit still in the middle of a pressure-cooker. My thoughts can be like, “I should be accomplishing something right now!” This can be quite the visceral de-motivator as both physical sensations and emotional states may come along for the ride and build pressure to not meditate unless conditions are just right. I don’t want that for you.
How often do you feel you have plenty of time to “just sit” during your busy day, without a laundry list of tasks to pull you away? If you’re like me, not very often, and you may notice that as you complete three tasks, five more fill the void, making it difficult to defend that time for mindfulness practice. Knowing the value it brings often loses out to other demands on your time.
I tried a solution of introducing a simple pause many times throughout the day. Rather than have a 30-minute formal meditation session, I took a few moments to pause, and liberally sprinkle those moments throughout my day. But this did not refresh me. The result was I distanced myself from what was going on which is completely the opposite of what mindfulness practice is for!
So as your Mindset Mentor, I re-aligned and here are some distinctions that make the difference:
Shift Your Focus. When you start an intentional mindful pause, you may want to evoke curiosity by noticing if this pause is a distancing break or opens you to the present moment. This kind of presence, or intimacy, is wide and deep, lending a perspective that can be helpful and informative. You are integrating mindful pauses into your day to foster greater presence.
Get Curious. Allowing yourself to be curious in the pause brings fresh eyes to the situation. Be gentle and ask yourself, “Am I really listening right now? What preconceived notions do I have that might be getting in the way? What is my intention in this moment?” Pausing for reflection might be challenging but the answers are almost always helpful if you can meet them honestly and openly.
Manage Expectations. Let’s face it… mindfulness practice or meditation is not a direct path to building calm. It is often about facing difficulties and hard truths about the situation you’re in. Setting a bar of perfect performance as a meditator during the chaos of life is setting up for failure. Accepting patience as a friend on the sometimes tumultuous exploration of this moment can help reduce judgments and foster resilience during uncomfortable and quick changes to what’s happening in practice.
I know how intentional you are on creating ways to elevate your experience and contribution no matter what you are facing. That is why when I come across a distinction for myself, I just have to share it with you! Some of these distinctions are subtle but key to making the difference in your practice and the resulting benefit. It’s all cool and easy when we have time and our environment is quiet. But when things are chaotic, you now know, in a deeper way, how to shift into presence, awareness and perspective.
This is how we go from ordinary awareness to extraordinary awareness. It makes a difference!
If you are finding a gap in your ability to have focus under stress or challenge, reach out and book a session with me. Learning how to create a practice that works for you can lead to creating that edge you desire and most of all, the centered-ness that allows you to navigate the rough patches.
Taking responsibility for your reactions and mindset is one of the highest forms of intelligence you can develop for yourself. It’s the difference that makes the difference!
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If this resonates with you and you’d like to overcome some of your own barriers to living the life you want, then click here and I’ll make sure we connect. And you know I like to share the love, so if you know someone who could benefit from this article then please share it! Imagine, thought by thought and act by act we are creating a more conscious world.