The Most Effective and Simple Way to Come Back to Your Centre
or simply put: the underestimated healing power of pause
In my last email, I wrote about what a Regulated Nervous System feels like.
It’s the ability to reset ourselves (with good sleep), ground (to our present moment experience in the body), connect (to our needs), feel (the other through empathy), curiosity (be open beyond our own perspective), and the ability to let go (with laughter). In this article, I would like to share with you the number one thing we need to cultivate to practice a ‘regulated’ state.
It’s normal that we lose our center. That’s just life. It’s like being on a slackline. As soon as you put your foot on it, it wobbles. To expect it not to is just silly.
Life is intense. Throwing at us a lot of different things, in a lot of different areas, all the time and often all at once.
Of course, the ground of our being starts to shake in response. It starts to accumulate tension, starts to numb, feel overwhelmed, or become dysregulated in any number of ways.
That’s ok. The problem is not that the slackline wobbles or that we frequently fall off. The question is how to get back on, try over and over again, without losing our faith and sense of determination and joy.
That’s what life really is about. It teaches us to become masterful through the challenges that we face. It teaches us to know ourselves through understanding how we ‘fall’ and then how to rise again.
The healing power of pause
It may sound like not much: to pause. But believe me, it is one of the most effective tools to stay regulated. So let’s look at what ‘pausing’ means:
To pause means to give yourself that moment of releasing and resetting in between two moments.
It means to complete one thing before starting another and to bring all of yourself into the next moment. Not leaving residues of you scattered behind.
It means to be in touch with yourself and your body, moment to moment.
Ever noticed? Life is a neverending succession of moments. Most of them ordinary ones.
Some of them have a strong impact, some don’t. Like food for our body, which needs its time to digest, each moment is an impression that feeds our soul or being. It also needs its time to digest.
And most of the time in our busy lives, running from one appointment to the other, scrolling from one post to the other, our attention is being distracted and our consciousness scattered all over and we simply don’t give ourselves that time…to pause, to check-in and to feel.
So if you want to bring a greater sense of embodiment and a richer quality to the experience of your life, try it out, pause…
…when getting in a car. Just take a breath, exhale, feel your body, feel your heart. It doesn’t have to take long, only a minute. Am I ready for the next chapter of the day? What do I need?
…before getting up in the morning and grabbing your phone, pause. Maybe put a hand on your heart and be willing to connect with you. How do I feel?
…before sending the next message to your friend, pause. Feel your feet, relax your belly, drop your shoulders, exhale. What’s my intention for sharing?
…before responding to a triggering FB message, pause. And like in the above, feel your feet, hand on your heart, ask yourself: What is really going underneath the trigger?
…before switching the light off at night, pause. Lie there quietly for 5 minutes, feel the sensations in your body, check your breathing, sense into the stillness. What do I need to let go of? What am I grateful for from the day?
Anytime when moving from one space to another (whether they are physical or energetic) give yourself the gift of pause. Whether that’s just through an intention and an exhale, or whether you move, stretch and shake it out, it’s entirely up to you.
The point is that we need more pauses than we can have cups of tea a day, even though they definitely help and are lovely too.
When you train yourself to pause in-between moments, you reclaim your power from a life that’s moving on autopilot. You put yourself back in the driver’s seat as you become in touch with what’s truly alive in you. And only when we are connected to our feelings do we actually know what we need next.
This also works wonders while relating to others…
…when someone is chewing your ear off at a party, gently touch their forearm and ask to pause: thank you for sharing, but that’s a lot of information right now, can I pause you for a moment? I want to be fully present with you.
…when you are making love and your partner is going too fast, ask to pause, connect through the eyes, take some breaths together. It will give both of you a chance to drop deeper into intimacy and vulnerability.
…before sharing something with a friend, pause, feel into the other: do they have the space and capacity to receive you?
Want to get more out of life?
To pause is the simplest way to stay regulated and enjoy more. I get that it may not always be easy to do as we might not be brave enough to ask for it. Or be conscious enough to give to ourselves, whilst running around in our dopamine-induced and adrenalized state.
But like with all good things, it’s a habit that’s worthwhile putting the effort in. It really depends on how much we want to get out of life. And I guess, most of us have already figured out that running faster and harder doesn’t mean more happiness, joy, and pleasure.
So make it a fun game with yourself this week: how many times can you pause? And then notice what changes in the quality of your experience.
(Next week I will write about the neuroscience and energy behind why it’s so hard sometimes to sit still, slow down and pause. Till then, enjoy your pause!)
If you are interested in going deeper, check out my website Kasia Patzelt.