Embracing the Power of Pause: A Journey to Resilience and Self-Mastery
Do you ever feel like you’re constantly reacting instead of consciously creating your life?
There is a finite moment just before we make the decision to give something meaning, which can turn into undesirable behavior, or we can use that moment to create the result we want.
I experienced this in what could have been a life or death situation. Thankfully, I had the ability to truly pause in that critical moment as I was looking in front of me on my morning walk at what was definitely not a dog, and was much too large to be a stray cat…I realized that right in my path about 150 feet in front of me was a mountain lion!
In that moment of realization, I could feel the adrenaline starting to flow through my body. Before I allowed it to take over and send me running down the street, I paused…I paused and in what felt like an eternity, as if time was standing still, I examined all the facts and my options:
- I am alone in a quiet neighborhood in the middle of the morning. There is no one in sight or ear shot.
- There is no way I can outrun this amazing creature.
- I have no way to defend myself.
- My watch had a loud siren that may scare the ginormous cat, or it may piss it off and cause it to attack me…I couldn’t be sure.
So in that moment that seemed to draw on like an eternity, I realized the only option I truly had was to relax, enjoy the beauty of this magnificent creature out in nature, uncaged, exuding pure grace and pure power…and hopefully she wouldn’t see me. (Side note: I did have my hand ready to sound the alarm on my watch if she decided to turn her attention towards me)
I could easily have allowed the adrenaline to take over and go into panic mode. I could have shut down, froze up, a number of things…but instead, I get to share this amazing story of just relaxing and allowing this beautiful cat to stroll by while I enjoyed the sheer magic of her calm, graceful power.
The thing about life is that we don’t have a rewind and do-over button. But we DO have a PAUSE button that can give us the opportunity to choose how we respond.
This is Self-Mastery.
And it takes a diligent resilience practice to get to the point that we can allow ourselves the pause without consciously thinking about it…for that pause to be a natural part of how we respond.
We are faced with situations constantly and one of four things typically happens:
- We react instinctively and immediately regret what we did or said and wish we could get a do-over.
- We react instinctively. It doesn’t get the result we want but we stand by what we did or said, because we believed in our stance, and we fight for it…at whatever cost, including our personal peace.
- We acted instinctively and luckily it seemed to work out well. Whew! That was lucky!
- We took a finite moment, a moment of pause, to determine what would be in alignment with the outcome we are hoping to achieve, and rather than reacting, we responded, getting the result we desired.
The thing is that so many of us are so busy working to make ends meet. Working towards the next promotion, the next client, the next speaking engagement, the new car, or the new house, we don’t take the time to really look at each moment as an opportunity to choose our desired outcome.
Many people do not even take time to take care of themselves physically, let alone cultivate a solid resilience practice. Many people think they are resilient because they bounce back from adversity…that is not resilience, that is survival.
Resilience is the ability to navigate resources and sustain positive functioning under stress. In short: it is to function positively in the face of stress. In order to achieve this level of positive functioning, we must actively cultivate resilience.
Here are some actionable steps to cultivate resilience so you can leverage the Power of the Pause, giving yourself space to create the outcome you desire.
Steps to Cultivate Resilience:
- Release: Release triggers related to traumatic memories. When we release triggers related to traumatic memories, it shifts our automatic reactions, allowing us to let go of the previously uncontrollable behaviors.
- Forgive: In order to release triggers and stored up emotional responses, you must be willing to forgive: yourself and others. This is not to say that the transgression was okay, it is an exercise of letting go so that the event or person no longer has control over you. This can cultivate an inner peace that allows you to be less reactive.
- Pause: Create a practice of pause utilizing tools like Havening Techniques, meditation, breathwork, or other similar modalities to exercise your ability to allow thoughts to flow without holding on to them or allowing them to take over your body physically.
- Flow: Be fluid and flexible in your beliefs. Our beliefs and values are what create the instinctual behavior. If we want to change our behavior, we need to loosen our grip on our beliefs.