On the Road to Pausing
Note: This series of blog posts are edits from my book Pause, a book to help anyone harness the life changing power of giving yourself a break.
Pausing, or any intentional shift in behavior, is a chance to notice your feelings and observe your surroundings in the here and now. By creating a daily pause, you allow yourself to be, and not think. With this new space, you can develop presence through sensory perception, notice bodily sensations, or objectively notice your thoughts and feelings in the moment. Here are some ways you can pause daily. Experiment with what works best, or try something new every day, to keep things fresh and different.
Burning Man led me to explore meditating. I didn’t try it there, at my meditation-themed camp. That would have been too easy! I wasn’t aware I could learn about myself with daily self-guided or instructor-led meditations. I met my good friend Mark Thornton, who wrote a book called How to Meditate in a NY Minute. I learned about the book on my way out of Burning Man. I immediately bought the audio book. Would I find meditation useful? I wasn’t sure. What if I didn’t do it right?
The following week I listened to Mark’s book and took notes on the eighteen different meditation types. I noticed sensations when I brushed my teeth. I found serenity on a street corner tuning into the sights and sounds. I visualized myself on a large chain that lowered itself deeper and deeper into the ground as I breathed into my belly. I learned how to meditate, and it wasn’t that difficult. It just took a willingness to try.
The best part about Mark’s book was, as his title promised, the meditations only took a minute, and could be done while doing something else. Each example helped me tune into my sensations, feelings, and senses. It was a great introduction to tuning into my body and to notice what was happening around me. This is how I started my meditation practice, which officially began that week.
For anyone interested to try it out, I highly recommend Mark’s book (the audio or visual version!)