The Power of Pressing Pause
When I know I want something, I go after it. Sometimes foolishly. Just ask my wife.
So I’m trying to learn the power of pressing pause. Of taking a step back and reflecting in the midst of a world that continues to move in fast-forward.
So often we act on urges without really thinking, and without even realising it. And it gets us into trouble. We have the urge to eat junk food, and so we do it. We have the urge to skip a workout, and so we stay on the couch. We have an urge to smoke, to criticize, to check Facebook, to gossip, to open our inbox… and we act on that urge. But, as Leo Babuta writes:
What if instead we learned to pause after each urge? What if we stopped, looked at that urge, paid close attention to what it feels like inside our bodies, but didn’t act? The urge would no longer control us. We would be able to make conscious choices that might be healthier for us...
And that’s why the pause is so critical.
Because when we pause, we create space. Space for life. Space to breathe, to think, and to respond proactively .
Such a small thing, and yet so powerful.
Of course, learning to press pause in our world and in our culture is no easy feat, but it can be learnt and practiced and improved.
In the Bible, the psalmists use a very interesting Hebrew word “selah“ which, while its definition is not entirely clear, means something like “pause and calmly think about that“. It’s like after every statement of praise or nugget of truth, the writer is trying to get us to stop and think and take it all in, instead of simply jumping to the next line or chorus…
or TV program…