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Purposeful Pause

A day on your calendar with no meetings or appointments is a beautiful thing. When I worked in the corporate world I remember opening up my calendar for the day and feeling my heart sink as I looked at the back-to-back meetings all day. On a good day they were 60 minutes and I actually had a break for lunch. On a bad day they were 30 minutes each without a single break all day. As I think back it triggers feelings of overwhelm, loss of control, and exhaustion. Also dread. Dread for all the deliverables I would be getting throughout the day and the growing to-do list that was no longer manageable. If you work in the corporate world, manage your own business, have kids or a household to run, or simply live in our world today, you know what I’m talking about. Our world seems to thrive on busyness. At least that’s what we are told. If we want to get ahead we will Lean In fully in all aspects of our lives, as Sheryl Sandberg shared with us in her first book. Right? Wrong. After losing her husband unexpectedly Sheryl shared in her second book, Option B, that leaning in isn’t always the right answer. Sometimes we need to take pause. Not only do we need to slow down once in awhile for our sanity, but also recognize that magic happens when we allow space for our thoughts and experiences to assimilate. Like a marinara sauce that simmers for days (sorry, I’m Italian), life can be savored when we slow down enough to let our thoughts, feelings, and emotions percolate. Janice Marturano, author of Finding the Space to Lead, who brought Mindfulness into General Mills and later started a company focused on Mindful Leadership calls this a Purposeful Pause. Many of us do not have the luxury to enjoy an entire weekend of quiet or to clear our calendars to create this much needed space. So how do we give ourselves the time to integrate all that is happening around us and within us? By pausing. On purpose. After learning about this from Janice Marturano’s work, I attempted to find places in my life where I could pause to just breath and then move on with my day with more intention or purpose. I found myself taking that pause as I walked from meeting to meeting or before entering the conference room. I found myself taking the pause before walking into my house to be with my family after a long day. I also found myself taking the pause on my yoga mat. One of my yoga students wisely shared with me that it’s the space between the notes that makes music beautiful. When our minds have a moment of pause we have an opportunity to process. We have a chance to reflect and reset. As we pause in an asana on our yoga mat we allow the prana to move freely through our bodies. We give our whole self (body, mind, and spirit) a chance to reconnect and become one again. We purposefully find stillness, even for just a moment or two, so that we can move on with intention. While sharing this practice with one of my life coaching clients she realized that she offers her students a chance to practice a purposeful pause during her classes (she’s a professor). She shared with me that she will take breaks during a class session to allow the students to look over their notes and sit with what they just learned. This is where the true absorption happens, she says. They are able to assimilate the information they had been taking in to allow for the concrete to settle and the information to take up permanent residence in their mind. Whether your pause takes place on your yoga mat or in the corporate conference room it’s a powerful practice that can be life changing. Where in your life can you allow for the beauty of a purposeful pause? Share your thoughts in the comments below. Author Nicole Lovald is a certified Life Coach who integrates mindfulness and yoga philosophy in her coaching practice. Schedule a free wellness consultation here:

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