Fist in the airSometimes I wonder if my clients get sick of me saying “let’s pause, let’s take a breath” because I know I say it a lot. A Lot.

Neuroscientists can tell us all about the benefit of settling the autonomic nervous system, calming the arousal in the sympathetic to the peace of the parasympathetic.

Buddhists can tell us all about the benefit of the sacred pause (this is by Jack Kornfield).

Eugene Gendlin, founder of focusing , relied on the pause (this is by my colleague and friend Vera R. Fryd Lyngmo).

And what ultimately inspired me to write this piece was something from Brené Brown . She’s taking a summer sabbatical and writes powerfully in this piece about how anxiety provoking that is for her. She references the power of the pause in coming to that decision, in finding and maintaining her sobriety (with which I resonate deeply).

So I’ll add something from my own life about pausing to take a breath. I have a difficult family member, someone who lives close by and with whom I have daily interaction. There are times when I approach the phone or their front door and forget to ground myself, breathe and take a moment to prepare – things usually don’t go so well.

When I remember to take that moment to feel my feet, relax my belly, take a deep breath, bring positive intention to the interaction ahead, open my heart to smile about something – these times go more smoothly. My goal is to be relaxed yet alert, open yet protected, leaving judgment and bringing curiosity, knowing I’ll have to shout (even though they won’t admit to significant hearing loss), and if I’m really resourced and patient, finding the place in me where compassion for us both resides.

Things go much better then.

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