The Power of the Pause

Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA
Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA

Sheila and I were on holiday this past week at The Sea Ranch, one of our favorite places to get away from it all. The Sea Ranch is located on the Northern California coast about 2 ½ hours from San Francisco. On one side of Highway 1 is a small swath of land where homes are built so as not to disturb the natural landscape of this rugged and beautiful land.

While relaxing and enjoying the fog rolling in off the Pacific in the mornings and the sun breaking through and warming the beaches in the afternoon, we’ve also been doing a personal workshop with Jamie McHugh an international expert in mindfulness. Jamie’s unique approach to this work is his focus on bringing the natural world into the practice and with a “studio” like the Sea Ranch, there are many ways to explore this connection.

Among the many aspects of mindfulness is our ability to pay attention to all that is around us. On several occasions, Jamie’s mentioned about the Power of the Pause as one way to wrest our mind from its ongoing busyness.

Given that last week’s Resilient Wednesday focused on the Power of the Ask, it seemed appropriate to follow-up on yet another of those seemingly simple super powers.

Taking a moment consider choices is a powerful way to take control of our lives. Our tendency is to want to come up with the quick response or make a fast decision. Sitting back and taking time gives us all kinds of new and unexplored options for making wise decisions.

Here are some simple tools I’ve drawn from this week:

  • Use breathing as way to build in natural pauses in conversation or when having to consider a difficult decision. That breath oxygenates us and clears the air for others.
  • Be silent and observe. While here, we’ve quietly watched humming birds, deer, bob cats and seals do their thing. It’s added to the beauty to this setting and helped us connect more with the quiet of this day.
  • Look for new learnings. Inside a collection of redwoods we saw the mother tree that had birthed all of these children. She was long gone but her cavernous and vacant trunk revealed her contribution.
  • Understand others. In both our business and civic discourse, there is a recognition that we need to be better listeners. The pause gives us that opportunity.

© Richard Citrin, All rights reserved, 2018


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