The Gift of the Pause

There is an art to cultivating a practice of introducing a space between receiving information and responding. 



1.  a temporary stop or rest especially in speech or action.

The practice of awareness in each moment and thoughtfully engaging within that moment is an act of peace-making for self and others

I’m a student of the concept “The Gift of the Pause” and to be honest, my 17-year-old son is a master. 

 My son seemed to have come into this lifetime with the ability to be grounded and aware.  When I watch him, I see a skillful observer of the moment, a person with patience and someone who moves without hastiness.

 The mornings are a whirl of playful banter getting us through the morning rush. I’m sure you all know that rush!  The shuffling around included talk like: Where’s this?… I need that!… How come we are always late when we wake up at 5:00am?!  ‘we’ meaning my kiddos and I. (We were being goofy)

 It’s still dark out for God’s sake! There at the kitchen island, we were bantering and I was waiting for a response, a zinger or reply from our playful exchange.  But instead I got SPACE consisting of quietness and energy of deliberation.

 Leaning over, and looking up at my son, which I do now, with a look of “Well?”

He replied:  “I’m waiting to see how this plays out first!”

 Then it struck me.  The skillfulness of his awareness. In fun, stress, crazy, serious moments he “waits to see how this plays out” and then responds in kindness, and appropriateness, seldom rushing the response nor attacking. 

 In my mind’s eye it was if the “pause” button on the remote was hit and we all took a deep breath!

 In my opinion, my son is a master and practices the gift of the pause and he’s one of my greatest teachers. 

 Here are six tips to give you “The Gift of the Pause” this holiday season!

 1. Imagine a big Pause button and in your mind’s eye, hit it! (Think about the Staples “easy” button.  You can even print the picture below out and place it in view.  

2. Tick a Lock:  Even if you have to make that duck face that is all over social media… don’t say a word.   

 I attended 8 years of parochial school, and had nuns as teachers.  Sister Ethertrude, God as my witness that was her name, would say, “Tick a Lock”! Meaning close your mouth, back than we would say “Tick a Lock” meaning that whatever was shared went into the vault. The act of “ticking a lock” creates the pause that shifts from reaction to thoughtful action.

 3. Don’t let what might be coming at you land on/in/by you!  Let that comment, statement, innuendo go flying by… let it float away with no residue of emotional darkness invading your peace.

 4. Breath in and out!

 5. Separate the action from the person. Remember that you don’t know what the other person’s life is all about and remain in a sense of love. Separate the deed from the doer. 

 6. Now give this same “Gift of the Pause”  to someone else for the holidays and be truly present for that other person!  I Double Dog Dare YOU!

 “When we pause, allow a gap and breathe deeply, we can experience instant refreshment. Suddenly, we slow down, and there’s the world.”

– Pema Chodron 

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