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There is a kind of magic hidden within an intentional pause.

In those moments where we are able to create this pause, we allow the magic contained within it to break open, dusting its mystical benefits onto the way we relate to ourselves, others and the world around us.

Intentionally pausing opens up a space before our reaction or response. This space creates a moment for that first reactive wave of emotion to move through us rather than capture and consume us.   

Within this space there is room for calmer, clearer thinking and feeling through the distance created between the antecedents and our behaviour. The magic that is opened up and released through that pause is the ushering in of a new moment – one in which we are free to choose our response rather than being beholden to an impulsive reaction.

If there is anything that can help us along on this difficult journey of facing up to the many problems our world is currently confronted with, it is going to be our collective capacity to sit with the reality of our challenges and to manage, rather than be taken over by, the intense emotions that are the natural response to facing things as they really are.

Unfortunately, the culture of speed that has reigned with a chokehold over the past few decades allowed little room for such pauses despite them being essential for the wellbeing of individuals and the wider world.

What happens when we start to reclaim this space? When we intentionally begin creating a pause that allow us to stop and notice? How might our reactions be different when we linger before responding? How do our feelings evolve when we give ourselves small and large breaks that serve as a space from which to reflect on and integrate what we feel? 

In the aftermath of the pandemic, the spell of speed seems to finally be breaking. So many more of us now recognising the immense benefits contained within the willingness to allow ourselves that pause in a multitude of different situations.

Over the last two years, we have paused to reflect on how we feel deep within ourselves away from the distraction. We have paused to listen to and get to know our bodies more closely, to really feel what they are signalling to us. We have paused in conversation with one another. And we have paused to revaluate and make those big decisions so many of us have been making in our lives.

While mindfulness is the essential component to creating these pauses, our homes too can be small facilitators for fostering this space within our lives. A place to retreat away from the sway and influence of others in order to allow for consideration before responding. A place to hide away in order to be able to deeply connect to our own feelings. A place to rest and recharge so that we can generate the strength to bring our most thoughtful selves into our pause. 

The weight of the challenges we collectively face can feel like such a heavy load to carry. There are no simple solutions or quick fixes and that can be hard to sit with. Being confronted with that reality, and being willing to take it in, can feel overwhelming. When we ask ourselves what we as individuals could ever really do to make a meaningful difference, one answer lies in mindfully taking more pauses. The magic contained within them is not a luxury but an essential tool for approaching challenges from a place of thoughtful consideration rather than reactivity and fear.

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