I wrote earlier this week on taking a break, and what’s available by pausing: clarity of purpose, renewed energy, reconnecting with key values.
Learning how to cultivate mindfulness, including learning how to pause, to breathe, is an important skill to cultivate. Being mindful in our actions – rather that reactive or automatic – is common theme for many coaching clients. It’s something that I work on myself, too.
One of assignment I often give to coaching clients working on observation or mindfulness is to use common everyday experiences as a reminder – such as the telephone ringing, the bell of the seatbelt indicator in a car, stopping at a red light.** The specific activity isn’t as important as the noticing.
We can use these common experiences bring ourselves back to the present moment – where am I? what am I doing? what’s happening in my mind and my body? – and allow us to make choices from a place of awareness, rather than from habit. It’s only in the present moment that we choose.
How are you cultivating mindfulness in word and action today?
How does pausing assist you in making a difference?
**For more on cultivating mindfulness in everyday life, I highly recommend any book by Thich Nhat Hanh, especially Peace is Every Step.
Jodee Bock says
I always like to say “notice what you notice” but I like your reminders using the red light and the telephone. Those are great triggers. Reminds me of the Jonny Lang song “Red Light.” The words of that song are similar to what you’re saying about pausing. I’m good at supporting clients, but often forget about ME. Thanks for the reminders for myself!
Hanna Cooper says
Jodee: I love “notice what you notice” – thanks for that phrase.
I like Thich Naht Hahn’s thoughts on “telephone meditation” – breathe in & out and let the phone ring 3 times before answering. He asks what this might do for the world if everyone answered their phones after 3 rings – knowing that when you hear 3 rings when calling, that the other person is calmly breathing! This is more than most people can imagine themselves doing in our busy world, but it is interesting to consider the potential impact.
For more of Jodee’s thoughts on this (including the lyrics to “Red Light”) read her post here: http://youalreadyknowthisstuff.blogspot.com/2005/08/s-s-l-l-o-o-o-w-w-d-d-o-o-o-w-w-w-n-n.html
Carol Ross says
Okay, now I’m really hooked on this blogging thing because I can’t help but continue the conversation with new thoughts.
I have a friend who has a malfunctioning phone. It would ring once or twice intermittently, with no one on the the other end when she picked up. She decided that instead of fighting what is, she would use it as an opportunity to practice mindfulness. So what could have been maddening (hearing the phantom phone ring at odd times of the day or night)became this refreshing time to breathe. It worked great, especially when I would be working with her on a project. Hearing her phone give the phantom ring, we would look at each other and say, “Time to breathe!”