I still vividly recall the days when crossing the threshold of my front door coincided with an immediate pull towards the kitchen cupboards and refrigerator.
The familiar signal of an an imminent binge…
I would mentally count the 12 and 1/2 steps between myself and the kitchen, before loading up on whatever food I could find and stealing away to my room.
It was a daily ritual of mind and body anesthesia. A momentary blanket of soothing nothingness.
Thirty minutes later, I would be bent over the toilet bowl, purging.
This pattern continued for many years until one day when, for whatever reason, I paused and began negotiating.
‘You can still do this if you want Kirri, but stop for a moment and figure out what’s going on here. Please!’
I paused for a few seconds, before blindly continuing towards the fridge, frightened by the throat choking intensity of feeling.
But something had shifted that day.
I caught a glimpse of the ugly story that I had been telling myself. In time, I was able to extend that 3 second pause to 30 seconds, then minutes, and after a while, it was like a circuit breaker. One day, I just stopped.
That pause provided another doorway – an invitation to explore my pain.
That was the place where I found some answers. The place where I eventually discovered that my disordered eating was causing far more suffering than the emotions I was attempting to drown out.
That was the place I needed to visit to find my answers. (Maybe you do too?).
This pause – taking a beat, a moment and a breath, has become one of my most powerful self care practices.
An ally that I have learned to call on, in many life situations.
One of the most powerful self care practices in the world.
Here are some examples:
The de-stress pause – Stop and take three deep, slow breathes for an instant de-stress. Slowing our breathing helps us on a cellular level. This is incredibly helpful for getting out of your head and back in your body.
The mindfulness pause – use it when you are caught up in the busyness of doing and want to get back to that space of being.
The gratitude pause - Take a moment to reflect on your daily gratitudes and more importantly, to inhabit a space of gratitude.
The people pleasing pause – For the people pleaser who has a habit of automatically saying YES to everyone. Use your pause to check in with yourself – Do I really want to do this, or am I agreeing out of habit and obligation?
The angry retort pause – When things get heated – take a moment before you respond. Walk away if you need to. (It’s so much better than saying something you know you will regret).
The mamma bear pause – to be used whenever your kids look at you, beseechingly doe eyed and wanting something. (I use this one a lot!).
A well intentioned pause provides us with the opportunity to get our thoughts aligned with our actions, to respond more consciously, and to loosen our grip on unhelpful thought patterns. It’s also a magnificent tool for getting embodied and reconnecting with our kinder, more knowing self.
As always, I’d love to know what you think. Has this been helpful? Are you a fan of the pause?