Choosing Stop Moments in My Life

I was attending a conference recently in a remote part of the country and so to simplify my journey I chose to pick up a hire car from the airport. When I arrived at the car hire desk I was given a free upgrade to a new, luxurious, high spec car.

I spent time familiarising myself with where everything was and adjusting the mirrors and seat for visibility and comfort and double-checked my map (despite having sat nav. in the car, I still prefer the old fashioned method where I can see the overall plan in front of me).

Once I felt confident I knew the car, felt comfortable in my seat and knew where I was going I started the engine and set off on my trip. About 5 minutes into the journey I came to a set of red lights and put my foot on the brake and stopped. Almost immediately the car engine cut out and I felt a sudden sense of panic that I had broken down. I lifted my foot off the brake and the car engine immediately started up again.

I realised this car had built into it, what a friend had recently described as an engine stop-start system, which preserves fuel by cutting out the engine when you have stopped for more than a few seconds.

Having never driven a car like this before it took me a little while to trust that when the engine stopped it would simply start again once I lifted my foot off the brake, but as I trusted more I began to appreciate that I was saving fuel and that the car engine was getting a chance to rest.

As I pondered on this great system I considered if my own body had stop start times – times throughout the day when I brought an absolute stop to my body and simply rested.

As a physiotherapist and great advocate for sharing the benefits of rest as well as exercise with my patients I felt to ask myself in that moment to be honest about how often I truly rest my body within my day. Was I actually living what I was sharing with my patients?

What I found was that I was tricking myself into thinking I was resting when I wasn’t. I would run a bath with the intention of simply resting, enjoying the feeling of the warm water surrounding my body but would end up playing in the water with an empty shampoo bottle, filling it up and squirting little fountains of water out. I would rest on my bed and close my eyes but would have my mobile phone beside me just in case I needed it. Inevitably just at that moment a text or call would come in and I would go “oh no”, when actually I was meaning, “Phew, I am let off the hook, I don’t have to feel my body.” Or I would sit at work in my tea break with my eyes closed for a few minutes but allow lots of thoughts to come in and disturb the moment of grace I was giving myself.

What I realised was that despite having many opportunities there were very few times in the day that I allowed my own engine to simply stop and be, and that most times I came up to a red light with the intention to stop I was fooling myself – my engine was still running exactly as before. I had in fact become a master of avoiding feeling my body.

At the conference I chose to bring regular loving stops into my day, either resting on my bed or sitting in a chair. I would close my eyes and breathe gently and simply be with my body. At first I allowed myself to be distracted by all that was going on around me, the voices in the corridor, the banging of doors or the clip clop of a horse passing by outside the window.

As I committed to keep bringing my focus back to my body and my breath it was not long before I could feel what I had been avoiding – exhaustion.

I had been running my body on empty for a very long time and rather than accept this, take responsibility for it and make changes in my life I was avoiding looking at it.

It has been amazing to see since then how many times in the day there actually are for me to truly stop and connect to me. Sometimes it is only for a minute but even a minute is precious when my stop is absolute. I have found that there is an enormous difference in the quality of rest I give myself in these moments for I connect deeply to how my body feels and can then choose to respond to its many and constant messages. I might feel tired, joyful, sore, tight, light achy, sad, amazing, gentle, hard, tender or precious.

It might not always be what I would like to feel but with a willingness to stop and be honest about what I feel, I get a deeper awareness of my body and thus a deeper understanding of myself in that moment, and it is that which I take forward to my next moment.

What I have also come to realise is that each moment I connect to me, I naturally connect to everything and everyone around me.

My hire car and its energy stop-start system has taught me there is a vast difference between keeping my engine running and allowing myself a true stop moment. I don’t need any fancy high tech solutions to do this, simply a willingness to stop and feel.

With enormous thanks to Serge Benhayon who has introduced the Gentle Breath Meditation and Esoteric Yoga, both which have been a huge support to me in stopping and connecting to my body in stillness.

By Jane Torvaney, Chartered Physiotherapist, Tayport, Fife, Scotland

Related Reading:
Using The Gentle Breath Meditation To Connect
Control or Connection: It’s a Choice

1,247 thoughts on “Choosing Stop Moments in My Life

  1. Esoteric Yoga has been great in showing me the difference between a false and true stop. If physically I am still but mentally buzzing I haven’t truly stopped. The stops experienced in Esoteric Yoga have set the standard and those moments are beautiful.

  2. Of late I have not been well, and have needed to stop and rest while my body does its healing. Yet what I have found is that although I am resting, I truly don’t realise just how busy I still am within me. Thank you Jane for expressing so clearly how we can trick ourselves into the deceptions of lack of awareness of what is truly going on within our bodies.

  3. “I chose to bring regular loving stops into my day.” I really needed to read this again today and come to a more honest point about why I don’t stop and allow true rest for myself, as when I do I’m truly feeling my body and then being asked through my awareness of where I am at to be more responsible. It’s a strange but reoccurring theme to not want to be with myself, part of it is also to simply not feel things by being in a busy state or overactive on any level, and often these are things I think I’m not equipped to deal with, or have triggered trauma, fear or other reactions.

  4. Jane you have highlighted the false “stops” we make which aren’t truly honouring or restful, they are perhaps just a lesser version of the momentum we have been in, but don’t offer the true and deep rest and communication with our body. Without that true connection to ourselves we can’t make a change in our day, because we are avoiding the honesty we need to come to from what the body is truthfully showing us about our choices. I appreciate all the reminders here, a great blog, thanks Jane.

  5. “It took me a little while to trust that when the engine stopped it would simply start again once I lifted my foot off the brake” – this made me smile as this reminds me how I sometimes go into anxiety about a possibility of never waking again when I go to sleep. And the worst part is feeling that I am not in control.

  6. Stopping the car will never be the same again, so thank you Jane, as when I feel the opportunity to feel myself go into repose-full stillness why not take advantage of the situation when ever I am stopped. Allowing more stillness in the day can only be a blessing!

  7. Stopping to feel the body can indeed be hard to do for various reasons as you have shared here Jane, but is well worth it in terms of true connection and self care: “It might not always be what I would like to feel but with a willingness to stop and be honest about what I feel, I get a deeper awareness of my body and thus a deeper understanding of myself in that moment, and it is that which I take forward to my next moment.”

  8. Thank you Jane, this is a great reminder to honour the body in the stop moment. It is a classic scenario for us to feel that we ‘should’ keep working and powering away on our jobs when in fact the body is signalling the opposite. We often lose trust that we won’t have time to do what we had planned if we stop to rest for a moment, but if we were to trust the body and rest we would actually be surprised at how much more efficient we then are afterwards, and how we are more clear on prioritizing things.

  9. This blog is a great reminder that it’s okay to stop, we live in such a fast paced world now that no one seems to have time to stop and we are kidding ourselves if we think this is not having an effect on our bodies. We only need to look at the rates of illness and disease to understand that something is wrong with the way we are living.

  10. Jane a very needed reminder for our bodies and the way most of us are living – often without any stop or pause. A stop or a pause should have the same quality in our lives as working and doing so that our being can come more to the surface.

  11. Stillness is a very undervalued commodity. It would be wonderful to be rich in stillness because then we would know, very clearly, what was needed next and if we were the person to do it.

    1. Lucy, this is a super valid point. So often I rush into doing things that need to be done without stopping first to see if this is indeed something that is truly needed as a priority, but more importantly if this is indeed something for me to do or not. By doing things that are not actually for me to do, I get easily and quickly over extended and this then exhausts me so much more over a short period of time. The stop would allow me to feel and discern where it is for me to take action rather than thoughtlessly going on auto pilot to get things done.

      1. Well said Henrietta, if we just consider a pause before we jump in, we can discern if we are over-extending ourselves, if there is any identification in what we are about to do. It would address the exhaustion we have come to consider as our normal.

  12. This analogy of the car you drove and your body is so very practical Jane, and totally dispels the belief so many of us live with, that we don’t have the time to stop and be with ourselves, even for a few seconds. I have learnt, as you have, that it only takes short stop, maybe 30-60 seconds to offer our precious body the opportunity to rest, and the more times we do this in a day, the less tired we are sure to be at day’s end, and therefore, the deeper quality we bring to our sleep.

  13. Having a stop in my day, or some regular stops is something I could certainly do more of. I particularly resonate with the ‘having a bath’ example here – which I do most mornings but could be even more of an opportunity to just be in the stop moment it presents.

  14. “What I found was that I was tricking myself into thinking I was resting when I wasn’t” – I can relate to this. My body might be laid down but my mind is still running 100mph. “It might not always be what I would like to feel but with a willingness to stop and be honest about what I feel, I get a deeper awareness of my body and thus a deeper understanding of myself in that moment” – this is so important to remember, and that resting is not a complete shut-down just for the sake of it, it is a moment to gather and rejuvenate.

  15. Whenever we run our body on empty something has to give for us to stop it could be anything from a sprained ankle to a bump in the car, and then we have a choice to carry on or make other choices that allow us to be more considerate of ourselves and more aware of what we are doing.

    1. I can so relate to living ‘on empty’ and then wonder why I would be brought to a stop, often very uncomfortably. But once the stop was over, I returned to living (existing) exactly the same way as before, and then it wouldn’t be long before I was wondering, why I had been stopped once more. What a disregarding way to live that was, but it is a way that so many live as well. No wonder exhaustion is now the biggest plague in the world; we are simply not stopping.

      1. Is this because if we did stop we would all get to feel just how exhausted we all are and that the life we are living is not it? We know it’s not it deep down but is it possible we don’t know how to get off the tread mill? There are thousands of reasons for staying on it and pretending life is okay as long as we just keep going, dogging the bullet of ill health.

      2. Ingrid thank you for your honest comment, I can relate. We are like spinning tops that just don’t rest, not even in sleep, as there is still a momentum going from the day – or the morning to get to. There is so much on offer in every moment and if we truly stop and connect it can be uncomfortable as there is truth there to be felt that may not fit the picture of life we prefer, as well as the honesty of the body to attend to asking us to be real, to listen, and to make changes. Sometimes I can be in doing mode and bump my body or drop something and it’s always a blessing as it stops that “spin” and brings me back to the moment and to my body instead of being in the future or stressed out in disconnection – and usually over something silly like getting dinner done.

  16. Stopping for a moment to take stock of how we feel gives us a chance to catch ourselves before we override our thoughts and make choices that leave us feeling exhausted by the end of the day.

  17. It is interesting that car manufacturers have developed the engine pause system at a time when humanity is pushing their physical vehicle, their body, in constant drive.

  18. I like the onomatopoeic nature of the word stop which often gives me a moment of STOP just to read it – can be as simple as that.

  19. I used to hate waiting and standing in queues but now more often than not these days I take them as lovely moments to stop and enjoy being with myself and my stillness.

    1. I often notice that when I join a queue others can be agitated but if I settle within myself others settle too – it is a joy and responsibility to see how deeply we all affect each other whether aware of it or not.

  20. Great article Jane on stop moments, recently I felt ill for a few days with a head cold which caused me to rest, what I realised from that experience was that I really don’t know how to rest, I think I am stopping when i decide to take a stop moment but mostly my mind is quite busy or I feel checked out, avoiding what my body is wanting to show me, no more games, time to truly stop and feel all there is to feel within my body.

    1. I have experienced the same Jill, in my case I was avoiding seeing what I was truly doing which was pushing myself, so the stop from the illness allowed me to truly feel with honesty how I had been living, and the pause from the bed rest gave me the opportunity to reflect and then choose a different and more self supportive direction, not perfectly, but a very healing opportunity. It’s so much better to embrace illness in this way, rather than see it as an inconvenience to push through or resist.

  21. Just as we can lie down to stop and yet still be racy and moving in our thoughts so we are not really stopping at all, so too can we move in utter stillness. Stillness is a quality that graces us, the planet and everyone else.

  22. This is a beautiful reminder for me to take regular stop moments throughout my day. Even when I am not very busy with work, I seem to make excuses to not stop and check in with my body. I understand it is very supportive to reconnect to stillness and allow our body to be nurtured and regenerate no matter how busy we are.

  23. Great point exposing how we think we stop but we don’t really, the engine is still running at the same pace even though we have stopped still for a moment. And for the invitation to truly stop – even for a minute.

    1. I am learning so much from what you’ve shared Sarah, our stop moments are not just about physically stopping, it is about reconnecting to stillness and allowing our entire body to register the stillness that is already there waiting for us to connect to.

  24. Stories like this are such a great reminder that we are being offered lessons in every moment of the day and often in the most unlikely of ways. This lesson certainly has had a huge impact on the way you live Jane and your sharing of it has now inspired me to take a very honest look at how I am when I have a stop moment. Am I truly stopped or is there a commentary running in my head, and through my body, as to what just happened or to what comes next? Another life lesson truly appreciated and now being lived.

  25. Thank you Jane, your wise blog has actually given me the idea to use my time stopping at traffic lights to take a moment to stop the momentum of my thoughts, so I can recalibrate and begin again so to speak. And as I start to do this I am sure other opportunities for stop moments in my days will start to come to light too.

  26. I, too, had a similar experience with a hire car though I did not make the connection to my life as you had. However, the importance of making times to truly stop rather than just moments of ‘keeping one’s engine running’ is very significant as the difference between the two is world’s apart.

  27. Imagine getting a massive upgrade in our bodies! It would take a little while to understand how it works, that it might know when to rest, when to lie down, it might be able to offer us a different perspective to the momentum we have lived to that point as our normal.

  28. Jane, reading your blog is a reflection for me to check in and see if my stop moments are truly stops, in order to create a space for me to feel my essence, during the external momentum of my day, or am I just shifting gears in these moments to indulge in the internal momentum of what my mind is feeding me. In future, I will check my intention more deeply when I a choose to take a stop moment.

  29. Thank you for writing this Jane. I have a car that stops at the lights but I usually override this function as I feel it slows down my reaction time… hmm what a reflection! An absolute mirror of the way I live my life. I am going to change the way I drive and appreciate the stops.

  30. It makes sense to take some moments during the day to stop and re-charge our batteries. I find that as I travel from house to house to visit my clients, I often take ten minutes to do the Gentle Breath Meditation and find that at the end of a long and busy day I am not exhausted but If I can’t be bothered I will feel miserable and can’t wait to get home.

  31. Jane, you’ve reminded me how important it is to STOP. Like your hired car, it fully stops the engine to conserve fuel and this to me is a sign our body needs to do the same. It makes sense to have these regular stop moments throughout our day. Also, the quality of these stop moments affects our level of vitality and allows us to connect to our body and connect to how we feel.

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