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

1,194 thoughts on “Choosing Stop Moments in My Life

  1. I loved what you have shared Jane, I recently drove a friends car with that stop mechanism it took me by surprise at first, I can feel the difference when my stop is true or when i am taking a break but my mind is still wandering. “What I have also come to realise is that each moment I connect to me, I naturally connect to everything and everyone around me.” so simple, thank you.

    1. Julie I agree, it is very beautiful indeed to know that when we deeply connect with ourselves we are connected to the source where we are all one.

  2. I love the point you share here that even though you made time for ‘stop’ moments you still didn’t actually allow your body to drop. I can relate to this, of making time to ‘nurture’ me but not actually stopping and bringing the quality needed and even if I wanted to I couldn’t because there wasn’t enough surrender in my day to be able to truly stop.

  3. The Simple stop moments can be so powerful. Thank you for sharing this with us and yes it does make me consider when do I truly stop and do I take a bath just for me or do I get distracted in the bath – which I do! This has given me a lot to reflect on and look at why there is a momentum in my body to keep pushing on rather than stop completely .

  4. I feel having no expectation of what we want to feel, and being completely honest with what we feel are major key points to stop moments with ourselves. In this we allow ourselves to go deeper and accept where we are at. With acceptance we can bring appreciation which is what stop moments are all about, a time to stop, feel and appreciated that under what ever we are doing, there is still an incredible love that has been moving with us all along.

  5. I love your honesty Jane. In this you offer us the space to be honest with ourselves too and reflect on how often we truly let ourselves stop and feel what’s going on in our bodies.

  6. As soon as I read the title of your blog I realised that I had taken very few stop moments today, so I took one before I read any further. I love how 30 seconds with my eyes closed and breathing gently can bring me back so quickly to me – it often feels like it has been 10 minutes!

  7. Moments where we can stop and reconnect within allow us to be at one in ourselves while the world continues busily around us.

    1. And it’s those moments which create a sense of spaciousness in our lives rather than the overwhelm we feel when we think we have more to do than we can cope with.

  8. This is a great reminder of our ability to fool ourselves into thinking that we are taking time out to stop but in fact never truly resting in the way we deserve to… offering our bodies a moment to truly connect, re-gather and move forward from that connection and not just in a continuation of the momentum we were in.

  9. God I love the honesty of the Universal Medicine student body! It’s so, so refreshing to read articles with this level of transparency and that are just so beautifully real – and enormously helpful. This is truly about grounding a whole other way of living. Thank you one and all.

  10. When we come to the realisation that every moment is precious our purpose in life changes. Purpose takes on a new meaning in that there is purpose in every moment through being present with the body.

  11. My new car is half electric, it fills itself with energy by its driving. The energy returns to itself. This was for me very symbolic as I got the car on the moment I started to feel how in daily life I was more in charge of my energy. Taking moments to re-fill myself by having a walk during work. Being aware of the energies at play when talking with colleagues. To observe life instead of absorbing. A great call to see this reflected in the car I drive.

  12. The more we give ourselves space to stop and feel the more it becomes a way of being and soon there is no stop required but a consistent movement of stillness.

  13. I love this Jane, I can so relate to this trickster within. The one that looks as though it’s in the right but has bypassed the depth where healing is offered.

  14. I can so relate to this kind of stop not being a real stop, and I agree, it is a way to avoid feeling where I am truly at, and that is actually what my body has being asking for so long and I have been going ‘I wish I could’. Even just a minute of letting really go – I will try giving that a go today.

  15. “What I have also come to realise is that each moment I connect to me, I naturally connect to everything and everyone around me.” So true Jane. Building stop moments into my day really supports me – to stay with me – and thus with everyone else too.

    1. Which throws out the idea that stopping and resting for ourselves is in some way selfish. It’s bizarre because when I take time out of my day to rest there is still an underlying feeling of guilt that I carry for not getting on with ‘doing’ or ‘getting everything done’ but the silly thing is the rest gives me the opportunity to connect back to me, to everyone around me and I am then far more focused and efficient in what I’m doing.

  16. Stop, the word that means so much and yet when you truly do it, how supportive it can be. I love that feature in new cars fyi and so it gave me a smile when it was mentioned in this article. I can see how we don’t truly stop, we stop compared to going 100 miles an hour and so it’s definitely slower but not necessarily a true stop. Like that car feature you can make no mistake the car stops and I remember the first time I saw it myself it was like it wasn’t coming back on, but it did. Life doesn’t need to stop around us for us to stop, as life always keeps moving and it is from us truly stopping that gives you the space to truly see life.

  17. ‘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.’ I know this well Jane. There is no rest when we allow our minds to take hold with unwanted thoughts, in fact it is the opposite- utterly exhausting, true rest comes when we are present with our bodies and purposeful with our intention to rest.

  18. I have been noticing just how different my day feels when I incorporate stop moments, I feel steadier, more present and life has a natural flow which I can connect to that simply isn’t there when I’m going 100 miles per hour.

  19. Thank you Jane. I can feel how we can so easily fool ourselves in our stops and allow ourselves to be distracted by other things, I laughed (sheeplshly I must admit) when you talked of being interrupted by someone phoning when you had decided to rest … I so know that and in fact if I’m honest I set that up and I welcome the distraction … and then I can get into a drama about the distraction, a great game to avoid simply just feeling me and how I am. And I love your reminder that ‘each moment I connect to me, I naturally connect to everything and everyone around me.’ Connecting to ourselves is part and parcel of connecting to the wider world and universe.

    1. Yes, I actually plan to call people during my stop moments. Its as if the idea of doing absolutely nothing feels alien and uncomfortable.

  20. The quality of rest that we give ourselves does make a huge difference in my experience too. Even if we’re laying down – if our mind is going million miles an hour worrying or planning or over analysing something then our body and being is not getting a rest.

  21. It is the quality of the stop moments we choose that makes the enormous difference to our quality of connection and awareness and the depth of nurturing that we accept for ourselves.

  22. Thank you for sharing the importance of stop moments. It is interesting that in the past I saw a lunch break as an essential time to have food. But now, I have experimented with the difference I feel when I deeply stop and rest. And wow – what a change this is!

  23. This is such a perfect reminder that if we really don’t want to stop, there is possibly something we are trying to avoid. Yep, something that might just be important, and will grow and grow until it makes us stop…like tiredness extending to exhaustion and exhaustion extending to a physical manifestation of illness to force a rest and deal with the exhaustion.

  24. I agree we often fool ourselves that we are resting when we are either still distracting ourselves, or unable to let go of our mobile phones in case we miss something, a great reminder how important true rest is.

    1. It’s bizarre really that we don’t allow ourselves to rest, because we have no issue with being active and on the go. We favour one over the other. I watch birds and animals and they have no issue with balancing their lives with activity and rest. Birds land on my lawn and rest for a short time, sometimes in the sun with their wings splayed, and they simply deeply rest – and they very much enjoy it. My dogs also never resist rest or push themselves – when they need to rest they don’t hold back, they go deeply into it. And then there is the complicated humans that do everything but rest, even if we tick the box of resting by appearance it’s often still not true rest. We are still so far from our natural rhythms that we don’t allow our body it’s necessary daily rest time/s.

  25. Great distinction here Jane between the stops we can make. I often do the first kind of stop, where I do come to a halt, but rarely an absolute full stop. A good reminder that when I take these moments, even if they are only 1 minute, that I come to an absolute stop and be with my body. And I agree, that Gentle Breath meditation and Esoteric Yoga are great tools for that absolute stop.

  26. ‘What I found was that I was tricking myself into thinking I was resting when I wasn’t’.
    I love this, it’s like busting a child tricking the parents they have brushed their teeth. The water was running; time was spent in the bathroom but not true action for care was taken.

  27. I also had this same doubt when my new car became still at a traffic light when I took my foot off the controls, could I trust it to start again? It has been a gentle reflection that by taking moments to be still I can reconnect to myself and whoever may be travelling with me and trust the energy of action to be with me when the light says ‘Go’.

  28. Amazing how everything in life is a reflection we can learn and grow from, even our cars! A moment of true rest is deeply restoring and rejuvenating and allows the energy for the next moment and so on…

  29. I smiled at your comment Jane “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.”” … this is so true and in fact we often fool ourselves that we are taking a rest when we’re not, and in fact in many cases we want to do a cursory check only and not truly feel how we are. There is a level of acceptance and observation needed here to just allow ourselves to be with no push or end result in mind or as a great friend advised me years ago, to just be genuinely curious about how we feel and see what how we want to be from there. You remind me to build in more of those open, stop moments.

    1. I could relate to this also Monica, I realise that even though I can outwardly show my annoyance with having last minute things asked of me, there is a part that likes the distraction it offers. I love this option more, “…to just be genuinely curious about how we feel and see what how we want to be from there.”

  30. It is true Jane, “even a minute is precious when my stop is absolute.’ A few steps or a few in and out breaths taken in commitment to ourselves can be the absolute stop which brings our body and day back into a flow again.

  31. It was great to read this as it made me stop and reflect on how much I keep on going and push through. Often I am exhausted but even in this exhaustion I don’t stop. I keep running when my head hits the pillow and then I wake up feeling drained and like I have run a marathon.

  32. Its great to physically stop all activity and take a few moments to connect with yourself and how you are feeling. When this is not possible, I choose a particular activity where I bring focus to how I am breathing and how I am moving.

  33. This is one of the biggest deception in our modern age, “What I found was that I was tricking myself into thinking I was resting when I wasn’t.”. We think we are resting by watching TV, a movie, reading a book, lying on the lounge looking at Social Media or texting friends or playing a game of cards… but none of this is truly resting the body nor vitalizing it. In truth, and I’m sure if we are honest, and felt our body after doing any of these activities, that we are actually more drained and tired than before we stopped. Same goes if we lie down with no activity with an intention to checkout and not truly rest.

  34. Thank you Jane for highlighting our avoidance of responsibility when we do not want to stop and truly feel the body and where we are at.

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