Those Little Moments of Pause

I’m at the gym – again. And I’m on the treadmill – again. Behind me I hear the yanking of the front door over and over and I have to keep myself from not getting too frustrated. You see, at my gym there are one of those doors where you need to hold your membership card against a card reader. The system usually needs about one second, which I think is quite fair, to get the door to open, but today it seems like that is way too slow for many. It’s usually too slow most days but today it seems to be particularly so. I notice that I have to really keep myself from running over and explaining that the poor door needs some time to do the job, but I stay on my moving belt.

This made me wonder why we have such a rush in some situations even though the actual event might just take a few minutes, or in this case a few seconds. It’s almost as if we loathe being there and we just want to get it over with as soon as possible.

It’s the same thing when you’re standing queuing at the supermarket. How many times have we rushed to a newly opened till? We just want that whole situation to be done and dusted as soon as possible. It’s quite funny actually and I got to observe it again today, no coincidence perhaps. Two queues and people getting slightly restless, asking the staff to open up another register.

What is it about these small moments? What is it about queuing, for example, that we don’t like? Why do we want it to take as short time as possible? Could it be that we are given a moment to just be? Because you cannot really do much when you stand in line can you? You could pick up some candy that is conveniently placed there that you hadn’t intended to buy, or maybe promised yourself… You can read the headlines of the magazines, but apart from that there isn’t much to do. Unless you find a friendly person to chat with, but that is quite rare. Not that it’s short of amazing people but usually we tend to not chat too much, not in Sweden anyways. Well, I do, but that’s another story.

So could it be that we are left with nothing to do and that freaks us out?

For example, have you ever felt the need to look at your phone even though you checked it 30 seconds ago? And the chance that someone has messaged meantime is quite slim?

What are we avoiding here? Is it to just be with ourselves?

I feel this is something we could explore a bit. Why do we feel that need to go on the internet, check our phone, get stressed at the checkout or from opening a door that needs one slim second more to open itself up?

What if we were to stop for a wee moment and just feel what is going on? We then might get a chance to feel something different, which could actually be the opportunity for stillness. Something that seems to be something we run a million miles away from, even though we cannot really run away since it’s part of us – it’s within us – and it cannot and will not ever leave. But we can run from it by being busy all of the time or by eating things that make us racy.

I know when I give myself the space to just stop for a moment it’s absolutely beautiful, and the way I see, feel and experience life can change in a few seconds.

It’s like there is a world there to experience if we only stop and take notice of it.

I do that sometimes when I am about to eat. I just sit for a moment with my eyes closed and breathe with a steady breath with the sole intent of giving myself a few seconds of me time. There seems to be something magical about this and it’s like the action itself is not what makes it all happen but the intent itself, and the allowance of what is already there to be let out, or given room. It just needs the permission really. I can assure you it is a very beautiful thing and it’s totally worth it.

And all these beautiful realisations came to me from a front door that wouldn’t open straight away and a queue at the supermarket. What if these everyday things are there for us to have a moment of rest, a pause in our otherwise hectic life? Then we could see it as a blessing we get for free, instead of seeing it as a nuisance.

By Matts Josefsson, Student of Behavioural Science, Sweden

Related Reading:
Appreciating the Stillness Within and Sound Around Me










731 thoughts on “Those Little Moments of Pause

  1. I realised recently that I was looking down a microscope at life, which consisted of the self. When I lifted my head from the microscope I was able to see that there was so much more to see and understand. We can get so caught up in our own little worlds that we do not see the enormity of life and what is really there on offer.

  2. The power of a pause, I have come to know, is able to change the way my day is heading. Taking these precious moments for me, and they don’t have to be long, can be the difference between a day that unfolds gently and with space for all I have to complete, or a day that ends with me feeling frazzled and probably utterly exhausted but unable to go to sleep. I know which kind of day I prefer.

    1. I agree Ingrid, yesterday I took a few moments in my sofa to just lay down and be with myself, That changed quite a bit in how I felt afterwards. So it doesn’t have to be something big, it just takes the commitment to connect and then you feel the support of that choice.

  3. “We then might get a chance to feel something different, which could actually be the opportunity for stillness”. – This statement brings a whole other level of purpose to all those moments of ‘down time’ in between other activities or actions in our lives (like the grocery check-out line) so as to help us let go of the negative value we have given these moments in the drive to stay busy and ‘look productive’ to other people and ourselves.

  4. Matts, it seems that by you being present enough in your body to feel what was going on at the front door of the gym has symbolically opened another door of awareness for you, further confirming the fact that conscious presence brings greater understanding of ourselves and the world through our bodies intelligence.

  5. Everyone in my building got a surprising opportunity to just stop this afternoon when they power went off. I could feel I was racing to get some jobs done before I was meant to leave work and mostly everyone else was also highly focused in what they were doing. When the power went off, it was like everyone could breathe and put their heads up and look around. The first thing some of us did was to stand at the windows together looking at the incredible view and talk. It was amazing to see everyone relax and open up more… then we had to walk down 25 flights of stairs… but the stand out for me was that we can give ourselves that stop moment and space anytime during the day and not need something outside of us to force us to stop and look up.

  6. What you’ve offered here is a moment to stop and reflect: why is it that we get so stressed when life isn’t moving as quickly as we want it to? What is it that we’re avoiding and not wanting to feel: the raciness, stress and tension that we haven’t been dealing with, so we add more of it? Learning to let go, to just stop and be okay without being constantly on the move is something we’re just not used to doing much these days, because usually when those moments do appear we look at our phones – a never-ending source of distraction. What might happen, and how might we deepen our relationships with ourselves and others if we used these gaps as opportunities to appreciate, and to feel more deeply, instead of windows to check out and seek relief/distraction in?

    1. And the thing is also that these moments is not a constant but the next moment is offering a deeper level of stillness and so it continues, and I guess this is what evolution is about, for us to return to our divine origin.

  7. When we experience those moments of stillness in our body that are there at the top and the bottom of each in breath and out breath, we realised that stillness is inherent in our body.

  8. Love what you have shared Matts, when we take these stop moments they are like gold, connecting us to the stillness of who we truly are.

  9. The day is, full of those magic moments where we can enjoy the stillness in the space out of time that can last as long as we need. The stops have always been there, but we so often chose not to appreciate what they offer us.

  10. Such an awesome blog, thank you Matts. What you share I can really relate to, and I can also feel all the little stop moments on offer. Sometimes I take them and it is as you say Matts, very beautiful, and other times I will override and ‘push on’….its great to simply raise more awareness around this.

  11. This makes me realise how I react to situations/things with frustration, wishing how it should be different – faster, slower, more this or less that, and my body gets pushed or hardened in order to get closer to the image of how I think it should be, and it is very possible that I am missing out on what the moment actually has to offer.

  12. When we stop and take a moment to connect with ourselves, all the dramas, struggles and issues so called get exposed as mere indulgence and we are left with no choice but to get on with life.

  13. I have been experiencing the beauty of space and the richness of the depth of this through simply pausing and reconnecting to the body and the sense of space that is naturally there. This movement brings a kind a foundational bass note to the spectrum of feeling felt and the potential sensed.

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