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










778 thoughts on “Those Little Moments of Pause

  1. My body deeply rest when I allow the space to just be. I can clearly feel how my pulse quieten and my senses open up. From there a completely new way of approach my day opens up.
    Coming back to read this article invited me to appreciate more these stop moments for the potential they have to reclaim the connection with our sensitivity within.

  2. “It’s like there is a world there to experience if we only stop and take notice of it.” When we connect to our inner stillness we realise there is so much more to us than the constant whirl of physical life.

  3. I guess most people are running about, because of the stress we live in , the pressures, demands and complications of everyday life, that is becoming more and more intense, we have lost our way to be still and live in our bodies. That’s no judgement or critique of people, simply an observation, people are really struggling under the intensity of everyday life. Maybe we avoid those moments as we would be more honest about where we are at or what we feel, and want people don’t want to feel the choices they have made are making or what’s really going on for the, or even don’t want to take responsibility for changing them. It can be easier to carry on in the rush and blame life, others for our down falls, how we are feeling etc. It can be challenging, tough and very humbling to feel where we are at, and what’s really going on in our lives and those around us. Sometimes even pretty horrible to feel, but we have the opportunity to change that every moment, without having a mid life crisis, packing our bags, changing jobs, and heading off to the other side of the world, or giving up and saying this just how life is, no sireee, we can change and heal anything, in any given moment we so choose, sometimes it might be a bit mucky and tough, but it’s worth it.

  4. Thank you Matts, what a blessing it is to read this today as we can always deepen our ability, times, places and awareness of how still we are rather than just racing through life to get to our death bed and have missed the opportunity to Truly understand life and reincarnation with the responsibility of how we can live in stillness.

  5. Thank you Matts, you have really exposed the ridiculousness of how we are with our everyday moments, especially when we need to be patient, or simply have a chance to be with ourselves. We seem to want to cram every moment with incessant movement and activity, lest we stop and feel the stillness and wisdom waiting for us to connect to within ourselves.

  6. Matts this is a great blog for discussion on how we race through life, without taking the time to stop and feel.
    I agree with you when you say that there is something magical about stopping to let things just be without any need for action.

  7. This rushing can happen in the subtlest of ways – even in typing comments, whilst thinking of what to be doing next, or the wanting to get the dishes done to get onto the next ‘task’ or so that we can just stop to relax, but then we rush to get to relax which jinxes the whole thing anyways! Funny really to realise what we are caught up in and can actually choose to change any moment.

  8. Matts, thank you for sharing a universal phenomenon that we can all get stuck in – the fact that we do not stop to feel and appreciate. These moments are truly moments allowing us to feel and be with life rather than moments that are designed to upset our day.

  9. This is a great blog to read and I would agree that we are avoiding the stillness that is within waiting to be reconnected to again. I have learnt these last few years that we are governed by a spirit that does not want to feel the stillness of the soul it separated from to have its individual way. So it deliberately races our bodies using what ever method is available to it and for many of us we have no awareness of this science and so are at the mercy of this waywardness.

  10. It is beautiful to read your words and feel how every moment counts and the vastness and richness that is there, always.

  11. Love the gift you give yourself before you start eating – I look forward to giving myself that too and at other times as well. Thank you for the inspiration.

  12. I love meeting people in queues, the other day a lady and I had such a laugh in the queue at the post office, it was really busy with everyone queuing up to post Christmas gifts and cards, normally I would react to this, instead this time I connected with the lady behind me and within moments we were having a giggle together over all sorts of things.

  13. Interesting how we often say we cannot wait for the weekend, holiday etc. to take a break from our everyday life but we actually avoid stopping when it is offered in our every day.

    1. Well said Fumiyo – are we looking at having a break from the way we are with ourselves which is a rush rush rush…? Then the holiday will not change this as we will still be in the energy of rushing. But we do have the choice to change the energy, holiday or no holiday.

  14. It seems like everything is designed to rush, to get ready, to answer quickly, to do, do, do…when in fact we are super sensitive human beings with an infinite space within full of love. Reading this blog today invites me to see closer those moments where I choose to escape instead of feel me, checking the phone or going in to social media to entertain myself…as I could experience yesterday there are choices that makes me racy and over-stimulated, far away from my stillness. All choices to sabotage my natural beauty and sensitivity. Great to look at and I appreciate the awareness that this blog is bringing to me right now.

  15. Reading this is medicine for me today, a timely reminder of the importance of giving ourselves permission to feel. It’s inspiring to see the greatness of this little moments of pause and the revelations that came up for you. Thank you Matts

  16. These moments of pause that are offered to us throughout our day can be magical but if we are running on raciness and in a rush these moments can feel very frustrating, we may become impatience and these moments of pause may only be 1 or 2 seconds but they can feel like ages. When we resists these moments we can also feel huge intense in our body. I have experienced both of the above, and I know which one I would prefer.

  17. Because we make it about something else (e.g., distance), we do not stop to realize that we rush to try to beat someone else to get to the next minute faster, even though we all get there together even if we are slow movers.

  18. I work in a large building and being part of the maintenance department, and I average walking 6k a day. The building has an assess control system with magnetic locks everywhere. There is built in small delay between tapping your card and the door releasing. If you are in a hurry and push the door, you keep it locked and have to start the process over again. My day at work is full of little moments of pause.

    1. Also, when we pay attention to the detail, this would allow us space to notice that the locking system communicates back and a small sound of a click of the lock releasing means it has unlocked the door but when we often forget to stop and listen and pay attention to detail, especially when we are in a rush.

  19. This really turns those moments when we have to stop on its head. I often use traffic lights as my pause, and I know if I’m impatient and annoyed at the lights going red, it’s telling me to take a moment, to pause, and if I can, (sometimes not, but even this tells its own story), I get some time with me, with nothing to do and nowhere to go but wait; and in that space life opens up and I just feel myself – it’s funny really how much we avoid these moments and how much we work very hard to fill up every moment, so time to enjoy the pause, to welcome the pause and allow ourselves to deepen into us.

  20. The little moments of pause are actually built into us, in breath pause out breath pause… Moments of stillness built-in in an integral cycle that reflects to us the universe within and without

  21. We’re impatient, rushy and running everywhere. Perhaps we want to prove ourselves, show the people around us – those who we work with and our family & friends that we can do things quickly and efficiently, that we’re not slow, we can stay on the ball. The rush of that gets spread everywhere and in everything we do, the impatience then grows more and more and before we know it, a second is too long, we are impatient with our friends, family, colleagues and ourselves. This is how we become harder and harder on ourselves, and life gets more and more difficult. What if we realised that being patient or not is not something you’re luckily blessed with, but it’s a characteristic which we can all develop?

  22. I love how the simplest, everyday things, are often presenting the very message we are wanting to hear, but in our impatience to get on with what we are doing we are missing out on the offered wisdom. These days, for me, “those little moments of pause” are huge, priceless moments and instead of running away from them I am welcoming them with open arms. And the more pauses I bring into my day the smoother my day flows; who wouldn’t want that?

  23. Those stop moments are a great door to connect with our grandness while bringing intimacy and depth to our relationship with ourselves and others. Pure gold available to us all in many situations of our daily life.

  24. I agree it does freak us out and get us super agitated when we have nothing to do….the nothing to do is in itself an idea. We have lost the art of being with ourselves in what we do, so we seek to do to occupy us from this destruction of business. When we do get those windows of pause, we attempt to fill it as soon as we can…watch out for smart phones, radio, tv etc they can fill up the pauses, but why….why are wee seek gin to fill them up? What are we avoiding?

    1. Connection, sense, intimacy, awareness, love… Maybe are we avoiding what we most crave? Maybe are we avoiding the understanding and responsibility that comes with it?

      1. Yes to avoiding responsibility for myself and yes to avoiding the vibrational holding of stillness. We are so used to frenetic lives that although we miss the stillness and yet we also are reluctant to surrender to that way of life. Step by step, surrender moment by moment and we deepen in our relationship with it and and being still in how we live and move.

  25. “What if these everyday things are there for us to have a moment of rest, a pause in our otherwise hectic life?” Yes, and we might complain about the business yet never take any of these moments to have a little rest or break from that business and regenerate.

    1. We are constantly offered these moments of pause but it is our busyness that often stops us from seeing these opportunities and appreciate what is offered, so we miss out on the loving support we are constantly blessed with.

  26. I like how these nuisance moments are actually moments of pause. I just missed my train stop so had to go and wait at the next station for a few minutes. Yes it was slightly inconvenient but was the real source of the tension the fact that I was having to wait a bit longer before the next activity started. Reading this blog made me realise it was a moment of pause.

    1. Beautiful quote, thank you. I have been sensing this, in how I breath and how I am with my body, if you allow it, the space is there.

  27. I was at a music video shoot recently. The momentum of the whole project was hugely intensive and disregarding of the body, people stopped eating and sleeping to get this video over and done with. And in the full day shoot, there was a power out in the whole region of that part of China. Everyone in the crew got a moment to close their eyes, to take a nap, to come back to a bit of sensibility with themselves. It was poignant.

    1. There is such a destructive myth about art that we need to push our body to achieve something, to have the genius come through with late nights and physical fatigue. Art comes through honouring our bodies, so that we communicate what we live with grace and clarity.

  28. Sometimes when I have a slow driver in front of me I can feel an urge to get frustrated, and time and time again if I am honestI have, though lately I am bringing more awareness to this energy and instead choosing to see it as a moment to slow down and reflect – Life is full of opportunity – we just have to choose to see it.

  29. Beautiful Matts. We certainly can get caught up in momentums that are driven by our minds which are only fixed on an outcome to deliver a desired needed effect. Yet when we are moving with and in connection to our stillness, and this does not mean slowly, we are always precisely where we need to be and with this quality of movement there is much richness to appreciate, share and enjoy.

  30. Reading this brings a beautiful appreciation and value of the moments we have the pauses of stillness instead of getting irritated and not wanting to so called waste time . I have been finding this so spacious and lovely when this happens since reading this before a great appreciation for the stillness inside me or to return to as I then feel the choice to do so.

  31. Taking a moment even to pause at the end of our in breath, and the end of our out breath offers so much in the way of deepening our connection to ourselves. What this can offer is a deepening surrender to the body, and brings more of a willingness to accept who we are and what life brings our way.

  32. When we have nothing to do, it gives us permission to feel more (in terms of how we feel inside/deep within) and this can freak us out easily (if we are not used to this), hence why it is often easier for us to keep busy and to find things to get frustrated or upset about or to create drama in our day. This is how I used to live and sometimes still get caught up in, but thankfully I have begun to learn how to build a relationship with myself and with this deeper part of myself so that I don’t freak out when I feel it.

    1. Great point about the keeping busy. When you say it like that it seems like the easy form of remedy to many of our problems. We stress, but we stress because we choose to stress. If we actually want to heal for real we could just take these moments to stop and feel and we might feel something quite extraordinaire, at least compared to the stress, and that is stillness in our bodies. It’s like we ask for the solutions for the problems in the world and it might be right there under our noses should we chose to look.

  33. Love what you have shared here Matts, and it is in those moments when we surrender to allowing things to take the time that they take, that we can actually use that as an opportunity to just be and enjoy the moment. This can appear challenging on the outset, but in the end it is actually just a question of us giving ourselves permission to play with this.

  34. What stopping for a moment offers us is a moment to connect more deeply to our bodies: to allow ourselves to feel whatever is there, and through that, the bigger picture and the grandness that we are a part of and connected to.

  35. Could it be we do not like these ‘little moments’ because in those moments we are in present and with ourselves which would therefore mean we do not like being with ourselves? So if we loved ourselves we would love those moments and if we learnt to love those moments perhaps it would help us love ourselves?

    1. Well said Jstewart51! When we have a relationship with self that is supportive and loving, how could you not want to be with you and feel that? But if you have not had a good relationship with self and have been mistreating yourself, then of course you will feel this too when you connect in that moment of quiet, and this can be very confronting to feel. And so each time we are offered an opportunity to keep building a more loving and caring relationship with self and with these ‘moments’.

      1. Yes, and it is in these ‘moments’ we are being offered an opportunity to deepen that connection of love.

    2. I think when we say “being with ourselves” or “being ourselves” it’s important to know that for many of us it was a long time ago we actually felt “ourselves”. I know I felt it a lot when I was little. I could feel the world around me in a great way, as if I was much grander than my actual physical body. My perception of time back then was quite different also. These days I do my best to take the time to just be. Sometimes it seems hard but I know when I really want it it can be there in a split second which proves that it’s right there should I make the true call for it. Which also means we go around perpetuating a version of us that is not our true selves, but that might be the topic for another blog perhaps.

      1. The irony and paradox is that in those ‘little moments’ when we are not wanting to be with ourselves are the actual moments when “in a split second” we can truly be with ourselves.

  36. Beautiful appreciation of these little pause moments Matts. I used to be the person who would rush to the nearest newly opened till but now, I stay where I am and I love to observe what is going on around me while I wait in the queue. I will try next time to use this moment to pause and connect to stillness and see what unfolds around me.

  37. A friend shared with me today that she uses the Our Cycles app for exactly this during the day and how it supports her to pause and reflect on how she is feeling. No wonder it has just won the IMA Outstanding Achievement Award in the ‘Lifestyle’ category ✨

  38. ‘How many times have we rushed to a newly opened till?’ Yes to ask ourselves what are we rushing for with regards to anything in life? This doesn’t mean we have to move like a sloth (no offence to sloth’s!) but we never seem to learn that rushing does not make any difference (I am talking from experience) in fact it actually harms us and others around us, our whole environment. What I initially got from reading your blog is sometimes we don’t have to actually say anything as long as we notice and nominate it to ourselves that is all that it takes. However, when I saw a young person terrorising a coot the other day with his mini speedboat on a lake I had to say something 😐

  39. “It just needs the permission really.” Yes, I so agree, its giving ourselves permission to do / be what feels natural to us. Even though there is something in us that wants to keep going our body loves to stop and settle.

  40. With having recently added a considerable amount of work and travelling to my daily schedule I caught myself back into the ‘pauseless’ motion again, realizing I was already in the next thing to do when the one I was in was not yet completed. By taking a moment to pause and connect to my body I allow myself to come back to the moment I am in and not get into tension and anxiousness about all that is still on the menu for that day or week.

  41. We are in such a strong momentum of being in motion, always slightly ( or a lot) ahead of ourselves and it is like our body needs to catch up with us. Any pause or disruption in the momentum leaves us to feel the way we were moving, if we so choose, but most prefer to ignore it and push through back into motion. No wonder we do not like the wait for every second we are being paused we are placed back into this choice again.

    1. Well expressed Carolien. At the base line it is a choice, however, we have become so caught into the momentum of the body we are actually controlled by to the extent that it is like stopping a super tanker.

      1. yes, this is what we are feeling, the push of our own momentum pushing us forwards and therefore it takes a very conscious choice to at that moment stop. It is like pulling the handbrake on a rolling car, you need to do something to stop the momentum.

  42. It can feel very exposing, disturbing and uncomfortable when we tap into those moments of distraction and running away but when we do give ourselves the space to do so it can have an enormous impact on the way we feel from thereafter. It can be so simple yet the commitment to pause and reflect is very powerful.

  43. ‘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.’ An opportunity to change the quality of our movements, that would be interesting at the gym.

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