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










800 thoughts on “Those Little Moments of Pause

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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?

  7. 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?

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. “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.

  11. 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.

  12. So true Matts, humanity in the main are not very patient and I know I can be impatient with things that just need handling slowly and gently, even though I am much better than I used to be. So often, taking time and care with things gets you the result, like the gym door, much quicker than if you battle with it and try and rush things anyway. Why don’t we learn to slow down in these circumstances. The gym door is a great example for most likely these are members who presumably have met the door before, did they choose to be aware and learn from the experience? We can all learn from that.

    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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. ‘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 😐

  24. “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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. Taking pause moments throughout our day allows us to observe the energy we are allowing to fuel our body and also to become more aware of the bigger picture we are all part of.

    1. 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 ✨

  29. ‘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.

  30. Great to re-visit this blog Matts and be reminded that there is opportunity to appreciate the moments of a pause prior to every move or action in our daily living way.

    1. And these moments of pause don’t have to be long but it is easy to forget when we are operating in a rush and push. I love these reminders because I tend to forget to take these little precious moments to reconnect and reflect.

  31. I am reminded by your blog Matts that we are in such a rush when we are moving from A to B that we really have little appreciation for the grace offered in those countless moments that exist between A and B.

    1. So with you there Suse. I’m reminded by that in my job where I can be in a rush all day and then when the day is over I relax and then I realise that I’ve been in “rush mode” all day without feeling how I actually feel. I think the medicine here is to wind down and practice being still outside work and then in work checking in with ourselves how we feel during our day if not most moments when we do things.

  32. Loved what you shared Matts especially stopping for a moment with eyes closed before eating, coming back to my body and feeling the preciousness within, magical moments indeed.

  33. A beautiful observation Matts, all those little moments of pause allowing us to deepen our inner connection, rather than allowing us to get frustrated, it is always a choice.

  34. I had not considered that waiting in line at the check out could be a time to deepen my connection with my body and the stillness within.. In fact my time at the supermarket could be so much more steady and graceful, that way I would probably have a lot less in my basket and that of a greater quality too.

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. “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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

  43. 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.

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

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