Learning to Pause

Between Stimulus and Response there is a Space. In that Space is our power to choose our Response. In our response lies our growth and our Freedom.
— Viktor Frankl

In July I lead my two annual summer retreats at Kripalu titled on Learning To Pause.

In the Pause, the space, lies our growth and our freedom.

But for most of us, Pausing is a super human skill.

In my 25 years of practicing and teaching, I have rarely met some one who doesn't agree, that pausing - to slow down on purpose, take a breath, to land, to pay attention, to not react habitually - is a needed but seemingly very difficult skill to cultivate. Most all my students share that they feel as if they are racing around all the time, busy keeping up with life, struggling to complete a long list of things to do, working to make sure that everything will be "okay". 

The thing is, the more we run around trying to keep up like this, the more we grow neurologically and physiologically wired to continue all the running around. That is of course, until we just drop. In fact, I have dropped a few times myself. My practice has helped me recover from injuries, illness, and grief. Helped me better understand my challenging relationships and become closer to the people who are important to me.

And, the more I learned through my own experience and through study about how our bodies work, how our minds work, and how stress is at the root of so much of our fatigue, burnout, anxiety, addiction, and illness, the more I’ve been able to organically incorporate that information into my practice and teaching.

And through teaching this practice, I’ve discovered a number of things. Namely:

  • Most of us are used to living life as a series of reactions to what’s going on around us.
  • Most of us feel stressed and overwhelmed much of the time.
  • Most of us live with tension in our body that is wreaking havoc on our health.
  • Most of us suffer from anxiety and don’t know why it arises.
  • Most of us carry around powerful emotional narratives—the “stories” we tell ourselves about our undigested pain—and we’re not sure how to heal those hurts from the past.
  • Most of us don’t understand how to change the habits that keep us stuck.
  • And most of us don’t know how to be gentle, kind, and compassionate with ourselves—the conditions that allow us to evolve.
  • But the truth is, stress is not really the problem. The problem is that we need to respond differently—not only to stress but to anything that makes us uncomfortable. And most of us have no idea how to do that.

Deep Listening is the habit of paying close and tender attention to our body, our mind, and our heart so we can meet our “stress” differently. This type of attention provides us with more resources and a greater capacity—physically, mentally, emotionally, and relationally—to respond calmly, clearly, and wisely, and also to engage more fully and expansively in our life.

In my new book, Deep Listening I share techniques and tools that focus on experiencing our connectedness. This feeling of connection not only changes the way we respond to stress, it actually leaves us feeling less stressed, increases the amount of joy in our life, and sets the conditions for us to evolve.

That might sound like a big promise, but it’s not. We’re designed to feel deep connections. And I am excited to show you how in Deep Listening in October. In fact, if you Pre-Order now you will receive 2 Audio Meditations and a Video Practice to help you begin your Deep Listening program today.