I had a huge lesson about the power of pause a few months ago, and from a garage door of all things: definitely not your normal classroom situation.
A few weeks before I had read a most wonderful blog about ‘Those little Moments of Pause’ and as a result had made a commitment to bring more of these moments, which I was coming to appreciate as being very valuable, into my everyday life. Previous to this I had been one who often used to get to the end of the day only to realise that I hadn’t had a moment of pause in any shape or form, from the moment I got out of bed in the morning to when I placed my very frazzled head on the pillow that night. I also had begun to identify that the days that I didn’t take moments to stop, to pause whatever I was doing, led to nights where I struggled to go to sleep, or I would wake up after a few hours and not be able to return to sleep. This was a very important realisation indeed.
So, to set the scene. My garage is about 80m from my house and in the morning after walking down the path, I would arrive at the garage door ready to head to work, handbag over my shoulder and my bag containing my lunch and other necessities in one hand and maybe a coat as well. On other occasions there would be a lot less baggage but I was still carrying the same feeling as I pressed the button to open the door: “Let’s get this door up and get going as fast as possible!”
Fuelled by this feeling, when I pressed the button I would feel my impatience rise as the door always seemed to rise very slowly, so more often than not when it was about half way up I would find myself bending down to get under it: definitely not a comfortable or honouring move for my body, with my bags usually going in all directions.
But this particular morning with the words of that blog in my mind I decided to press the button and take a moment to pause, close my eyes and check in with my body.
Even though I felt that I had not rushed to get ready by giving myself plenty of time, what I felt in my body surprised me. My shoulders were up higher than they are supposed to be, my hand holding the bag was clenched tightly, my jaw felt a little tight and my breath wasn’t flowing as easily as I know it could have been. Not a great state in which to get into my car and begin to drive. As I stood there, which felt like a very long time, but which turned out to be only 15 seconds, I could feel the old urge to bend down and get moving to my car, but I was determined to resist the temptation, and I did.
When I heard the door stop I opened my eyes. For a moment I didn’t want to move as I had connected to a most gorgeous feeling of stillness and I didn’t want this to end. With this exquisite feeling throughout my body, the next step I chose to take was in this stillness so when I got to the car door I realised that I was going to get into the car in a very different energy than usual; and I sure did. Every movement felt so gentle as I went through my usual preparation for driving, taking the time to adjust my seat, my mirror and how I was sitting, moves that were all supported by how I was feeling.
I then backed my car out of the garage and stopped to close the garage door with the control in my car. I drove away with the loveliest feeling in my body, a feeling that I know kept on flowing into my day and to everyone I connected with.
It didn’t take any effort at all to continue this beautiful new morning ritual, and so on the third day I felt to add another element. I decided not to drive away until the door had gone down. So, I backed out, stopped, pressed the remote, closed my eyes and another 15 seconds later the door was down. I was feeling so still and so connected to myself as I drove out of the driveway – it felt amazing.
As I drove off I could feel how taking that pause had changed the way I began my work day, or any other day for that matter; how there was no rush in my body, no tension and all from two pauses of 15 seconds that took up a whole 30 seconds of my day. And to think that previously I considered that I didn’t have the time to wait that long! So, it got me to contemplating on how many other areas of my life I have the same “I don’t have time” attitude – and I discovered quite a few. Now they too are a wonderful work in progress and becoming easier the more I commit to my precious stop moments.
And what a valuable 30 seconds this has continued to be with the garage door opening ritual becoming firmly settled into my way of living and offering me such a precious moment in time at least once a day to pause and connect to me. These moments of pause have now very naturally flowed into other areas of my life: when I am waiting for my computer to ‘wake up,’ the traffic light to go green, the kettle to boil – in fact in any moment there is the opportunity to pause and, in that moment, I am offering myself the wisdom of a very valuable lesson – from a garage door.
By Ingrid Ward, West Auckland, New Zealand