Learning to Pause and Be Present

ACTION VERSUS ‘REACTION’

Dr. Beverly NelsonEvery day, we deal with challenges. Some of them might be situations or people who ‘rub us the wrong way’. After all, each person is so different from the next, that it’s hardly a surprise to find ourselves in difficult positions when it comes to interpersonal relationships.

From procedures that are unnecessarily lengthy or complicated; to trying to explain to someone what we need of them; communication is always a key factor. However, sometimes talking and listening just doesn’t cut it. Why? Pick a reason: cultural differences, the transit of the planets, the mood of the persons involved, personality differences, etc. Most of us will react to each response or action from the other person, in a hopeless attempt to get what we want/need. Many times, these situations become big misunderstandings, with a lot of unnecessary drama – and stress!

What do we do when words fail to convey our thoughts and feelings to the other person? Does it mean that we are failing as human beings? Or, is it that the other person is on some personal crusade to make our lives miserable? In most cases, both of these answers are wrong. What if, instead of talking and getting angrier and angrier, we make a pause and take a deep breath? If you are able, ask the other person if you can have a moment. Step out of the stressful situation and analyze it just as if you were watching a movie. What is it that bothers you about the situation, and is it a reasonable cause? Is there anything you can do to remove stress from the moment?

Whenever an awkward or unpleasant situation presents itself, the wisest solution is always positive action, rather than an instinct-triggered reaction. Think about all the anger and time you can spare yourself if you pause to act, rather than ‘jump and react’. When we just react to things, we are not present – we are just acting out of pure emotion, leaving reason out of the picture. This is one of the reasons why I think Chris Spheeris’ upcoming workshop at LifePath, “The Power of Presence”, will be life-changing for many of us. Consciousness and presence are the essential ‘tools’ for a peaceful, creative life. There is no room for creativity and enlightenment if we go through life merely reacting to everything and everyone.

Have you ever paused to act when facing conflict? Or, how do you usually handle stressful situations that involve communication? Drop me a line at docbeverly@aol.com.

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