Step 3 of the Proactive 12 Steps
Pausing is how I do this, moment by moment.
Step 3, above, is part of the Beta version of the 4th edition of the Proactive 12 Steps. A video commentary on each step has been released over the past few months. Now is the time to share with us your feedback on the commentary:
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- What would you add or change?
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Now you have kind of an idea of what we're doing. You have an intention to be more present moment by moment, more mindful, more aware of how we feel, so that you can be more connected to that inner power. But the intention alone is not enough, because you have a lifetime of habit to act, to react the way you have been.
So, there's something that needs to change. That something, in order to change it, you have to have a plan. It has to be something simple enough that you're able to do it time and again, until it becomes second nature.
Fortunately, there is something very simple that you can do. And it's simply to take a pause.
A pause is what enables you to just give yourself a moment. It can be just a fraction of a second. It can be a few seconds. It's not very long. But in that moment, you stop in your track and say, "Oh. Hmm. How do I feel right now?" Or, "Hmm. Okay. So, what's the situation actually like?" It's reconsidering, giving yourself a chance to stop your default mode, get off the path that you have beaten time and again, in order to have a fresh look at the situation.
The world is full of metaphors for that. Just think, for instance, about the idea, the concept, of thinking out of the box. Being in a box means being trapped by the four walls of the box and all you see are the four walls of the box. Then, you're stuck, you're, "Hey, hey, hey, how do I get out of here?" All you do is that.
The pause is... You take a few seconds: "Oh." You allow the possibility of seeing things differently. So, sometimes it's big ideas, sometimes just very simple. Like, for instance, you're talking, talking... and you're not even aware of what you're saying. Then you just think, "Hmm." Then you give yourself that second to hear yourself think. You say, "Oh, actually, you know ..." And you notice that something else maybe has come up. Or, instead of being in that monotone, machine like ta-da-da-da-da... your voice has a different quality, as you start again, that's more thoughtful, more slowly.
That's what we're talking about. That's the tool. That's what allows you to make the transition from automatic mode, from reactivity, to being connected to your inner power. That inner power is not some kind of a mystical quality. It's simply the ability to use basically your equipment. To use your mindful brain in order to see where you really are. In order to be able to see the fork in the road, and not necessarily go the way that you usually do. But you can say, "Why don't I maybe try this?"
With that simple practice, new possibilities open up. Not all of them are going to be perfect. You have always been going here, it doesn't mean you now always have to go there. Sometimes you're going to go there, and you'll discover that actually, it makes more sense to keep going here. So it's okay. This is not about doing systematically the opposite of what you've been doing. It's simply giving yourself a chance to see alternatives. That's what the pause is.