The first Sol Shift Essential we introduce is a Pause. This often looks like a "Mindful Minute" at the beginning of meetings; a time to breathe, reflect, or celebrate before we get down to business. The Pause aligns our spirits with our bodies. It is a bit of refreshment to fuel our work!
Here are six ways you can experiment with Pausing in your day:
Focus on the "in-between" moments. Try a deep breathing practice like the 4-7-8 method. Designed to calm the nervous system, this method directs you to hold your breath for seven seconds in between extended inhales and exhales. Focus on that pause between breaths. Notice the pauses between your thoughts while you are doing this.
Let your ordinary routine lead the way. "I like the pause that tea allows." - Waris Ahluwalia While tea can certainly be ceremonial, pauses don't have to be that formal. Take a gentle moment to pause while your tea steeps and enjoy the warmth of the cup. Close your eyes while you reheat your coffee in the microwave. Stand up, stretch, and take a deep breath after your phone call. Simple, every day motions can become a restorative pause when we do them with intention.
Try a form of meditation. Many people are intimidated by the idea of meditation, so it's important to recognize that this can look a multitude of ways. One easy way to begin is with a Metta Meditation. This is a simple series of loving statements such as "may I be happy, may I be well" that you repeat in an expansive order. Begin by wishing yourself these kindnesses; then wish them toward someone you love; repeat them for other neighbors, co-workers, or people you serve; and finish by wishing them for the world.
Rest your eyes. Tricia Hersey shares this delightful story about her grandmother resting her eyes every day for 30 minutes, even with 15 "wild and crazy children" running around her. When the kids would shush each other so that grandma could take her nap, she'd open her eyes and say, “I'm not sleeping. I’m resting my eyes so I can hear what God is trying to say to me.” If you closed your eyes for a few minutes in the midst of your busy day, where would your attention turn? How might that inform what you do next?
Set Boundaries. Block out time on your calendar during the day. Every day. Block your calendar for two 10 minute or longer windows. This is your time to pause! Be protective of this time. Why block two? Because one might get stolen from you for an emergency (life happens, right?) So you've already prepared to have a second block available.
Put pen to paper. Physically writing down our thoughts produces a mental health burst that the digital age still can't compete with. Consider following Julia Cameron's tips for Morning Pages. Or simply set a 5 minute timer any time of day and let your words flow!
Practice, not Perfection
Pauses give us power. Taking a pause - at the beginning or end of our days, or multiple times in between - is an investment in rest. To pause is to say, "I don't have to rush. I deserve a moment to check in with myself before I take action."
Learning to pause when we need to takes practice! It is an experiment. Pause, rinse, repeat.
Pausing is the one of the Sol Shift Essentials for healthy fundraising. When we pause we have the chance to Listen well (another Sol Shift Essential). Check out our next post Learning to Listen for more tips on how to incorporate various listening practices into your life.