Breath in. Pause. Breath out. Pause. Breath in. Pause. Breath out. Pause. We can learn a lot from our breath in how to practice pausing. There is a natural pause between our inhales and exhales. It is within those pauses that we can slow down and assess what actions are going to be best for us in any moment. Often when a craving for food comes on, we immediately go and grab that food. If we practiced pausing between the craving arising and reaction to it, we can begin to explore why is this craving here? What is it here to teach you? What is emotionally present in that moment? What do we believe we will receive by eating that food? Is there anything else that would provide us with the emotions and sensations we are looking to cultivate?
Without these pauses between reaction and action, we miss the opportunity to ask these important questions. Curiosity is our ally when we are unsure of how to respond. Simply saying, “I’m not sure” can be powerful to bring us back to the present moment and infuse trust within ourselves that we will do the best we can to nourish our body with the awareness we have in any moment. Pausing allows us to step into the unknown. When we stop trying to change how we are experiencing any moment is when we often find what we are looking for.
Wayne Dyer told a story about two cats:
There was an old wise cat and a small kitten in an alleyway. The old cat saw the kitten chasing its tail and asked, “Why are you chasing your tail?”
To it the kitten replied, “I’ve been attending cat philosophy school and I have learned that the most important thing for a cat is happiness, and that happiness is my tail. Therefore, I am chasing it: and when I catch it, I shall have happiness forever.”
Laughing, the wise old cat replied, “As I’ve gone through life, I too have realized that the most important thing for a cat is happiness, and indeed that it is located in my tail. The difference I’ve found though is that whenever I chase after it, it keeps running away from me, but when I go about my business and live my life, it just seems to follow after me wherever I go.”
The answers to all of our questions and cravings reside within yourself. Finding moments of stillness allows us to to tune back in to the wisdom our body is holding on and gives us space to show up for ourselves differently. Stepping outside of our habitual patterns can feel scary at first. Be gentle with yourself in this space. The more pauses you take, the more you step outside of your comfort zones, the less tail chasing that occurs, the more we can learn from each moment exactly the way that it is.