The 3-Breath Pause

It's an interesting human habit: when we most need a pause—a little room to breathe—we're hesitant to take it; we keep pushing forward in a haze of busyness and distraction. A cycle that's magnified during the holidays, as we're encouraged to celebrate, spend, and consume. Yet what we really crave is space, ease, and connection.

If you're reading this post, some part of you already knows what you need. This is our deeper awareness calling us back. When I'm lost in busyness, moving too quickly, there's a voice inside me (kinder and gentler than my pushy inner-critic) that says, "Slow down. Take a few breaths. Open to possibility." 

I've learned two things about the pause:

1. "Not enough time" is the voice of fear. There's time for a 3-breath pause. 

2. Even if it feels edgy and uncomfortable, a pause resets our system.

The pause works.

One of my mindfulness students confessed, "Joy, when you first talked about a 3-breath pause, I thought the '3' was arbitrary and the idea too simple. But then I started taking these 3-breath pauses and they work. I feel better." In awareness practice, it's not the amount of time that matters most, it's the regularity. Taking breaks throughout the day. Pausing to notice all aspects of our life, in small, ordinary ways. These make a difference. Little bit by little bit we cultivate more mindfulness, compassion, and ease. And we live life more true to ourselves.

There's time for a short pause: Take three intentional, embodied breaths. Or stay longer and listen to this short meditation: