Mindfulness is not some sort of otherworldly state that is a break from ordinary reality. Life is interaction, and mindfulness is our natural ability to manage the interactions of life. Being mindful simply means being engaged in what we do. It is a state of relaxed alertness, i.e., neither oblivious of what is going on, nor hypervigilant.
In civilized life, we can often get away with being less engaged in what we do. That is, mindless rather than mindful. Disconnected. For instance, when we take a walk in nature, we do not need to be alert to predators or look for food, the way our remote ancestors had to. And so, we daydream as we walk. Until we suddenly realize we have wandered away from the trail, and are jolted into paying attention to what we do.
It takes disruption to stop the disconnection, to shift from mindless autopilot to mindful engagement. But the disruption need not be an unpleasant surprise. We can intentionally disrupt the mindless default mode by taking a pause.
As I pause, I get a sense of who I am & what I want
A mindful pause is an active pause. It is different from what happens when we pause a video. When we resume playing the video, its contents have not been changed by the pause. Not so for us human beings. If you were to resume exactly what you were doing before pausing, you would look robotic.
Pausing is a disruption that makes it possible for us to be mindful. That is, to pay attention to our inner experience in relation to what we are doing.
This kind of contemplation is not divorced from real life. It is how we find motivation and a felt sense of meaning and purpose, moment by moment. In other words, it gives us space to be ourselves.
It also gives us more space for a mindful connection with others. Inner connection and interconnection reinforce each other.
I invite you to join these creative explorations
Don’t just daydream about the possibility of change. Do something about it.
A good first step is to subscribe to the newsletter, where I share with you creative approaches to mindful change. Invite a friend or a small group to join you in a practice group.
On this site, I am offering tools to understand active pause and practice it. This includes articles, practices you can do on your own or with friends, as well as events and courses for the general public and for therapists. Take a look at current events.
The site also provides a larger context: a podcast that has been going on for over 10 years, featuring stimulating conversations with therapists, mindfulness practitioners, and other thoughtful people.
Featured / recent posts
- The DNA Of Change: An experiential process group for therapistsThis process group fosters experiential integration of what you know about yourself and what you know about therapy. It trains you to help clients discover their way forward through an embodied experiential process that flows naturally.
- The DNA of Change: Introduction and Q & A7 video clips (total 37 minutes) about what makes experiential therapy work
- Polyvagal-informed mindfulness: Serge Prengel & Blake O’ConnorHow does the Polyvagal Theory affect our understanding of mindfulness? Blake O’Connor, Education Director of the Polyvagal Institute, interviews Serge Prengel.