A pause is usually an interruption, a break, or a discontinuity. So it is noticeable. But there is another kind of pause, a micro pause, that is totally integrated into the action.
This is something that happens when we touch: We slow down and sense as we approach what we want to touch. This incredible complexity of this approach becomes apparent when we try to teach robotic arms to replicate it.
This is also something we do while talking, when we’re not in mindless, “yakkety yak” mode. The small pauses are so integrated into the pattern of speech that they feel like a natural part of the speech. The speaker may not notice them as such, and others may not notice them either. What we notice is the overall effect, the sense of this being a mindful, thoughtful, way of speaking.
This is something we can practice as an integral part of our everyday life. It takes no special setting, no break from the flow of life. At any point, we can shift to a more “pauseful” mode.
In this 30-second video, Charles Herr describes how the Spanish word “pausadamente” captures the feel of what it is like to be “pauseful”.
There’s a word in the Spanish language that we don’t really have an equivalent for in English. The word is “pausadamente”. It beautifully expresses a quality of taking your time, proceeding with reflectiveness, deliberateness, with a kind of dignity and not taking a pause, but being “pauseful” when we act and speak.
Charles F. Herr, Ph.D., clinical psychologist, retired in 2013 from 18 years at Gouverneur Healthcare in New York City, where he served as director of Psychological Services and director of Internship Training. he is now in part-time private practice. In addition to Focusing, he is extensively involved in the Nonviolent Communication community in New York.
Published July 2017.