Pause and Consider

Are you ever faced with a situation where there are a lot of factors to be considered or a quick decision needs to be made or there is heightened emotional feelings involved?

I find when that happens to me it’s very difficult not to get caught up and lose valuable perspective. It’s so easy to slip into worry, concern, or partial paralysis. To kind of stop dead in your tracks, like the proverbial deer in the headlights.

One of these situations occurred while my wife and I were on vacation recently. It wasn’t a huge deal. Nothing earth shaking. But it was troubling to me and under normal circumstances would have sent me into a tiny rage, in this case, directed at me.

Although we had plenty of time to pack for our trip and I didn’t leave anything to the end, nevertheless, I forgot to bring my backup prescription sunglasses. They’re the ones I wear when I swim in the ocean. I’m not going to risk my regular pair, so always include this backup pair, while packing.

Except, I didn’t.

Like I said, I’d normally freak out, wondering how I was going to be out in the sun and warm ocean while worrying I’d lose my only pair of glasses, which I need to drive.

But instead of freaking out, I was calm. I paused and sat considering my options. Obviously going back home for them was out of the question, so what could I do. I breathed in and out slowly, leaning into my sense of calmness. An answer came quickly.

I could go to the store and buy a reasonably inexpensive pair of sunglasses to use. Sure, they wouldn’t be prescription, but I could live with that. They would protect my eyes and I had a band that would keep them on my head. Even if they fell off, I could always buy another pair.

As I said, this isn’t a big deal, but I was very happy that I’d found a workable solution, had remained calm and had taken advantage of pausing to consider, rather than losing my composure and ranting.

I might have been tempted to move quickly on with my vacation life, but it felt there was something quite special about this event. I wanted to savor it and see if it had something to say to me that would be helpful for my future. So, I paused again and considered.

Sitting peacefully inside this situation felt promising and the reward was almost immediate. What if I applied this same ‘pause and consider’ practice to other situations and events in my life?

How beneficial could that be?

My answer was and is, very beneficial.

Being able to avoid my tendency toward some knee-jerk reactions gives me a sense of freedom and hope. I can use this one experience to build on and perhaps see it as a pattern I can repeat. Because it worked so well the first time, it provides me a framework to use over and over again in the future.

A curious question came to my mind…I wondered how long I’d have to wait for my next opportunity?

Silly question really, because since the sunglasses affair happened, there has been a constant stream of ‘practice sessions’ lining themselves up in my life, offering me opportunities to test out my new idea.

I’d like to say I’ve been gracefully able to pause and consider each time successfully, but since I’m still human, it hasn’t worked out that way. I still need more practice.

What has happened is I feel a new groove forming, laid by the foundation of that one singular event. A groove that will get stronger the more times I use it.

It’s interesting to me to consider, that had I not forgotten my backup sunglasses, I might not have learned a new skill that will benefit me for years to come. Very interesting indeed.

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