There’s Power In The Pause

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Yesterday, I looked through my old photos and found an old piece of writing:

It reads: There’s a specific place to be at every moment in time. A time to celebrate, a time to grief, a time to love, and…a time to breathe. As you look out into the great wide expanse which is your future, don’t fear its treacherous, unpredictable nature. Instead, stop for a while to take in its beauty and openness. Hold on to the possibilities like a child clutching onto a Christmas present. Revel in the moment…the gentle breeze, the rhythmic sounds of waves crashing, the feel of the soft yet grainy sand against your fingers…Be comforted by the overlapping of cool water on your toes which invites you to delve deeper…yet…don’t feel like you have to get up and respond to its invitation immediately. Don’t forget to look back at the footsteps in the sand and remember steps you took to get to where you are. The baby ones you took in fear and fell, the ones you took in leaps and bounds…All of which brought you one step closer to your dreams….This is your moment. Your life. Your place in time. Remember the ones who love you. Yet don’t be afraid to be on your own…Who says you have to know where you’re going in life?

Out of all the years I was in school, there was one piece of feedback that stood out to me the most. It was a monologue exam in college and my drama teacher commented after my performance “I found that the most powerful moments were the parts where you paused.”

Yes indeed. In an exam where I was meant to be graded on talking, he liked the parts where I didn’t talk. Either I was that bad with public speaking, or I delivered such a profound performance that I conveyed emotions even when I didn’t speak. I’d like to think it was the latter.

What is it about pausing that is so powerful? It has the ability to make people feel uncomfortable and uneasy. It can make people nod their heads and go “Uh-huh” or “Amen!”. It can help drive home a point. It can touch your heart and move your soul. It can cause your thoughts to race. It can make you laugh. It can make you cry.

Even in life, there is power in the pause. Why do many of us feel so guilty when we pause? Admitting that we don’t know where we’re going in life has been deemed a bad or weak thing in our society. Taking a gap year is almost unheard of in Asian societies. Why is it so wrong to take a break? I think it’s perfectly normal to need to stop a moment. In fact, everyone SHOULD rest every now and then to avoid becoming jaded with life. We NEED the pauses give ourselves time to reflect and reevaluate. It only becomes a bad thing if you want to give up and dwell in the pause forever. As one of my favorite quotes go, “It’s nothing against you to fall down flat. But to lie there- that’s disgrace!”

So if you need a moment, take it, and don’t feel bad about it. Even God rested on the seventh day to give himself time to sit back, look out on his creation, cross his fingers behind his head and say, “Mmmm yes, this is very good. Don’t you agree, Michael?”. The power of the pause should not be underestimated. In the silence, you can hear your own thoughts. The picture becomes a little clearer and your resolve becomes a little stronger. It’s alright if you don’t know what’s up and what’s down right now. Just take in the moment. Then rise up stronger than ever when you’re ready. As they say: The harder you’re thrown, the higher you bounce!