“When I was a child, I didn’t have power over very many things. I didn’t decide when people would hurt me and I couldn’t make it stop. I couldn’t make my mom pay attention to me. But I did find solace in a few things like food. So escaping the pain through food gave me some sense of comfort and control. Back then, that was my only choice. There was no way to improve my life in any real way so numbing the pain was the only option. My goal in life became to go in the opposite direction of the pain since I couldn’t succeed at anything else.”
~ The Rescued Soul by Christina Enevoldsen
You hate to, but you have to..
It has taken me so long to learn the power of a pause. I was a disciple of effort—and misunderstood the pause. I believed pausing wouldn’t just be a short rest, I believed that it would mean ‘losing ground.’ That any lack of forward motion meant you were going backwards. I didn’t understand that the pause is a time of work all its own.
As a child therapist, I understood quiet. Children naturally work and then pause. They work at one thing and then shift to another. They get engaged in what they are building and ignore you. Pausing the conversation and doing their own work. Child therapy has its own rhythm—has its own ebbs and flows. Much of what you do is follow along and be there—stay with them.
In my own healing I had a much harder time with pausing. Yes, I was used to effort, but it was more than that. Being more visual than musical, I saw the pauses as white space, and white space in art is what allows an object to stand out—to be seen. Pausing felt dangerous—there is no way to hide in a pause—no distractions. I would be seen by another, but I would also be able to see, and hear, myself in the pauses. Much like the pause in music, feelings would reverberate. I would feel them. So for a long time constant motion felt safe, and pausing didn’t.
In the beginning, exhaustion substituted as a pause. I would only be able to stop and take things in when I simply got too tired of driving forward. But in those moments I was really aware of the feeling of calm, connection and groundedness that could come from these moments of pausing. Exhaustion would force me to let go and rest.
Mozart said that the music is not in the notes, but in the silence between them. And I have found that the music of healing comes with the pauses. The pause you need can be a simple pause in conversation. Or a break from forward motion while you sort through what you have already talked about. It can be a break from hard work altogether—a chance to write, play, draw. Or it can be a complete break—a time out from healing while you focus on something in your daily life that needs attention.
In pauses you feel your feelings, you renew your energy and find, as Tara Brach states above, there’s not just rest or calm in the pause, there is also power. When you can pause, when you can stay, you realize you are bigger than the thing you have been running from or hiding from. You realize that you have the capacity to hold it, to feel it, to heal from it. Whereas the trauma had you feel powerless, surviving the pauses reacquaints you with your own power in a quiet and wonderful way. And it’s a place you can always return to. That place of rest. The pause.
© 2016 Gretchen L. Schmelzer, PhD
Good stuff, worth watching!
Focusing on yourself and healing your own issues, empowers you and stops you attracting narcissistic people/ partners.
At the meetup group I go to, there is a woman about 45 who is a really beautiful soul, it just shines out of her. I noticed she has some very deep (old) cutting scars on her arms. They would of been so painful. She’s healed now but I wanted to put my hand on them and bend down and give them a kiss. She’s so beautiful she didn’t deserve that kind of pain. I didn’t do it because it would be weird but my heart wanted to. I hope she has a man in her life that sees how beautiful she is and kisses her arms everyday.