Pause a Little, Listen a Little
Have you ever heard your heart ask you to pause, to step outdoors, to smile at another person, to stop for lunch, to listen to the breeze, to pardon yourself or another?
This noticing, for me, means turning down the volume of the world, undoing some of my habitual patterns, and seeing with pure, child-like curiosity. No judgments or need to create stories; just noticing. Walking in the neighborhood, I see a red robin on the lawn; I hear a familiar tune and children giggling; I smell someone barbequing; I feel the warmth of the sun on my back; I miss my friend.
The perfect way to have our relationships grow and thrive is to notice the whispers of our heart throughout the day. It is an inward gaze with a soft focus.
Our heart recognizes when we have distanced ourselves from it and calls us gently back to bathe in its grace. It reminds us to pause, to breathe, to let go, or to connect with another person. As we get better at listening, we’ll hear its almost imperceptible guidance. The more often we respond, the happier we will be.
It is a practice of ever-deepening awareness. We can ask: What might my heart want me to see, to hear? And, through dedication, we increase our capacity.
How to Strengthen Awareness
Choose one suggestion from the list and use it as a practice.
- Take a 5-10 minute leisurely walk each day, just noticing.
- Spend time connecting inwardly through music.
- Name the patterns of clouds gliding across the sky.
- Cultivate in yourself one quality you admire in a friend.
- Find moments throughout the day to simply be still.
- Listen with genuine appreciation to others’ viewpoints.
- Replay an uncomfortable situation being curious about your contribution.
- Or do something as basic as changing a morning routine or even simpler than that, change the order of putting on shoes or buttoning a shirt.
Each activity can open an avenue to a heightened perception and expansion. We interrupt a routine and allow ourselves to be more present and in the moment. Once we build this capacity, our awareness starts to flow into other aspects of our day.
“I’m too busy,” that little voice in your head may be saying. “These sound like great ideas for people who aren’t so busy.” Well, look again. The suggestions take willingness, not time. They require only an intention and a shift of awareness from our usual routine.
Though small, they can make a huge difference in our lives and relationships. Take your time, devote yourself to following your heart’s guidance and grow in contentment and joy.
Nancy Smyth, MCC is Co-Founder of Two Wise Women, a company helping executives resolve relationship problems to be happy, fulfilled and successful. She has a master’s credential through the International Coaching Federation. Nancy’s valuable training programs are in response to the universal longing for peace, love, joy and connection.
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Tina Hallis, Ph.D. is Chief Positivity Officer of The Positive Edge, a company dedicated to helping people and organizations increase their positivity to improve the quality of people’s work lives and the quality of company cultures. She is certified in Positive Psychology, an authorized partner for Everything DiSC®, and a Professional Member of the National Speaker’s Association