Time to P.A.U.S.E. to a meaningful life
Today as I woke up to check my phone, there was a meme about how Dr. Strange from the marvel universe saw 14,000,605 futures but still couldn’t tell us about COVID-19.
As the world is grappling with this healthcare crisis and the economic hardship following it, our lives have taken a tailspin. Everyone sounds overwhelmed. Amongst this chaos, one could really benefit from some template to help de-clutter everything around us. And that’s when I got introduced to this amazing concept of P.A.U.S.E. by my friend and mentor Neetu. This helped me to not only relax but changed my whole perspective of the world. So let’s get into what each of these letters signifies.
P. is for live-in Present. Past is the history you can’t undo, the future is a mystery you know nothing about; the only thing you have control over is present, so be there. Too many of us are living in the highs and lows of past or worried about the future, the problem with this is that you are sabotaging your present which is a crime against yourself.
A. is for Acceptance. The biggest lesson that COVID-19 situation has taught us is that we are just one of the many species dwelling on planet Earth and we are as vulnerable to natural forces as the others. Despite all the human-centric branding post-renaissance, scientific advancement, modern religion, and education telling us that we are rightful rulers of this world. However, nature has its way of showing us our actual place. Acceptance of this very fact is required. Similarly, acknowledgment and acceptance of the fact that some things are in our control but most of the things aren’t- is need of the hour. Doing so can take a lot of weight off your shoulders.
Knowing your weakness and when to call for truce is the skill of statesman, a sheer act of wisdom.
U. is for Understanding. Once you start living in the moment and take all the dead weight away through acceptance, its time to start internalizing the things which actually matter. It’s time to clean the slate, remove all the distractions, and start having meaningful conversations. It is time to read books and not just scroll our social media wall; have long chats over dinner with your family, look into your kids' notebook and tell them stories… Understanding comes from observations, investing time, and opening yourself up to possibilities. Only when you work on these basics, will you get the understanding of things big and small. These insights when applied to anxieties will only empower you and make you a better person.
S. is for Scribbling your thoughts. The simple habit of scribbling your thoughts on a sheet of paper will do wonders. That’s the habit that every successful leader will tell you to hone.
For this, I have come up with a novel way of journaling these days which I call my “Thought Catalog”. The inspiration came from the fact that in the journey of mindfulness, the first thing they teach us is to separate the event from its emotion. Different people respond to the same event differently. Some people may like the work-from-home lifestyle while others like me yearn for my office cabin. Someone may enjoy the present ambiguity and take it as a challenge while others may be anxious and worried about the future. These thoughts and emotions evoked following an event are very typical of an individual. I divide my page into two sections accordingly:
- What I am feeling now? Am I feeling hopeful, Am I feeling confident, comfortable, secure, safe, loved? Am I feeling healthy? If any of these is bothering me I would write that down. I would try to be as articulate and specific as possible with my thoughts and emotions.
- Now for each of my reactions, I would take a minute and remember the exact stream of events causing me to feel that way. Once I put that information down objectively, I get to finally separate my thoughts from the event and evaluate the whole scene as an observer. More often than not, if the emotion evoked was negative like anger, jealousy, insecurity, etc. it will subside immediately. And on the flip side, if it was something good, like love, peace, I get the chance to relive it!
E. is for Examining. Lastly, we come to the most important exercise - to examine.
An unexamined life is not worth living -Plato
The conclusion of P.A.U.S.E; what you observed, learned, wrote, and known will help you to develop an awakened perspective of everything. First, you will start with personal things around you like, “why didn’t she call me back?” “I was so stubborn!” “I feel so grateful!” “I never knew so many things about myself”. And eventually, you will become more mindful of the society, nature, and the whole universe that lies beyond yourself.
That’s Nirvana if you believe in one.
I hope that these five letters help you de-clutter your life and make it more relaxed, enlightened, and happier in general, just like they did for me. I would love to hear your feedback and growth stories in the comment box. Have a happy and PAUSE-ible life!
Acknowledgment- Neetu Shah is an emotional counselor, trained in conscious parenting and habits of mind, she specializes in dealing with anxiety, lack of motivation, and other behavioral issues. She helps parents to create a fulfilled life for their kids and youth to achieve their true potential and emotional resilience.