the power of The Pause

I just got back celebrating my birthday with some serious outdoor time in the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and then the east side of the Sierra Nevada in California (my absolute favorite place in the world). Can you say Endless Seas of Granite? My idea of HEAVEN <3

I meditated daily during this break, and I tell you – when I got back, I was a hell of a lot more patient with the world. Way more than I would have been had I just been hiking but not meditating.

Those of you who’ve worked with me know I incorporate mindfulness and meditation into my coaching programs.

Why is it that on top of encouraging my clients to have daily (and epic) adventures and to live unconventional + unapologetically authentic lives would I incorporate something as seemingly…”boring” as meditation?

The Power of the Pause.

Here’s the deal: once you start doing the hard work and pushing yourself to grow and evolve and shed the bullshit so you can be the most authentic version of you, you start to pay attention to how you think and how you feel.

On this path, we need to get curious about our thoughts and feelings because it is precisely these thoughts and feelings that get in the way of our evolution, of making the best choices for ourselves and taking a new path instead of the old ones that keep taking us down the same boring lane we are so sick of.

The hard truth is that most of us will find that many of our thoughts are about how inadequate or undeserving we are. We find that our feelings are often…shitty ones. Boredom. Anxiety. Loneliness. Anxiety. Anger. Anxiety. (can you tell which one I most struggle with?)

So why would we want to do something like meditate and intentionally spend time noticing and experiencing those thoughts and emotions? Why would we ever want to do something that felt so…uncomfortable?

Becoming aware of these negative thoughts and feelings is not optional if you want to evolve. It is a necessity.

We may feel we don’t have any control over our thoughts and feelings. However, once we recognize them, we DO have more control over how we respond to them.

At first there is just a millisecond between a thought and feeling before we take an action. Often, we aren’t even aware of the thought or feeling we have before we react…which is why our actions are often inappropriate or not in our best interests.

When someone is rude to us, we think “what a jerk!” and we might yell or just be pissed for the rest of the morning. If only we knew they just found out the love of their life was leaving them for another person. If we chose to have a different thought about them instead – one that gave them the benefit of the doubt – we’d respond differently. We’d also feel differently about the situation.

So how do we lengthen that pause?

Mindfulness. And Meditation.

These are the ONLY things I have found that help me stretch the time between a shitty thought or feeling, and the way I respond.

The more I meditate, the more I notice, “Interesting. I wonder why I am choosing to interpret things this way?” and I remember that my response is based on how I am thinking about the situation, rather that what is actually going on.

Eventually, after practicing meditation regularly (even for only 10 minutes a day), we can add a few more milliseconds between our thoughts and feelings and our actions.

That can make all the difference.

We can make better choices about how we want to think about the situation, or at the very least, choose a healthier response. One that makes us proud about how we showed up in the world.

Let’s face it: the world needs more people who care about how they show up.

We really only just need a smidge of time between our thoughts and what we do. Enough time to have a Pause. Enough time to make a better choice.

Sometimes (or often) my insight comes after the event. I still give myself credit for that, because hey, life is hard enough. But the more I practice, the better I get.

The times I let my practice slide, the less compassionate I am in the world. I just don’t have as much ability to see the other person’s perspective, or the bigger picture of a hard situation I am in. No bueno.

If meditation isn’t your thing, start with just trying to be more mindful. Savor that mango. That glass of wine. That sunset.

Take pauses throughout the day and try to notice things with every sense available to your body – the weight of your body being pulled by the earth, the texture of the ground you are on or the clothes you are wearing, the sounds around you, don’t just see the tree but also see the individual leaves and their textures and how they move in the wind; take in the scent of the air (or your b.o. if you were stuck in a tent during a thunderstorm like I was ;).

Just noticing LIFE more will help you notice your mind more.

Pick something right now that you are going to notice every single detail about – even if only for 5 seconds. Your breath passing in and out of your nose? A kiss? Cuddling with your furry friend? It’s not too hard to start.


Ready to dive deeper into this? Check out Freedom School and see what everyone’s obsessed about. It’s not just group coaching. It’s a mindset revolution that you won’t want to miss.

Days 190 to 199 Full On Hormonal Plus An Embarrassing Story

this is us with the cabin behind…after I realized i was being silly;)

Arrrgh!!!! I am going to share an embarrassing story.

To make the history of this embarrassing story short, I’ll let you know in brief that my partner and I are madly in love, I am utterly at peace and feel safe with him, we have crazy adventures, laugh hysterically, meditate, do yoga together, build things, communicate like adults with respect and depth, and are uber-committed. And it took 12 years for us to finally be together. This means that in those 12 years, he dated other people. And so did I. But the important thing is that he did;) At least for this story.

When you don’t marry your high school sweetheart, you have to realize they have done lots of cool shit with lots of other women that, and yes, this is redundant – weren’t you. At least if they’re a cool guy.

For those of you following my posts, you know that in only the past 10 months, my man and I have been to something like 7 countries and 12 states. So, imagine if you will, what he did with OTHER women during 12 years. Holy shit, right?

Many times each day, I hear a story about an adventure he’s had. I stopped asking with whom because I noticed that when it was with an ex of his, this totally irrational jealousy rose up. Not towards whatever ex it was per se, but more like a sadness that we didn’t get to share it together. Then I feel this kind of shittiness that sucks. I suppose there probably isn’t a type of shittiness that doesn’t suck, but that’s beside the point. It’s a shittiness about feeling shitty about it in the first place. And a shittiness wondering why it wasn’t me.

There are VERY logical answers to why it wasn’t me. I’ll spare you the many details, but one was because, oh…I was married. But anyway, I could have been married to HIM right?! I know. It’s dumb. But bear with me.

So, we are in the Alaskan backcountry, and he has been in the Alaskan backcountry with his girlfriends who didn’t even live in the freakin’ US like – everywhere you can see when you stand around and look at Alaska. Seriously. Like even little teeny islands in Alaska, in the middle of nowhere. He gets shit done and gets his women out there.

this is the bridge!

We arrived at a cabin very special to him. And no, I wasn’t the first girlfriend there. But whatever. I let go of it. Then he says, “I’ve never crossed that cable bridge. Let’s do it later.” And I’m like, “Holy shit! Something he hasn’t done! With ANYONE else! Yay yay yay!

I am disproportionately excited for this cable crossing.

So another friend arrives and he says he is going to orient him to the area and make sure the cable bridge is up. I go and read a book about finding your true destiny.

I read a long fucking time. Like an hour.

I go to see what’s up and guess what? He crossed the fucking bridge with our friend to see if it was worth it! They decided it was.

I was livid. Inside. I even did a Seinfeld’s Elaine, “Get out!” kind of shove. Then he says he’s sorry, that he’s still doing it with me the first time and I’m like, “NO YOU’RE NOT! THAT’S THE WHOLE FREAKIN’ POINT!”

And to boot – the other side? A fucking waterfall with a rope swing. No shit (photo above). We could have discovered it together and he could have pushed me on it as we gasped in awe when we stumbled upon it and my hair would wave in the breeze and I cold swim in the waters all Paradise Found-like. But no. He saw it with Scott.

Rather anticlimactic when you’ve freakin’ already seen it!!!!

Poor guy. He couldn’t have known that crossing that bridge meant more to me than just crossing that bridge. He couldn’t have known that I felt like something was taken from me.

I say things like, “I hear all day where you went with so and so, and how cool your trip with so and so was, and how epically beautiful that place was you went to with so and so, and everywhere we go you’ve been with some so and so or another and I just wanted one freakin’ thing to do with you that you hadn’t done before! Is that too much to ask?” LOL the problem is I never asked;) Plus I forgot we went to West Africa last year together.

WTF, right?! I then wonder why I am so deeply affected by this. I almost want to cry! I know it’s insane to have this reaction. But I let myself feel it, and I go to hole myself away in the cabin, taking deep breaths, until I feel it move through me and have its completion.

I got my period the next day, so now of course it makes perfect sense, but in the moment, I thought I was really losing my shit.

Now that I have a little more of a “realistic” perspective I can ask myself, “Ana, dear, what the hell was that?” Hormonal or not, there was a seed of something there.

What it is, dear Ana, is that I forgot everything happens for a reason. I forgot to surrender to the all-knowing perfection that is greater than myself.

Then I remind myself that he had all those other relationships so he could show up for me the man he is now. All those truly amazing women helped him grow into the absolutely incredible man he is now, and for that I am eternally grateful. And I got to be his friend through all those growing pains, being there for him as a friend, but not being hurt. And now we are together. And he didn’t think I was crazy after all that cable bridge nonsense. He never raised his voice or told me I was being hormonal or that I was being ridiculous. He just held me and said how much he loved me and that we are going to have many adventures together, including making a family.

I know…he’s awesome, right?!

The point is, when I focus on the present, when I take in ONLY what is happening now and not making up stories about the past or fears about the future, it is all perfect.

So will ya do me a favor? When you start getting distracted from the blessings and the perfection and happiness that is right in front of you, in the now – your partner asleep next to you, the sound of rain gently falling on your roof, the way your dog greets you at the door, the way your cat warms your lap, the way your mom or dad are still around to say “I love you” – when you get distracted from that because you’re trying to make sense of the past, or prevent shit from hitting the fan in the future, will you PLEASE just cut it out and enjoy your life? Just for those few present moments? It would make me so happy. And you too.