Updated: Oct 15, 2020
Getting ready in the morning for the school run can be a fraught time for many families, mine included... especially when I'm half-asleep or on auto-pilot! I was having one such morning a while back - nagging at my son to get dressed, brush his teeth, wash his face while also trying to 'inhale' some while packing lunch boxes, etc! You get the idea. Well! My son wasn't liking this at all. I wasn't liking it and I'm sure my husband didn't either. I felt on the inside as if I was running at 90 miles an hour and I was running out of time, I was going to be late and NO-ONE was doing what needed to be done for us to be out the door on time! Ughhh, even writing this I can feel my inner systems speed up and clench up tight! Phewwwww.
Anyway, at the stage of putting on shoes and coats in the corridor ready to head out, my husband stopped to give me a hug. His invitation was, did I have a minute to pause and share a hug! Inside my head my immediate response was "no! of course not! who has time to pause! can't you see that we're rushing!!!" And yes, my mind did have that many exclamation marks, and more, along with the thought. I remember actually getting the words out "I don't have time..." and then I stopped myself because alarm bells started to ring out loud in my head. I KNOW 9 times out of 10, unless in situations of imminent threat to life and limb, I do have the time to pause, I do have time to stop and take 3 deep breaths, I do, even when I think I don't. And so I stopped. I remembered all that I was taught, and all that I support others to learn. I took a moment to pause right there. I shared a simple hug with my husband, then I lay down on the floor, right there in the middle of the corridor amongst bags and shoes, and I breathed.
Not more than a few seconds later, my son who 2 minutes earlier was vociferously arguing with me about the merits of putting on shoes and brushing teeth, etc, came and lay down with me. For less than one minute, we lay there, breathed, connected with our bodies, the ground beneath us, and the space around us. When we got back up (this all not having taken more than a minute or so) we calmly put on shoes, got our things together and left the house feeling all loving and warm towards one another. The car journey to school was one of singing and friendly conversation instead of simmering anger and heavy silence.
Ahhhhh. The Pause! What a wonderful principle and skill and I am immensely grateful for. And I am grateful for Ray Castellino, Tara Blasco, and Mary Jackson for teaching it to me. It has made such a difference in my personal and family. I'm sure my son and husband would happily corroborate that! And I have heard many a story from clients of the difference it has made for them too.
So... The Pause is one of 8 principles developed by Ray Castellino, DC, RPP, RCST, who is known for his pioneering work with families, adults, children, babies and small groups. Ray shares that from his experience, these Principles are operative in all truly healthy families and small groups and foster cooperation, connection and healthy nervous system regulation in individuals and groups.
The Principles are:
2. Mutual Support & Cooperation
4. Self and Co-Regulation - the Pause
5. Self Care
6. Brief Frequent Eye Contact
8. Sacred Confidence - Confidentiality
Feel free to reach out to learn more about these Principles and how they may support you foster more health in your family systems.