The Power of the Pause: Maria Shriver’s Dare

The more you starting paying attention to yourself and those around you, the more you start realizing that most of us are living in a state of a rushing routine that doesn’t seem to have an end. Well, there is an end, but as the introductory story in The Now Effect points out it’s better to get that clarity now. Recently Maria Shriver gave a talk at USC telling graduates that she feels like we are out of control and asks people to learn how to pause to save our nation.

Here are some things she said about the power of pause:

Pausing allows you to take a beat — to take a breath in your life. As everybody else is rushing around like a lunatic out there, I dare you to do the opposite.

PAUSE — and take the time to find out, what’s important to you. Find out what you love, what’s real and true to you — so it can infuse and inform your work and make it your own.

PAUSE — before you report something you don’t know is absolutely true, something you haven’t corroborated with not just one, but two sources, as I was taught. And make sure that they’re two reliable sources.

PAUSE — before you put a rumor out there as fact. Just because you read it or saw it on TV or the Web — no matter how many times — doesn’t mean it’s true. Don’t just pass on garbage because you want to be first. There’s no glory in being first with garbage.

PAUSE — before you hit the “send” button and forward a picture that could ruin someone’s life — or write something nasty on someone’s Wall because you think it’s funny or clever. Believe me, it isn’t.

PAUSE — before you make judgments about people’s personal or professional decisions.

PAUSE — before you join in and disparage someone’s sexuality or intellectual ability.

PAUSE — before forwarding the untrue and inflammatory tidbits that have made it so difficult for would-be public servants and their families to step up and lead. Edmund Hillary once said, “It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.”

The dare today is to pause and check in with yourself. You can do this by just asking yourself, “What’s here right now?” Check in with your body, your emotions and your thoughts.

Set a note on your calendar to “Just Pause” and ask yourself “Where is my mind right now? What is important to pay attention to?”

Create a sign and put it in your workplace, “Pause,” and see what happens.

Read some books that remind you of this. I was sitting with a friend the other night who told me that after reading The Now Effect he notices himself pausing and appreciating many aspects of life more often.

Take this moment right now to pause with this 2-minute video below doing a Mindful Check-In from The Now EffectBookmark it and keep coming back to it. Enjoy.

Simply make it a practice to pause. Remember if you don’t plan it, it will be less likely to happen.

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

Reposted from Elisha Goldstein’s Mindfulness Blog on

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