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The magic of pausing

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The magic of pausing

SARAH NAYLOR shares her personal emotional journey from poor self-esteem and negativity to love, confidence, clarity and purpose in life. The wonderful thing is the ease with which it happened.

Over the years I’ve been practicing Heartfulness, I’ve experienced countless positive changes in myself, which others have noticed and commented upon. I’ve gone from being fearful and depressed to generally happy and relaxed. From feeling lost and muddled, with poor self-esteem, I’ve developed confidence and clarity. A life which felt rather lonely and pointless now feels filled with love and purpose. The amazing thing is that I don’t seem to have done very much to enjoy these benefits.

There is a popular belief that in order to change yourself and clear negative traits and behavioral patterns, you need to roll up your sleeves and work hard, devoting time, analysis and willpower. It’s almost as though you are a sculptor dissatisfied with your work, and you have to chip and carve away at yourself to smooth off rough corners and reshape certain unattractive parts of yourself. It takes effort, sweat and tears.

With Heartfulness it is different. As we practice the simple components of Meditation, Cleaning and Prayer, old patterns and unhelpful behaviors simply dissolve and fall away – at times without us even noticing. Aside from these practices, all that is really required is our attention and willingness to look at ourselves honestly.

Taking a few moments each night to review my day from a calm and heart-centered place, I see that moments of discomfort and failure generally spring from one simple cause: reacting with the ego, rather than responding from my heart. Something happens. I react with like, dislike or fear, which often prompts me to take misguided action. Sometimes my ego feels threatened by criticism or a comment, and I try to resist the truth by arguing and making a case to show myself in a better light.

Either way, the cure is simple.
Pause. Connect with my heart.
Allow whatever is happening just to be
– including any discomfort I may feel about it.
Instead of action, do nothing, and
notice what is unfolding inside me.

Either way, the cure is simple. Pause. Connect with my heart. Allow whatever is happening just to be – including any discomfort I may feel about it. Instead of action, do nothing, and notice what is unfolding inside me.

The magic of pausing and accepting instead of reacting has made the most dramatic and profound change to my personal relationships and family life.

Others relax and become more receptive. There is more connection and more love. Arguments are avoided. My teenage daughter tells me something. I feel like reacting with a lecture, with fear, with defensiveness. I pause. Love flows into the space I’ve allowed. She feels it. She listens to what comes from that place of acceptance and love in a way she never listened to “Mum nagging.”

I find doing this both harder than I expected and incredibly liberating. When we receive criticism instead of going on the defensive, or when we allow something to be without demanding it be different, it can be surprisingly painful. We confront the gap between what we wish for and what actually is. We are trying to avoid feeling this pain when we attempt to change others and hide aspects of ourselves, whereas allowing ourselves to experience reality opens up a walled off, “stuck” old part of ourselves. Another layer of “baggage” comes up to be cleaned away, and there is inner progress. Instead of having to work at changing myself, it is as though I am in the hands of a master sculptor. The more I stop resisting and trying to change things myself, the more effortlessly I am remolded into something more beautiful and useful.

Our desire to be comfortable and have things a certain way denies reality and takes an investment of energy and action. It’s a relief to stop this futile effort. To replace the fruitless “doing” with the restful “nothing,” and to get such rich results from it seems nothing short of amazing.

I believe that therapeutic intervention can be wonderfully helpful at times to unravel and clear specific emotional issues, in the same way that using particular herbs or foods can support good health. However, the simple Heartfulness practices hold a secret key to extraordinary personal transformation, no matter how ordinary, flawed, or lacking in willpower we think we are.

Sarah Naylor

Sarah Naylor

Sarah is a certified practitioner of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), a therapy and self-help technique which uses tapping on acupuncture points to clear negative emotions and patterns of behaviour. She is also a Heartfulness trainer and is married with three children.


  1. Thank you for writing. We all at times feel helpless, and our ego and frustration make situations miserable. It is this power of pause which gives wisdom to think and act and move with the flow of life, and solutions are always there. This little pause gives eyes to see.

  2. Heart touching , encouraging to let go of trifling thoughts and emotions without resisting them. Good approach to importance and application of heartfulness. God bless you Sarah.

  3. Lovely, yes absolutely correct, this is what everyone should be doing to be happy. This practice is really helpful.

  4. Thank you Sarah. This has come to me at the exact time. Let me practice it and see the result. This reminder was necessary for me.

  5. Very enlighted to hear from you, Sarah. Keep your spirit high whatever you do, to make yourself HAPPY. You brought a SMILE to my face too. Thanks for that.

  6. Dear Sarah, This is such a wonderful article explaining the importance of taking a pause which, in today’s life, no one does. Thanks for explaining it in a simple way.

  7. Oh Sarah, so beaurifully expressed, and just what i needed to hear and digest this moment. 💫🙏🏻

  8. I will start working on myself.
    I simply want to feel good about myself.
    Thank you for showing the path.

  9. I really enjoyed your article. Thank you. I reminded me of the listening course I took a couple of years back. We listen to the reply but we should all challenge ourselves to control the way we respond by giving our heart a chance to respond! I agree with you – Heartfullness is the easy answer.

  10. What a wonderfully clear, concise and simple account of your personal journey Sarah. Truly inspiring ♥️🌹

  11. I forget this technique of pausing. It’s coming to me at the right time. I feel that this article is written for me. Thanks.

  12. I was so relieved when I read this article – although I may be a long way from being able to follow the suggestions, just imagining them felt good. Thank you dear Sarah.

  13. Dear Ms. Naylor, Monsoon Greetings from India!
    Beautiful experience and realisation in life. I feel, magic of pausing is really amazing. We all need to practice the art of pausing in our lives to understand what we are missing. Best wishes to you in all your endeavors.


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