Take Pause

“It’s not so much knowing when to speak…but when to pause.”
Jack Benny

I write stories in my head…

There. Did you feel it?

That pause, ever so slight, as you wait for the next words, the next thought. Try it again.

I write stories in my head…

And? What next? we seem to ask as we stop in pause.

I write stories in my head.

Sometimes it keeps me awake at night.


Pause. What next?

For me, that pause is a subtle clenching in the gut that I return to every time. That place of Knowing. Home base. Home frequency. My centre and default setting.

I write stories in my head.

Sometimes it keeps me awake at night.

Until I must rise from bed and put fingers to my keypad.


That slight clenching is not fear of the unknown. It is excitement. Joy. Creativity.

I become a multi-armed Ganesha, each arm representing a possibility of what I—deva of wisdom, lady of letters—might choose next.

When my son was younger, one boring summer day, we played a game. I started a story with a single sentence. He gave the next sentence. We continued this way, alternating our sentences, co‑creating a story. Just when I set him up with a sentence thinking he would surely go in a certain direction, he would respond with an unexpected twist. The absurd and unforeseen brought hilarity and challenge. There was no right or wrong in the plot we gave each other; there was merely anticipation and delight.

I realize now that we weren’t just practicing using our imaginations. We were learning to find that place of pause, to recognize the feeling of it.

That pause is one of the gifts of storytelling. It returns us again and again to the centre of our Knowing. To finding our words, trusting our instincts, allowing knowing to surface, and choosing what happens next.

We were learning to trust that the answers are within, that the wellspring is endless.

You, too, can learn to recognize your pause and I’ve provided a prompt below to help get you started. I suggest you do this play/work with a child. Or the child within.

The man threw his apple core out the car window…

Find your pause, and return to it often.

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Ganesh photo: Photo by Kirankumar Kanakeri on Unsplash