The Power of Pause: Using Space to Communicate with Impact

Weight hung in my chest

My humble companion

Even as pups played

& smiles pulled my cheeks

I felt it beneath

Breath by breath

Footsteps crunching snow

And London fog on my lips

It held it’s place

We turned towards home

Dreariness transformed

Opening to

Magenta clouds & a cobalt sky

The city scape & river reflecting

The electricity of heaven

A kiss of beauty to exquisite to ignore.

There in the amber light.

Held in rapture

The weight lifted.

The last couple days I felt an unshakeable heaviness. I was easily agitated & found myself obsessively comparing, grasping, & feeling this desperate energy that I needed to do more. This pattern is one I have come to recognize well. When I become a little burnt out or overwhelmed the voices of ‘not enough’ get louder & there’s a strong compulsion to do something about it. Fortunately, my practices; yoga, meditation, journaling, helped me to quickly acknowledge what was happening & to give myself what I really needed - space & compassion.


There are many times I have acted from this compulsivity & rarely has it been beneficial. When my motivation comes from needing to fix or from a sense of not being enough I’m more likely to lash out or approach conversations with a selfish agenda. This compulsivity effects both how I engage & how others receive me. Yet, when the need for space is acknowledged & given I am often humbled by it’s wisdom.


Space is the foundation of impactful communication. Rest & play allow us to return to a greater perspective of ourself & our world. Pausing to feel connected to another on the human level influences the way we approach another. Even space within our conversations changes its impact. Pausing between words allows us to feel & convey our intention with clarity & time between responses allows us to listen. Communication is a dance between expression & listening ~ space is the floor where the dance is held.


Space to Be

We need rest. Our minds, hearts, & bodies thrive when they have space to simply be. At times life can be overwhelming - obligations of family , work, & community take over & we can lose sight of the bigger picture. Often as overwhelm increases so too do those critical & perfectionist inner voices. The compounding pressure perpetuates doing when what is really needed is being.


It’s important to remind ourselves that we can take space. We can choose away from the compulsion to do & fix & take time to simply be.


Simple tip

Taking the time to be can feel daunting - especially when our concerns seem urgent. It helps to give ourself a specified amount of time - a period to lay down our concerns & be with ourself as it is. This could be a simple as giving yourself 5 minutes in a bathroom at work or allowing yourself a week to be with your grief. The specificity of this time allows us to honour our inner needs while respecting our commitments in the world.


Space for Intention

Our assumptions about a person or situation can heavily influence the way we communicate. When we engage in conversation with an intention of mutual respect & curiosity - we open a portal for greater understanding & collaboration. By shifting inner dialogues such as “I know this” into “I’m willing to learn” or “they never listen” into an intention of shared understanding we transform our approach. This creates space for something new to come into our awareness.


A clear mutually beneficial intention removes blame & assumption. It enables us to take responsibility for our part in the conversation while also separating from that which is beyond our control. Speaking from this sovereign state we can more effectively express ourselves without trying to manage another’s response.


Simple tip

Prior to a conversation or even during pause to see this person as a whole person. Clarify an intention for mutual understanding & respect & feel it in your body. Notice how you approach this person when you genuinely want to understand them.


Space to Listen

Space allows us to listen. Listening is a wholistic experience - its an intention to understand, a recognition of tone, an observance of expression, & a felt sense in response to what is being said.


We create space for listening in a number of ways.

~ Leaving time after a person speak so they have room to add more

~ Asking for clarification when we don’t understand or feel reactive

~ Giving our self space to process before responding


Simple tip

When someone is speaking notice if you are actively listening or planning what you are going to say. How does your approach shift when you stop planning & listen fully?


Space to Speak & be Heard

In music a pause or ‘rest’ magnifies the notes around it. Silence is a part of music & is just as valuable when we speak.


The way we speak is influence by our internal experience & our internal experience is influenced by how we speak. If we are nervous or insecure we tend to speak more quickly, in a higher register, & often with less precision. When we give each word or phrase space to land the quality of our communication shifts. Here we can more effectively feel & embody the intention of our expression - allowing us to both convey & experience greater presence & impact.


Simple tip

The next time you are in a conversation feel into your body. Speak from a felt sense of confidence (grounded in the belly/ hips), tenderness (a softness in the heart), or combination of both. Speak slowly & allow your words to have space. What do you notice about your voice or internal experience?


Navigating Space

Navigating space is largely about presence - creating a space around & within you so that you can best meet the needs of a communication. Approaching conversation with intention, listening, & spacious speech will likely support more effective communication but does not guarantee it.


Linguistic norms will vary due to culture, gender, & socialization. Some individuals will perceive a pause as something to be filled & equate it with a lack of knowledge from the other side. Another may perceive that same pause with gratitude & appreciate the intimacy it creates. A key element to navigating space is developing the presence to de-personalize a situation & meet it to the best of your ability. Whether a conversation requires a more dominant tone to convey leadership or a gentle tender invitation we are better equipped to meet these needs when we are present in ourselves, able to listen, & able to speak in a way that is connected & clear.


About the Author Amy Thiessen is a coach, writer, & musician who focuses on helping others find & express a their voice with resonance. Her unique approach works with the wholistic mechanism of voice utilizing somatic awareness, psychology, mindfulness, spiritual practice, & vocal techniques of toning & song.


Personal relationships are foundational to our sense of self & interpersonal support. If you would like support in navigating & communication more effectively please book a free consult & we can see if 'In Resonance' Coaching is right for you.


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