Wednesday, 11 April 2012

The Gap and The Pause

Gretel Hallet, is a Trained Chocolate Fairy and is running the Getting Started half day workshop in Norwich - perfect for beginners to experience the core principles of Beyond Chocolate and equally great as a refresher for any Beyond Chocolater. If you live in East Anglia and want to know more about Beyond Chocolate or her workshops, get in touch with Gretel.

Mind The Gap! Those of you who live in London will be very familiar with that phrase – but what happens if we are in a Gap? I am exploring that concept right now. I’m out of work, looking for work, but also really enjoying being at home and exploring this Gap that has opened up in my life. We don’t often get Gaps in life and if one occurs, I would encourage you to dwell in it and explore it. Our natural tendency is to fill gaps; if we have 5 minutes to wait, we fiddle with our mobiles, or read a book, or buy a coffee – we seldom just allow ourselves to occupy this Gap of time and not Do Anything.

It’s very hard to not have anything to do. It can be unsettling emotionally and can be almost physically painful, but I have been Tuning in to these Gaps that life throws up from time to time and exploring my feelings without filling the Gap with trivia.
On the positive side, if we don’t have Gaps in our life from time to time, we find it harder to be open to possibilities, to take our lives off in perhaps a different direction – to listen to what we actually want to do.

It is, of course, possible to create a Gap for ourselves; to step off the treadmill and look about us, to take time to consider what we want to do with however many years of life we have left. For many of us, this is a luxury we are unlikely to be able to generate for ourselves; modern life is expensive and there is the imperative to earn money, support ourselves, advance in our chosen careers.

However, if a Gap does pop up in your life, however short it is, I would encourage you to take advantage of it. What is it like to just sit there and do nothing? What if you used that time to Tune In? What would your body and mind tell you?
This Gap is first cousin to the Beyond Chocolate Pause. The Pause is a self-generated pre-determined length of time in which we can Tune In and break the endless rush, the hand-to-mouth cycle, the dive into the biscuit tin with eyes and mind averted.

What happens when I eat compulsively, without being hungry, without (often) actually enjoying what I’m eating, when I eat too much, too quickly, too soon, is that I’m not really in this moment. I’m physically there, in front of the cupboard/fridge/box/carton/shop but mentally I’m somewhere else, somewhere I don’t have to take responsibility for what I’m doing. That’s why, when it’s all over, I can be surprised at the empty packets/cartons etc – gosh! Where did all that go?!

One way of dealing with those moments is to interrupt them before they steam-roller us. And one way we can do that is by using The Pause. But in order to use The Pause, we have to know when we are likely to find ourselves facing that situation. And how we will recognise that situation or feeling is if we have been Tuning In.

So, we have to work backwards through that last paragraph.
Firstly, we have been Tuning In for some time and recognise the symptoms of a forthcoming binge or the symptoms of a desire to eat when not hungry etc.

Next, we interrupt the flow from desire to action – we step in just after we recognise the symptoms and just before we open the door/packet/tin.

For those of us who find this very uncomfortable, we can agree a time limit – it can be very little, mere seconds, or it can be longer – the time is up to each one of us individually.

We promise ourselves that if we still want to eat when the time is up, we will do.
And we sit with the feelings that come up during the time we have set.

The Pause and Tuning In are small but very potent weapons we have to hand, whenever we need or want to use them, and they really do work.

It’s easy to overlook the little things in life; the Gaps and Pauses, Tuning In, but focusing on them and using them can be one of the best things we do for ourselves.


  1. When I worked I'm London I always said the tube announcer should be saying, 'find the gap' a :-P

  2. Hah! Nice one, Liquorice Torpedoes! Quite right too - we could be encouraged to find it rather than mind it!


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