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Ink Slingers Martina

Creative Ways to Practice the Pause

Being female, first born, and Mexican American, I have plenty of practice in asserting my opinion – and shockingly enough (because I know this will come as a surprise to those who know me IRL), it’s hard to keep my opinion to myself and, instead, pause at times. Unsolicited advice, opinions, theories, reactions…they’re all in my wheelhouse, friends, lol.

But I heard it put so beautifully the other day when I shared on social media about the seeming uselessness of being angry when compared to the thought of dying the next day. Would that anger really matter in the grand scheme of things? One person commented they were trying really hard to “practice the pause.”

“Gold,” I thought. ABSOLUTE GOLD.

How often do we react when we should listen and thoughtfully respond? How quickly do we react? Do we listen to listen or listen to react? Are we listening so that we can craft a response that builds us up or tears others down? What are some strategies we can employ so that we can be a better listener and respond in a way that invites an authentic discussion for both parties? When we make an honest effort to do the following, it can go a long way in curbing the angry response to others.

HOW TO PRACTICE THE PAUSE

Stay close to the sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Reconciliation. I know many of us were kept away from the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for a long time due to the shutdown. Staying close to Jesus in the Eucharist is just one way we can ensure our relationships with others are rooted in genuine charity.

Make Reconciliation a regular habit. Once a month is a great goal to have, if not more frequently if you feel God calling you to go more often. Consider going to confession as the pathway to hear the marching orders God has for your life. Kinda hard to hear Him if we’re steeped in sin.

Listen to listen. Have you ever had a conversation with a friend who listened to you? I mean REALLY listened to you? Like…they want to know all about what’s going on with YOU and not just leap in at the end of your sentence to tell you how you should fix your problems.

Extend charity. Especially when you don’t feel like it. Admittedly, this one is hard to put into practice because it requires a lot of looking outside of yourself for perspective.

Remember these are people you are arguing with. This is especially important online when we tend to reduce people to screen names or handles. One good strategy is to ask yourself “would I say this to someone’s face?”

Walk away. Or exit the app or close the laptop. Whatever is robbing your peace, take the wind out of the sails by walking away. That thrill of getting that zinger in will dissipate, leaving you to wonder if you should add that to your confession list – ouch.

Create a list…of things you can do to make walking away easier. Are you at work? Should you be working? If you’re at home, are there chores that you should be doing?

What are some things you would add to this list? Share below in the comments, OR share in a reel on Instagram and tag us – we’ll feature you!

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By Martina Kreitzer

Martina is a cradle Catholic, wife to Neil, and mother to eight kiddos here {and three in heaven}– 4/96-12/19. She decided to homeschool the kiddos in 2010 after many years in public schools and is currently transitioning out of homeschooling. She is the creator of Catholic Sistas which focuses on a feminine perspective of the Catholic Faith. The website was the result of an existing camaraderie by the contributors in a Catholic women’s group she created. She is also a Seal of Approval evaluator for the Catholic Writers Guild. Lest you think she spends all her time online, Martina has enjoyed getting out into the community by serving on the Pastoral Council from 2010-2013. She is constantly on the lookout to make her parish as welcoming as the small town she grew up in East Texas. This task is not easy given that St. William is the largest parish in the Austin diocese, serving well over twenty thousand parishioners. She loves Jesus, coffee, bacon, chocolate, photography, more bacon, evangelizing, and the company of those unafraid to use their sense of humor.