The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.
The painting shown here is titled The Pause and is 16″ by 16″ on paper. It is included in my upcoming show, Contact, at the West End Gallery which opens on July 22.
I am a big believer in the pause as a form of communication. That brief moment of silence between words said and words not yet spoken, that small period of inaction between actions, is often filled with a great and ponderous anticipation of what might come next. In that tiny span of emptiness there is both a look backward at all that has come before and ahead at all that the future might bring. The pause allows for contemplation of both.
Okay, now that may be putting the importance of a pause in larger than life terms. Not every pause holds all the past and all the future. But every pause allows consideration and thought of the immediate past and future, giving that moment a certain degree of importance.
I learned the lesson of pausing from the many gallery talks I have given over the years. Halting for just a moment to ponder the question asked or the statement made is far more effective than simply beginning to speak. That was a difficult thing to do at first when it sometimes seemed like every moment needs to be filled with sound and content to cover my insecurity. But I learned that that moment of silence was not a bad thing at all. It showed an appreciation of the question or statement, showed that I heard what was being said and showed that I wanted really consider how I would answer.
Moving back to larger terms, the pause works in much the same way. The pause takes the past and brings it into the present and makes it part of the decision for the future. The pause consoles us as to what has failed us in the past and what has succeeded. It cautions us against rash and impetuous actions.
The pause is a deep breath that freshens us, allowing us to take in the world around us and to refocus, to reconsider our words and actions. The pause allows us to see other paths leading forward.
The pause can be a potent force, if only we choose to use it.