Auto Stop – A Reminder to Breathe


New technologies (and new ideas) often take me by surprise. In 2015, I was driving home from the dealership with a brand-new car, riding high on that feeling of perfect freshness. I saw a red light and coasted to a stop. Right on cue, the engine cut out; right on cue, I panicked, thinking my new car had already bitten the dust.

Most of you already know this wasn’t a bug, but a feature: auto stop. This function cuts the engine of an idling vehicle. Once the light turns green, the driver steps on the gas, and the engine comes alive again. The purpose of auto stop is to increase fuel efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and save energy. Now that I know, I think it’s a neat idea.

In fact, I started thinking about how this same concept could be applied to my own ‘engine.’ Each of us experiences intermittent stops throughout the day. We might be stuck in traffic, waiting on a late appointment, or watching the pasta water boil. Often, we respond with impatience and aggravation. Uncomfortable with silence, unwilling to be in the moment, we choose to idle in our frustration. What if, instead of complaining, we used these pauses to reenergize?

Each moment is an opportunity, and the time we spend waiting is golden: with nothing to do and nowhere to be but right where we are, these intermittent stops are perfect for peaceful contemplation.

So, I started tinkering with my own auto stop function. When the universe halts me in my tracks, I use the time to take a deep breath or two, return to my center, and relax. If the pause is extended (and I’m not behind the wheel), I might pull out the book I’ve been meaning to finish or check in on my wife and kids. These stops are not obstacles, but opportunities for physical and mental reset. When I use them well, I find myself focused and energized when it’s time to start my engine again. I can approach my next move with calm intention.

When we suggest that our clients integrate stillness into their lives, the most common reaction is, ‘How will I find the time?’ I’m guilty of this myself. But it’s a fallacy. Every quiet moment is an opportunity for meditation. If we can learn to embrace the stoppages, to be grateful for the moments we spend stuck in traffic, we will be more focused and effective when we hit the open road again. Challenge yourself to engage your auto stop. You won’t believe the energy you’ll save.

If you want to learn more about integrating stillness into your day, please contact us. We would be happy to help you learn how to slow down to go faster.

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  1. PAUL BENEQUISTA on March 29, 2023 at 6:32 pm

    I would suggest you purchase Man’s Search for Meaning by Frankl and teach that to whomever you are trying to get a point across to. There are videos out there that maybe you could get clearance on. It would save you a lot of trouble, and cut the fees charged to people. Everyone would be better off. You would reward clients with less fees, more focused counseling and it is a win win to use an overused phrase.

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