Offering a Moment for Pause
A Bay Area native, Jackie Corwin, hits the road with her one-of-a kind meditation bus, Pause Now.
Photo courtesy PauseNow Bus
On a sunny Friday afternoon, the first-of-its-kind mobile meditation bus is parked outside Highland Hospital.
It’s Pause Now – Mobile Meditation Center founded by Jackie Corwin, a once stressed-out banker in San Francisco’s financial district. Calm, cool, and defying age, Corwin attributes meditation to her graceful demeanor and youthful appearance. She stands patiently alongside her bright blue bus waiting to greet the next hospital staff members who want to get on board to meditate.
Pause Now resulted from Corwin’s long held vision and passion to want to do something meaningful, but it’s a project that came about organically. Corwin had dabbled with the idea of meditation, but after a bout of migraines, she stepped up her meditation routine and discovered meditation helped. Her migraines vanished, which put her on a path to bring this new-found relief to others so they, too, could also tap into the power of meditation
Corwin first looked into starting a meditation center in the financial district, but with astronomical per-square-foot cost for space, it just wasn’t feasible. And then one day, “I was looking out the eighth-story window of my office in downtown San Francisco at all the hustle and bustle below when it came to me — a meditation bus that I could bring to the people.”
And so it goes: Corwin launched in March of 2017. She bought a bus, designed it, and had it renovated to offer a quiet meditation space.
Step in the bus and a feeling of calm takes over instantly. The interior is dimly lit and inviting. There are seven individual private pods, one of them handicap accessible. Each pod is quaint and cozy with a seat, backrest, and iPad with options for preferred meditation. There is everything from binaural beats to guided meditation and silent meditation laid out in 15-minute increments. Those who settle in are armed with noise-
canceling headphones, curtains for privacy, and a switch to dim the lights so they can check out right on the spot.
Corwin hit the road with fanfare, rolling from venue to venue, and within a few months, requests began trickling in from pharmaceutical companies, businesses in the financial district, and other companies wanting to rent the bus for the day to allow employees a little respite.
Organizations can hire the bus for a fee, and the bus contracts out for a specific duration of time allowing Pause Now to show up regularly. Each contract is different, but the consistency allows employees to benefit from some regularity. There’s no cost to employees who get to jump into a private pod designed with serenity, peace, and privacy in mind.
Eventually, Alameda Health Systems reached out and signed on to have Pause Now come to its hospitals to offer meditation to the staff and started the program with Highland Hospital. For now, it’s a regular monthly occurrence, and Corwin is beyond ecstatic for Pause Now to have a parking space at Highland.
Dr. Daniel Winkle, medical director for acute rehab services for Alameda Health Systems, assists the hospital system with implementing wellness options for staff members. He stressed the importance of wellness and benefits of self-care, suggesting the more supported and greater self-care the staff members take of themselves, the better they can care for the community they serve.
“What’s going on with Pause Now and the meditation bus is that’s a way to spread that self-care and self-awareness,” he said. “We are working on creating structures within the system so that we are teaching that to our caregivers across all disciplines.”
Winkle noted that new studies show long-term benefits of meditation, including better brain function, balancing stress hormones, positive changes with DNA, and slowing aging.
“There’s all this new information coming about all the time,” he said.
At Highland, Corwin said the busiest hospital staff members — the doctors and nurses of the always-humming emergency department — have asked to use the meditation gear inside the hospital.
“They are just too busy to get out,” Corwin said, adding she is glad to assist any way she can to allow them to sit and pause, even for a short session.
“The fact that we even have a wellness program is to be applauded,” said Terrie Dixon, director of employee health services and wellness for AHS.
Dixon said Pause Now has been warmly received. “In fact, I just got a couple of calls — when is she coming to Fairmont?”
“Employees look forward to it. Our CEO has participated in it. Our chief of HR has participated in it. We have executive leadership that has supported it from the top down,” Dixon said.
All staff members are welcome, no appointment needed. They get a heads-up about the Pause Now schedule and have a three-hour window to slip away for a quick break — and it’s free.
So what’s next for Pause Now? Corwin hopes to have more buses someday, and she said has received interest from across the country and Canada from people inquiring about franchise opportunities or wanting to start their own meditation buses. While not part of the greater vision when she first started, she’s certainly open to the idea. And she is creating a meditation app — one she envisions being more accessible to people everywhere.
“It’s grown beyond my wildest dreams. I’m truly having the time of my life connecting with so many beautiful souls and bringing meditation to people everywhere so they can also experience the power and joy of it,” Corwin said.
If you happen to see the bus around, you are welcome aboard, so take a moment to pause. To find out where Pause Now will be next, check out details on PauseNowBus.com.