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Welcome to the Pause Blog which features strategies for boosting energy, fueling enthusiasm, inspiring insight, rekindling spirit – and my reflections on life in general.

PAUSE – 18.02 – Take Care Of You & Be Better For Others

February 7, 2018

Reflection: We’re three weeks into a kitchen renovation, so our home is a tad chaotic these days.

A veritable parade of tradespeople has been rolling through the house: demolition folks, electricians, plumbers, drywallers, carpenters, installers and those keeping track of what others are doing and how it’s going.

It’s been a lively, dusty, noisy experience. Happily, the reno is moving right along – even a bit ahead of schedule.

The fact that my office is in our home makes it doubly challenging for me. At the height of the hubbub, I took client phone calls hunkered deep in the closet of the master bedroom with two sets of doors between me and the noise.

Normally, my practice is to start my days with a walk along the river, a bit of yoga, an inspirational reading, or writing in my journal. Since the reno began, I’ve given that up so that I can be showered, dressed, and ready to answer the door when the first worker of the day comes knocking at 8 am.

I’ve recently noticed that I’m feeling a bit impatient, short tempered, even prone to feeling sorry for myself. That’s not my normal state. (more…)

PAUSE – 18.01 – How Do You And Your Calendar Get Along?

January 10, 2018

Reflection: My relationship with calendars has changed over time; and it’s more than just a shift from paper to digital. Maybe the way YOU relate to your calendar is changing, too.

In my childhood, the calendar was my parents’ domain. In those days, businesses gifted customers with calendars in December, in hopes that theirs would be the one that hung in your kitchen all year round. Mom and Dad recorded meetings and special events, but the calendar also served as a record of life on the farm with notes about temperatures, rainfall, start and end dates for seeding, haying, and harvest.

As a teenager – in high school and then university – my own calendar was all about class schedules and exams, extracurricular activities, and part time work.

When I became a working parent, our family calendar served as control central keeping us on track and alerting us to potential conflicts between our travel schedules and children’s’ activities.

In the early days of my business, I looked at the calendar as an indicator of success. If it was filled with workshops and speaking engagements, that signaled more money in the bank. Too much white space left me anxious and triggered a flurry of promotion, marketing, and program development. (more…)

PAUSE – 17. 18 – Is It Year End Already?

December 20, 2017

 

Here is a seasonal Trio of Wishes for you and yours. May the year ahead being you love hope, joy and blessings in abundance. Thanks for being an ongoing part of the Pause community. See you in the new year.

 

Reflection: Do you find yourself wondering if you’ve made a difference, or struggling with some of the slights, oversights, and regrets in your past?

Earlier this year, I read a book by Zalman Schachter-Shalomi titled From Age-ing To Sage-ing. In it, he suggests that one of the challenges we face as we move through life is making peace with our past.

Although he focuses mainly on late life, I believe the opportunity to make peace with the past is always available to us, no matter what our age or stage or page of life.

It occurred to me to share these ideas with you now, because late December – after the holiday uproar settles down – can be the perfect time to reflect on the year gone by.

Three actions are at the core of this practice: harvesting, reframing and forgiving. (more…)

PAUSE – 17. 17 – Choose Good To Feel Better

December 6, 2017

Reflection:  The daylight hours are dwindling here in western Canada. The sky is dark when we roll out of bed, and it’s dark again before dinnertime.

Early winter has descended – with a combination of snowy, slippery, icy streets and sidewalks as the temperature bounces around on either side of the freezing point.

For the other three seasons of the year – spring, summer and fall – I’m highly motivated to roll out of bed and step right into my sneakers for my morning walk along the river. This time of year – not so much!

And, so, I struggle to get my exercise – that 30 minutes of fresh air and movement that renews my body and restores my soul. Somehow, it’s not the same to be taking that walk mid-day when the path is fully lit and I can see where I’m going. And, it’s not the same to be heading out at the end of the afternoon, when I’m already weary after a day’s work and what I most want to do is put my feet up by the fire and sip a glass of wine.

What I have learned, though, is that just because it’s not the same, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be done – or that it won’t be good. Each time I work an outdoor ramble into my mid or late day schedule I come back glad I went – mind clearer and body stronger.

 

Action: When it comes to doing those things that are good for us, especially when it’s not easy, it helps to keep the outcome in mind. (more…)

PAUSE – 17. 16 – Feeling Grateful? Pass It On

November 22, 2017

Reflection: Today, as I often do, I started my day with a morning walk along the river. It was chilly, breezy, and snowy out there. All the better to clear my head!

It seems, no matter what the weather, when I walk outdoors, my mind putters. It dusts off the cobwebs, rearranges the shelves, empties the garbage, beams a light into the back corners of my brain, generates new ideas, reminds me of things I’d forgotten, and generally puts things in order.

This morning, as I walked, my mind was on you – my Pause readers. Some of you are new to the fold. Some of you are have been following my ramblings right from the beginning of the ezine some seventeen years ago. And some of you joined in at other points along the way.

No matter how long you’ve been with me, what I realized this morning is that I am exceedingly grateful for your presence in my world. You see it’s in my nature to notice things, to think about life, to make connections between A and B and C. If I didn’t have you to share my observations with, I’d probably be walking along the river just mumbling to myself. BTW – that still happens on occasion any way!

So what I really want to say to you today is this. (more…)

PAUSE – 17.15 – Another Way To Look At Things

November 8, 2017

Reflection: My husband and I were lucky enough to be able to get away this fall for a European travel adventure. On our return, I found myself feeling a little behind and a wee bit stressed. Adrenalin pumping – cortisol rising. I was thinking about all the business related tasks that were put on hold. I was worried about projects not begun; and so, obviously, not advanced.

Maybe this happens to you, too. You compare yourself or your situation to the performance of others or to your own high expectations. You find yourself fretting about falling behind and getting ahead. “I should be there by now, and instead I’m here!”

At times like this, I’ve learned to call on my wiser, smarter self for advice. You’ve got one of those mentors, too. Your voice of reason and perspective – the part of you that takes a long view on life and refuses to get bent out of shape unnecessarily.

Here’s what mine had to say to me. (more…)

PAUSE – 17.14 – What Motivator Might Bring You More Of What You Want?

October 25, 2017

Reflection: The young CEO of a manufacturing company had a reputation for keeping long hours and working endless weekends, until…a brand new baby entered his world.

In short order, he found creative ways to get most of his work done during regular business hours and to claim his evenings and weekends for family.

A long time public servant found herself at her desk late into the evenings, struggling to find time for exercise and companionship, until…she brought an energetic young puppy into her home.

Now she had a compelling reason to leave work at 5:00. If she didn’t, she’d arrive home to unhappy accidents and a house in shambles. Most key tasks at work were accomplished during regular work hours. Turns out it had been her need to feel completely caught up at the end of every day that had kept her chained to her desk.

For years, a career homemaker spent all her time tidying, cleaning, cooking, and managing family affairs, until…she connected to a volunteer cause she cared deeply about.

She cut back to a lesser standard of home care and freed time and energy to devote to her new-found passion. (more…)

PAUSE – 17.13 – Are You Harvesting Your Life?

September 13, 2017

Reflection: When I was growing up on the farm, harvest was one of my favorite times of the year.

I loved the fields of golden wheat dancing in the September breeze, the heavy swaths tracing the contours of the land, and the cascades of grain pouring from the auger into the grain bin.

In the farmhouse kitchen, boxes of B.C. pears, plums and peaches were being canned and set aside for the winter ahead.

Steaming cobs of sweet corn landed on the table to be enjoyed day after day after day. My personal best (or worst) was 13 cobs at one sitting!

Harvest time was a feast for the senses and the soul. And the practice of harvesting is one I’ve carried with me into my everyday life.

When I finish reading a book, I take a few moments to pull out an insight or two to carry with me.

When we travel, I keep a journal. As we turn toward home, I reread the record of the journey, and sum up the highlights.

After attending a conference, I scan my notes and pull out a few key ideas on which to act.

 

Action: The habit of harvest is a helpful one. (more…)

PAUSE GEM #53 – Pause Every Ninety & Art Cda 150.10

August 30, 2017

Editor’s Note: As they have for the last couple of years, your summer Pause messages will feature the ‘Best of Pause. These GEMS are readers’ favorite messages from earlier years. Whether you are a long time subscriber, or new to our list, I hope you enjoy them all. After Labor Day, your Pause messages will once again feature all new info and resources.

P.S. – Also, be sure to scan right to the end of this message. You’ll want to be sure to catch the details on my Canada 150 Summer Art Project and the unique Provinces of Canada paintings on offer each week. This week – Saskatchewan.


REFLECTION & ACTION
: You’re working away – head down – afterburners aflame. You’ve been making great progress and, blessedly, the interruptions have been few. Still, after an hour and a half or so, you start feeling restless. Your attention begins to wander. And, you find yourself becoming a touch irritable and impatient.

Why are you having trouble with focus when the stars are aligned for work? It could be your internal body rhythms clamoring for your attention.

The human body isn’t built for nonstop high performance. We do a better job of maintaining energy over the long haul when periods of focused concentration are offset by time out for renewal.

There are parallels in other life situations. For example, a race car driver’s success depends on fast, high speed performance on the track. But an equally important part of that racer’s success is knowing when to pull off the track and into the pit for adjustments and repairs. Ignore, postpone or cancel the pit stops, and the race is lost.

Top performers in all kinds of fields tend to work in approximately 90 minute cycles – sprints if you will. They shift back and forth between periods of intense effort offset by periods of purposeful renewal.

A key word here is purposeful. The impact of automatically grabbing a caffeine or sugar hit, or giving yourself a ‘rev it up’ pep talk to drive your energy back up the ergometer, will be short lived. Many of these ‘short term quick fix’ energizers fizzle fast and end up harmful in the long term.

Plan for variety and be more intentional in choosing your renewing pauses. (more…)

PAUSE GEM #52 – The Burden of Bundling & Art 150.9

August 23, 2017

Editor’s Note: As they have for the last couple of years, your summer Pause messages will feature the ‘Best of Pause. These GEMS are readers’ favorite messages from earlier years. Whether you are a long time subscriber, or new to our list, I hope you enjoy them all. After Labor Day, your Pause messages will once again feature all new info and resources.

P.S. – Also, be sure to scan right to the end of this message. You’ll want to be sure to catch the details on my Canada 150 Summer Art Project and the unique Provinces of Canada paintings on offer each week. This week – Quebec.

REFLECTION & ACTION: These days, merchandisers are pretty adept at bundling goods and services together in the hopes of extending one purchase into a bigger payday. A telecom will sell you a phone line and then bundle in internet service, cell phone, and unlimited long distance. At our Canadian Tim Horton’s you can purchase chili and a bun with coffee – and for another 14 cents Tim tosses in a donut. Bundle! Bundle! Bundle!

Bundling CAN create good deals. And yet, as much of a bargain as it may be financially, bundling can also bring you more than you need or want, more than you bargained for, or, literally, more than you can chew.

The concept of bundling popped to mind as I recently listened to a colleague fret about a complicated workplace problem. It was clear that by taking one issue and bundling it together with others she was making the situation more difficult and overwhelming than it needed to be. On top of the precipitating problem with Employee A, she had layered an ongoing performance concern about Colleague B, and was already anticipating having to deal with the fallout of the situation on Employees C & D.

Truly, she had legitimate concerns in all three areas; and all would have to be addressed at some point. However, bundling them together in the moment had sent her into a tail spin. It made things much more difficult than they needed to be in dealing with the single precipitating issue. And, the resulting confusion of thoughts caused a crisis of confidence. (more…)