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Appreciation

PAUSE – 19.12 – Why Not End Your Year In Gratitude?

December 4, 2019

Reflection: As I wrote today’s Pause message, it was Thanksgiving Day in the USA. I took a look at my calendar and saw the tail end of 2019 barreling down the road in my direction.

Add those both together, and they put me in a reflective frame of mind with thoughts of gratitude bubbling to the surface. Putting pen to paper, this list of things for which I felt grateful flowed to the page:

  • Reasonably good health – with just enough aches and irritations to remind me to feel compassion for those who suffer chronic pain
  • Our travel adventures and the resources to fund them
  • My clients and the opportunities they present for meaningful work, along with my colleagues who share this journey of teaching and learning
  • A husband who loves to cook and who exercises his culinary talents in the kitchen every single day.
  • My daughters and nieces and their partners who have populated our extended family with a lively crop of little ones who bring joy and energy to every gathering
  • My sisters and my Mom who have been my touchstones through the years
  • Caring friends who share laughter and shoulders to lean on when times get rough
  • My Artists’ Workshop group and the talented colleagues who encourage and challenge my growth as a painter
  • This beautiful and (relatively) peaceful country I am lucky enough to share with my fellow Canadians

I was – and am – grateful for it all.

 

Action: Is pausing to take stock of all there is to appreciate a part of your end of year activities? (more…)

PAUSE – 19.11 – Bringing Who You Are To What You Do

November 6, 2019

Reflection: About a year ago, I joined a local artists group. We meet weekly to make art. We challenge and support each other. And, we show together annually.

Over the years, I’ve been a part of many groups at work and in the community. Rarely have I seen a group as cooperative and supportive as this one.

When a task arises, there’s no sitting on hands, avoiding eye contact, hoping someone else will take it on. There is an eagerness to volunteer – to step forward to make things happen.

Yes, there is a high degree of commitment to each other and the purpose of the group. But, underpinning all there’s a desire and willingness to bring who we are and contribute what we can in the service of the whole.

We vary in our interests and skills. Within the group we have: social media whizzes, creative photographers, skilled organizers, those with financial savvy, talented foodies, fine writers, imaginative thinkers, thoughtful listeners, and jokesters who brighten the mood and lighten the load.

Everybody is not expected to do everything. People step forward in areas in which they are skilled and have an interest; they pass on others. And, somehow it all works out.

 

Action: How well are the teams and groups in your world functioning? (more…)

PAUSE – 19.10 – Nix The Negatory Oratory           

October 2, 2019

Reflection:  How is your day going?

Not bad. Well, it’s not raining. I’m not dead yet. Could be worse.“

Thanks for your help.

No problem. It was nothing. No big deal. Not worth mentioning.”

Does language make a difference? You bet it does. It can lift people up or put them down – our selves included.

What features most in your way of showing up and conversing with the world?

Gloom and despair – or joy and fresh air?

 

Action: There are a great many things beyond our control that colour our everyday experience. But what is always within our control are things like these: (more…)

PAUSE – 19.06 – Will Your Memories Last A Lifetime?

June 5, 2019

Reflection:  A few years ago, I asked an aunt and uncle of mine who were nearing the end of their lives what they remembered most about their time together.

Independently, they each gave exactly the same answer. They both recalled the trips they had taken together, the adventures shared, and the time spent away from the everyday cares of home and work.

My husband, Dave, and I just returned from several weeks in Eastern Europe. I understand what they meant. It was a treat to be sharing new experiences – and not be thinking about paying the bills, mowing the lawn, and taking care of business.

We made a lot of memories. From this recent trip, we will most definitely remember:

  • Laughs shared in the Mirror Maze and Fun House at the top of Petrin Hill in Prague
  • Viewing Klimt’s painting, The Kiss, in person at the Belvedere in Vienna
  • Our challenging Amazing Race transit day between Salzburg and Vienna (shuttle, hike, boat cruise, train ride and subway)
  • A concert at St Stephen’s Basillica in Budapest that lifted us all up and away. An organ with 6,507 pipes will do that for you!

As wonderful as they may be, I also believe that travel memories are only part of the picture. We also create compelling memories in our very own backyards. (more…)

PAUSE – 19.04 – Turn Down The Screen – Turn Up Your Life

April 3, 2019

Reflection: Not long ago I found myself in my doctor’s reception area, waiting for my appointment. Also waiting were three young moms each with infants in car carriers parked at their feet.

All the little ones were awake and alert. All the moms were elsewhere – eyes glued to the screens of their smart phones making no effort to connect with their babies.

Now maybe they were dealing with important issues at a distance. Or maybe they were exhausted and just enjoying the quiet. (I do remember that parenting a little one can really take it out of you!)

But here’s the challenge. (more…)

PAUSE – 19.03 – Make It Meaningful To You To Make It Matter More

March 6, 2019

Reflection: I love it when ideas collide and spark a fresh insight. That happened for me this morning as I pondered my Pause message for this week.

The first inspiration came from today’s Dilbert cartoon. Pointy Haired Boss is discussing Asok’s ‘less than ideal’ employee engagement results. Boss counsels Asok that he should show a higher level of irrational enthusiasm for the endless string of thankless tasks – AKA his job. He also suggests that he expects Asok to show an unnatural preference for work over leisure. Don’t you just love that line of thought??

The second inspiration came from a poster quote that appeared in my social media feed. This quote by Francine Jay read, “My goal is no longer to get more done, but rather to have less to do.” I laughed when I read it and immediately forwarded it to a group of friends who share these kind of messages.

As quickly as I had I shared it, I realized it doesn’t quite paint a complete picture. (more…)

PAUSE – 19.02 – Want Less Stress? Stop Looking For Trouble

February 6, 2019

Reflection: Do you have a solid sense of the ideas that are whirring through your mind at any given moment?

Are you aware of the impact those thoughts may be having on your experience of the day?

I know where my mind goes, and it’s not always to the most helpful places.

Join me on a little mental review and consider these questions.

  • What if we stopped scanning our world for bad news and no longer stayed on high alert for stressors just around the corner?
  • What if we thought less and talked less about the stress in our lives?
  • What if we stopped swapping ‘poor me’ stories that focus on how overwhelmed or exhausted we feel or poorly we’ve been treated?
  • What if we stopped concentrating on where and how we hurt – physically and emotionally?
  • What if we stopped holding so tightly to real or imagined slights and slurs?
  • What if we stopped picking at life’s stressors like a wound that just won’t heal?

 

Action: What if, instead, we started looking at and talking about these things? (more…)

PAUSE – 19.01 – Fine Tune For A Fine Year

January 2, 2019

Reflection: It’s the time of year when our thoughts turn to fresh starts – ways that we might improve our lives, change our habits, launch new goals. In the flurry of info about how best to accomplish these turn-arounds, an article by Tania Carriere caught my eye. I encourage you to read the full article linked from today’s Resource of the Week.

In short, Tania suggests that a shift in focus to something more and something new is not always necessary. In many cases we already know what works in our lives. We’ve simply distanced ourselves from the practices and choices that serve us well. Over time our shiny fresh intentions and actions tarnish and fade like a piece of good silver.

Like that silver, even though the surface may seem dingy and drab, the value still lives below. In her metaphor, what’s required most is not racing off in search of something new but simply finding our way back to what we already know puts a shine on our days.

 

Action: Over the last few days – as 2018 turned to 2019 – I’ve been pondering what I already know makes for a better life experience for me.

Here are a few strategies that would serve me well if I polished them off, and brought them back to life. They might spark some thoughts for you. (more…)

PAUSE – 18.12 – Are You Available To Awe?

December 5, 2018

Reflection: Familiarity brings with it a certain level of comfort and ease.

You hop in the car to head for work. Without even thinking, you steer in the standard direction of your standard route with your standard expectations about how the trip will unfold.

You walk into a social or professional gathering not sure who you will meet there. As you scan the group, you find a few familiar faces and gravitate in their direction.

You walk into your favorite coffee shop. Without even scanning the menu board to see what might be new on offer, you place your regular order for your regular drink in your regular size with your regular barista.

Same. Same. Same. Over and over and over. It’s little wonder that our daily interactions can have a distressingly numbing effect on our minds and emotions. (more…)

PAUSE – 18.09 – Did You Know You’re Retroactively Useful?

September 5, 2018

Reflection: I seem to be encountering a lot of people from my past these days. In the course of our conversations, more than a few of them are sharing how something I said or did influenced them years ago and continues to be meaningful in their lives today.

Sometimes it was the way I handled a challenging situation. Other times it was a piece of advice or a way of looking at or thinking about things that was important at that moment. Often those insightful tidbits have become reference points or touchstones for them as they go about their lives today.

It moves me to hear that my contributions, both intended and unintentional, added meaning to their lives. That prompts me to be even more active in extending my appreciation to others whose examples have been important to me. And…it causes me to feel more satisfied about the contributions I’ve already made in my life and work.

 

Action: The desire to be purposeful and of service to others does not diminish with age. In fact as people grow older, they often start to think more directly about leaving a lasting and positive legacy.

Well, the good news is this. (more…)