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 – 18.11 – The Magic of Connection
November 7, 2018
Reflection: A friend and his wife did the dishes together every night. As she washed and he dried, they shared their news of the day, chatted about the kids, and sorted out plans for the days ahead.
Once they got a dishwasher and started taking turns doing dishes, they stopped talking. That simple shared habit had been their daily connection point.
A participant in a program recently told me that he and his wife tended to spend their evenings on their respective phones – physically present, but mentally absent.
They’ve made it a practice, every few days, to take an evening drive together and leave their phones behind. He says the conversation and connection in their lives goes up when they make time for shared adventures.
Last week, my husband and I picked up three coffees and took them to the viewing stands to squeeze in coffee and a visit with our very busy daughter while together we watched our grandson playing hockey.
In today’s nonstop world, it’s easy to grow distant from those we care about – occupied as we are with the minutiae of life and the lure of social media. Relationships suffer when we can’t find ways to stay in touch with those who matter in our world. And, that’s beyond unfortunate.
Research shows that strong relationships help us live longer and happier lives with fewer health problems. And by the way, it’s not the number of friends you have, or whether or not you’re in a committed relationship, but rather the QUALITY of your close relationships that makes the difference. (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.
Reflection: I was scheduled as the after luncheon speaker, and things were running late. The servers were delayed in getting the last few items on the tables, while conference attendees milled about the hallway waiting for the ‘all clear’ cue to seat themselves. The clock was ticking; and time was a wasting.
I stepped forward and offered to place the last of the water pitchers and coffee urns on the tables while the servers took care of getting the salads in place. Serving staff were surprised, and so was the conference coordinator. ‘You don’t need to do that,’ was the comment directed my way.
They were right. I didn’t need to do that. Nowhere in a speaker’s job description does it read, ‘Put the water pitchers on the tables for lunch.’ But there was a need at hand and an opportunity to help. And since I could pitch in, I did.
A friend recently went through a very rough patch in her life. Her husband (who is also her business partner) experienced some serious health issues during their busiest season of the year. Another friend, whose schedule was open at the time, volunteered to come in and serve as their ‘gopher’ at the office.
She handled reception, mail, banking, chauffeur service, courier duty and more. If it would help ease the load, and she could do it, she took it on. What a practical way to let someone else know how much they matter! (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 – 17.13 – 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 #47 – Go For The Grin & Art 150.4
July 19, 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 – Manitoba.
REFLECTION & ACTION: Here’s something I’ve been observing for some time now. When I am out and about in public places – shopping the markets, gathering at festivals or theaters, or simply walking down the street – I’m looking at peoples’ faces and noticing their expressions. Do they appear happy, sad, indifferent, concerned? What emotion do they present to the world without even knowing they’re communicating?
I made a point of watching expressions on my last visit to Disneyworld. You would think if there’s any place on earth where you might expect to see smile after smile, and one set of sparkling eyes after another, it would be there. However, that was far from the case.
Sure, people cracked their smiles for the camera, but if you just watched the expressions on the faces as folks ambled down the streets of the Magic Kingdom, smiles were running at about 5% of the population. Even half hearted expressions of contentment were only running in the 25% range. The rest of the expressions ranged somewhere between numbly neutral and tersely tense.
Take a look for yourself. See what you notice on the faces of those you pass as you go about your business today.
Even more importantly, pause to check your own reflection in the mirror or a window. What do others see when they meet you on the street or pass you in the hall?
There is no reliable evidence to prove the old saying that it takes more muscles to frown than smile. However, there is research that shows people do respond in kind to the facial expressions they encounter.
So what would it take to raise the smile quotient and lighten the mood in your corner of this world of ours? (more…)
PAUSE – 17.09 – Kindness Costs Us Nothing
May 3, 2017
Reflection: A recent conversation amongst friends led to an exchange of stories about odd behaviours. Of course, those would be odd behaviours exhibited by others, because nothing we ever do is odd at all!
The most unusual contribution to the conversation was the story of a condo neighbor who grows a bit more confused each day and exhibits some of the early signs of dementia. She has taken to propping her front door open, and positioning herself in a chair where she can see all the foot traffic in the hall.
As people come and go throughout the day, she waves and greets them like long lost friends each time they pass by. Most of us agreed that would be an annoying neighborly behavior to have to deal with every day.
However, the friend who shared the story – who lives down the hall from the woman with the open door policy – simply smiled and remarked, “Kindness costs us nothing.” (more…)
PAUSE – 17.08 – Appreciating What Shows Up In Your World
April 19, 2017
Reflection: The last two weeks have delivered quite an eventful ride here at the OK Corral.
Health issues landed me in the ER for eight hours and hospital for a couple of days. I’ve been tested, scanned and scoped with no specific diagnosis other than the possibility of a virus. However, I am feeling better and back to functioning once more.
My 91-year-old father moved from their home (where Mom with nursing support had been looking after him) into palliative care. He passed away after a week of further decline concluding with three days of around the clock bedside support from members of our family. A celebration of his life, funeral service, and burial were held last Thursday.
My husband, Dave, is retiring from his work with the Government of Saskatchewan on the very day this message is published. Over Easter weekend, we marked the occasion with a family dinner and a Friends And Family coffee party – both planned by our two daughters. Dave is looking forward to the freedom of his future days; and I am happy for him.
However, since my business office is also at home and I’m accustomed to having the space all to myself, I’m just a tad apprehensive about being together all day long. (more…)