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PAUSE – 19.07 – How About Being More Spontaneous?

July 3, 2019

Reflection: I grew up on a farm on the prairies at a time when people lived far enough apart that a visit was something to be treasured. Neighbors often dropped by unannounced. And when that happened, the work was set aside and a fresh pot of coffee went on the stove.

If friends or family dropped in around mealtime, we added a few more potatoes to the pot, and set a few more plates and chairs around the table. We called it prairie hospitality. It came naturally – was just the way you lived and were.

These days our lives seem far more scheduled and crowded. I’ve seen people spend ten minutes comparing calendars and commitments in an attempt to find a shared open space for a visit, a coffee, or a lunch at some future place and time.

A series of recent events reminded me of the joy of spontaneity. (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 – 19.03 – 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 – 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 – 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 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 – 17.11 – Are You Ready To Take A Chance?

May 31, 2017

Reflection: Do you ever feel like your life hasn’t quite worked out the way you imagined it might? That there is something missing from the mix?

Do you ever feel like you’re being held hostage by your commitments? Show up at work, manage life at home, contribute to the community? Or whatever your version of the daily grind may be.

It’s a sure bet that ignoring those twinges of discontent is a first step on the road to bitterness and resentment.

There may never be a better time to take a chance on something new. Something that fuels your spirit and feeds your soul. Something that puts a spring in your step and a light in your eyes. (more…)

PAUSE – 17.03 – Choose High Alert for Things Gone Right

February 8, 2017

Reflection:  Things going right or things going wrong? To what do you pay more attention as you make your way through your day?

Are you on high alert for slights, missteps, and errors of omission or commission?

Are you quick to criticize, and eager to pounce on any infraction against the way things ought to be – in the world according to your Inner Judge?

Or are you tuned to signs that things just might be going well, open to receiving life’s everyday gifts, and prepared to be pleasantly surprised?

Are you quick to appreciate, and keen to focus attention on life’s joyful developments?

And beyond assigning labels of ‘bad or good’ to the experiences of the day, how open are you to the possibility that something first thought ‘wrong’ might just end up being ‘right’? (more…)

PAUSE – 16.33 – Wishing You All The Best Of The Season

December 21, 2016

For the last few years, I’ve devoted the final December Pause message to one key idea. Peace, joy, love, hope, kindness, grace, presence, gratitude, and contentment have all taken their turns in the spotlight.

This year my choice is happiness. There has been a ton of research done on happiness, and more than a few words printed on the subject. Launch a web search for happiness, and you’ll be rewarded with more than 400 million results. Trying to wade your way through that might wipe the smile off your face!

Some of the guidance on happiness suggests it’s something to be vigorously pursued. Another common point of view suggests happiness is a natural by-product of achieving things and contributing to the well-being of others.

What resonates most strongly for me is the idea that happiness already exists in our lives, and that we’d experience it more often if we only paused to pay closer attention.

So that is my year-end wish for you – that you find the space and make the time to savor those bits of happiness already enriching your life and your world.

Below you’ll find a sampling of quotes on happiness (quite a few by the prolific freelance writer, Robert Brault). (more…)

PAUSE – 16.32 – Could What You Have Really Be Enough?

December 14, 2016

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My Thoughts:

My father-in-law loved a good meal. Joy spread like his grin – from ear to ear – every time he carved the first slice from the end of a fresh baked loaf of bread.

He liked his tea scalding and his soup steaming; and was known to return both to the kitchen for a reheat if they weren’t to his liking.

But what I remember most clearly is how he punctuated every meal by settling back in his chair, patting his belly, and declaring: “My sufficiency has been suffonsified!”

He always appreciated what he had received, and affirmed it to be enough. (more…)