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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 #51 – Keeping It Simple & Art 150.8

August 16, 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 – New Brunswick.

REFLECTION AND ACTION:  Broker world peace. Jump-start the economy. Cure cancer. Eliminate poverty. Save the planet.

The range of global concerns seems endless. Even our more modest individual goals and ambitions can end up supersized to the max.

As inspiring and enervating as big hairy audacious goals can be, they also carry significant weight. And, shouldering the weight of the world can feel overwhelming, crippling and exhausting.

That’s why a recent commentary by my Halifax friend and colleague, Peter Davison, struck me so positively.

Peter wrote: “Go forth, do good, return home, stay blessed. Repeat as necessary.”

It’s an approach to daily life and a plan of action that’s blazingly simple and eminently doable.

In the midst of demands on your time and draws on your energy, keep Peter’s prescription in the forefront of your mind. (more…)

PAUSE GEM #48 – Stopping Starting & Art 150.5

July 26, 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 – Ontario.

REFLECTION & ACTION: More than one study has confirmed that backlogs are an everyday fact of life in today’s overcommitted workplaces – not to mention on the home and community fronts. Despite the fact that we have an inordinate number of irons in the fire at any one time, that doesn’t seem to prevent us from adding more.

Personally, I’ve got a tall stack of books waiting for my attention. That hasn’t stopped me from firing off orders to Amazon or Chapters for yet another interesting volume or two.

I’ve got a number of articles partly written, and program ideas partially developed. That doesn’t stop me from grabbing another scrap of paper and scratching out a few thoughts about yet another fresh idea.

Over the years, I’ve registered a number of web domain names that seemed like an inspired idea at the time, and then let them languish for lack of attention.

Anything similar happen to you?

When we talk about streamlining our life and work activities, a fair amount of attention and lip service is paid to what we could stop doing.

Maybe it’s time to ask a different question. (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 GEM #46 – Burnout And Meltdowns & Art 150.3

July 12, 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 – Newfoundland Labrador.

REFLECTION & ACTION: I’ve been thinking a lot about burnout in recent days. Not because I’m feeling burned out myself, although I have been there more than once in the past. But rather because I’ve been digging back through results of the Overload and Overwhelm survey that I conducted a few years ago.

Over and over again, people mention the downward spiral triggered by too many expectations and too few resources. They describe the hopeless feelings associated with not being able to see a light at the end of the tunnel. And, to cap it off, much of what they are doing feels pointless.

Still I’m hopeful. While meltdowns may be common, they’re not necessarily inevitable.

One of the things I have noted over the years, is that burnout is not always related to the number of hours worked. Meltdowns and burnout are just as often connected to feelings of hopelessness and pointlessness. It’s like we’ve lost track of any meaning that might once have been associated with the activities that fill our days. And so while we invest more and more energy we experience fewer and fewer returns on that investment.

And therein lies one of the main challenges: staying connected to the reasons why we’re doing these things in the first place. (more…)

PAUSE – 17.12 – Going Big Is Not Your Only Option

June 14, 2017

Reflection: ‘Go Big Or Go Home’ is one of the most harmful pieces of advice floating around the ether sphere.

It implies that the ONLY way to live your life is to bet it all on a roll of the dice – to bungee jump off the highest cliff – to risk and risk and risk again!

It also implies that if you don’t live with this maxim as your guide, you should hang your head, stick your tail between your legs, and cower shame-facedly in hiding at home.

Bushwa!

Yes, there may well be times to go big. Challenges stretch us and build our confidence. We start to see ourselves as the kind of person who attempts ‘that’ – whatever ‘that’ may be for us.

Still, there is every bit as much value in the world of small. (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 – 17.10 – Wading Your Way Through The Waiting

May 17, 2017

Reflection: How comfortable are you with waiting? I’d say as a society it’s not one of our strengths.

From the small things – like waiting for our coffee, waiting for software to reboot, or waiting our turn in line. To the big deals – like waiting for test results, waiting for the perfect job or partner, or waiting to figure out life’s purpose. We want the result and we want it now.

We don’t like sitting in confusion. And we stress ourselves out when we’re stuck in uncertainty – when progress seems slight.

However, we can experience less angst and stress when we find ways to become more comfortable with waiting, and when we allow whatever process needs to unfold the luxury of time to do just that.

 

Action: How then to wait with greater grace and ease? (more…)