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 – 16.19 – Might You Need to Recalibrate Success?
June 8, 2016
Reflection: Funny creatures we are – us human beings! Sometimes me thinks we thinks too much! Cogitating on this! Judging that! Setting implausible expectations!
A speaker colleague of mine, Ron Culberson, recently observed in his blog post on significance that he feared his Success Meter was not calibrated properly. (Read more about his observations in today’s Resource of the Week link).
By way of example, he reports feeling like he’s failed if, by end of day, he hasn’t done something that registers somewhere between noteworthy and stupendous. I’ve been there myself. Have you?
Last week I spoke for the Spiritual Care Association of Saskatchewan. This is a group of people who face really tough situations every single day.
They provide support for individuals and their families when the prospects for a long life or a speedy recovery are just not there. It’s emotionally demanding work – often with no practical, tangible way to ‘solve the problem’ or ‘make things right’.
In many of those tough, end-of-life moments, it’s simply their presence that they can offer. There’s nothing to be done except be there and be available. And, you know what? That counts a lot.
Action: Are there days when your expectations take a crazymaking tilt? Are there days when you stomp on yourself for falling short of your aspirations? (more…)
PAUSE – 16.14 – Lighten Up & Relax
May 4, 2016
There is certainly no shortage of advice on how to improve our lives and workplaces. Heck, I’m sharing some with you right now!
At times, the sheer volume of ‘how-to’ messages can overwhelm us: Do more of this. Do less of this. Remember this. Don’t forget about that.
When I stumbled across Pema Chodron’s message featured here (Maybe the most important teaching is to lighten up and relax), I immediately felt a weight lifted from my shoulders. And that brought a smile to my face.
Though we may not always be in a position to relax, there are a lot of situations in which we could lighten up and not take life and our selves quite so seriously.
With respect to a burden or two in your world today, where could you lighten up and relax?
As I mentioned at the beginning of the year, my plan for 2016 is to publish the traditional Pause format every second week. In the weeks between, I’ll be experimenting with a series of projects.
The first project was the six part video series on Rekindling Spark – Navigating Mid Life Malaise. I hope you enjoyed watching the series and sharing them with friends and colleagues.
If you missed any of the messages, you’ll find links to all of them in this recent blog post.
For the next couple of months, alternate weeks will feature a series of Pause Posters – like the one you see here today.
I enjoy partnered ideas and images that make me stop and think. Some that you’ll see are created by others and some I’ll pull together myself. I’m excited about sharing them with you – along with a couple of brief thoughts and a question or two for reflection.
PAUSE – 16.13 – Collective Gratitudes
April 26, 2016
Today’s Pause message is given over to the collective voice of Pause readers.
You may recall, back in February of 2016, I celebrated 30 years in business. As a way of marking the milestone and expressing my gratitude I invited readers to enter a draw for three give-aways. To enter the draw, Pause readers were asked to share a few lines about something they were grateful for in their own lives.
The responses were amazing and inspiring. I thought you might appreciate them, too. And, so I asked contributors for permission to share their gratitudes with the Pause community.
With thanks for the gift of permission from those who said yes, that collection appears here. I hope you find these reflections as insightful and uplifting as I did. Thanks, Pause Readers. You rock!
Pour yourself a cuppa coffee and dive into this pool of Collective Gratitudes.
GF writes: I’m grateful for connection. To those who came before me who held me in their arms. To those I walk beside, with hand folded into hand. To those I break a path for, unknown, imagined, loved.
SM writes: I am grateful for becoming more content and accepting of what I bring and contribute to the world.
JC writes: I am grateful to be alive and healthy. I am grateful to be a mother, wife, sister and daughter, and I am grateful to have insight to recognize that I do the best I can everyday.
MS writes: I’m thankful for so many things; good health, good friends, a wonderful job and a loving family. I am also thankful for unanswered prayers as the song goes. Many times over the course of my life I have tried to head down a particular path because I thought I really wanted or needed to do that; but the universe had other plans for me. Of course I was disappointed and discouraged because I felt that I had somehow missed a huge opportunity. In hindsight the direction my life took was exactly right for me. What I thought I wanted would not have been nearly as fulfilling as where I am now. In spite of myself, I have ended up exactly where I need to be.
PAUSE – 15.39 – How Happy Can You Be?
December 16, 2015
I don’t normally use family photos in my Pause messages, but today I’m making an exception. Pictured here (with his and his parents’ permission) is my grandson, Leon, who is closing in on three years of age.
This boy LOVES machines of all kinds – from juicers and coffee grinders to garbage trucks, diggers, and front-end loaders.
As he recently helped his Mom turn fruits and veggies into juice, the goofy grin on his face never wavered. He gave voice to his glee proclaiming, “I’m so happy my face hurts!”
How amazing to be so present to the thrill of the moment, and to find the words to express that joy!
This could be the season to practice those skills!
What makes you so happy that your face hurts?
And, how can you make sure you are present for those simple moments of delight? (more…)
PAUSE – 15.34 – Ditch the Digital Dipsy-Doodling
November 11, 2015
Reflection: When I deliver sessions on overload and overwhelm at work and in life, these are questions that often arise. Maybe you’ve asked them yourself!
- Why can’t I focus in the midst of distractions?
- Why do I keep interrupting myself, even when I’m on a roll?
- Why do I feel exhausted at the end of my day?
The answers vary. But there is one modern habit that definitely contributes to these experiences – our 3D habit of Digital-Dipsy-Doodling. (I love that phrase – and wish I could take credit for it, but I can’t. See resources of the week for the origin and two articles that say more about this experience.)
You may well be familiar with 3D behavior, yourself. It’s the practice of jumping around between email, twitter, facebook, instagram, and the many other diversions of the web at large.
Why do we do it? It could be FOMO – fear of missing out. Or, it could be (as neuroscience suggests) that fresh doses of info send zingers of dopamine to the brain. Dopamine feels good. And, so, we Dipsy-Doodle – again and again – moving ever further away from what we had initially set out to accomplish.
While we are busy jumping around like grasshoppers on Red Bull, we may not even be aware that all this switching takes energy. The more we leapfrog, the less we accomplish, and the more exhausted we feel.
Doped up and depleted was probably not how any of us envisioned our days unfolding. Welcome to the downward spiral of digital distraction!
Action: So what’s a busy body to do? (more…)
Pause Gem #36 – Can You Be Here Now?
August 27, 2014
Reflection & Action: Race to the shower Race to the closet. Race to the coffee pot. Race to the car. Race to work. Race to a meeting. Race to lunch. Race to the dentist. Race back to work. Race to another meeting and then another meeting. Race to the dry cleaner. Race to the supermarket. Race home. Race through dinner. Race youngster number one to soccer practice, youngster number two to a music lesson, and yourself to a community meeting. Race home again. Collapse into bed. Wake up tomorrow and start the race all over again.
Does anything about that race sound familiar? How much of your day do you spend, meeting yourself coming and going?
In the hustle and pressure of daily life, it’s so easy to be anywhere else but present. We find ourselves trapped in regreats about yesterday or filled with anxiety for tomorrow. Yet this place – this moment in time – is really all we have. If we’ve missed it, then it’s gone forever.
The challenge for each one of us is to be here now. Post-race and post-haste, here’s a simple way to settle down and be more present.
Try this: Stand or sit still for just a few seconds. (Yes, you can spare ten seconds. It’s your life after all.)
As you breathe in, draw the word here into your mind. As you breathe out, bring the word now into your mind. Repeat three times.
Pause to check: Are you here now? Take every opportunity to shift your attention from hurry to here.
PAUSE – 13.36 – Presence
December 18, 2013
With the new year peaking around the corner, it’s so easy to suffer whiplash – as we intently scan the past year and eagerly anticipate the next. But, as the infamous Yogi Berra once observed, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”
And so, my invitation to you for the remainder of 2013 is to be as present as you can possibly be to the people and experiences that cross your path in the closing days of the year.
Presence is an awesome gift, one that’s far more valuable than any presents that may come our way in this the season of giving. When we find ways to be present we’re much more likely to appreciate the delights of each moment as life unfolds around us.
I hope you enjoy reading a few of my favorite quotes about presence. (more…)
PAUSE – 13.33 – What Would It Take To Be More In The Moment?
November 27, 2013
Reflection: It’s just another day in the flow of a busy life, but in the midst of it all ….
- I pull the morning newspaper from the mailbox and take a deep draw on the crisp November air.
- I sip my coffee as the sun paints the sky – first gold, then pink, then blue.
- I laugh at a story a colleague shares, and thank my lucky stars for his awesome sense of humor.
- I wait at the supermarket checkout tickled by a cart-bound toddler sharing a lively game of peek-a-boo with the next shopper down line.
- I play a board game with my grandson and marvel at the fierce concentration that plays across his handsome little face.
- I stand in the midst of a funeral gathering and watch the eyes of one old friend light up at the approach of another.
Life flourishes in these simple moments of presence. The cares and preoccupations of the everyday world fade into the background, shifting from front and center to the sidelines.
Action: What’s the nature of your experience these days? One giant blur or crisp sharp moments of presence?
These experiences are present every single day, but are we? The moments are all we really have. Don’t let them pass you by – unnoticed, unmarked, unappreciated.
Set an intention to be as present as possible as often as possible. Pause.
Quote Of The Week: Our true home is in the present moment. To be in the present moment is a miracle. – Thich Nhat Hanh
Resource Of The Week: Here’s an interesting article from Greg McKeown: Reduce Your Stress In Two Minutes A Day
Readers Write: In response to last week’s message, Go Ahead…Make Your Day, Pause reader MW writes: Your question as to how did I start my day was most timely to read. I usually start my morning swimming laps at 7 a.m. That is a great way for me to start my day even when it is -28 C outside. Last night, as I was setting my alarm clock, I debated about going swimming today. To do so I would have to be at the pool shortly after 6 a.m. to meet my other commitments for the morning.
But, I decided to go swimming early and am so glad I did. I do my most creative thinking as I am swimming laps and I had a brainwave for a creative project I am working on. Plus the swimming always revitalizes me and gives me the energy to get through the busy and stressful times.