Reflection: The daylight hours are dwindling here in western Canada. The sky is dark when we roll out of bed, and it’s dark again before dinnertime.
Early winter has descended – with a combination of snowy, slippery, icy streets and sidewalks as the temperature bounces around on either side of the freezing point.
For the other three seasons of the year – spring, summer and fall – I’m highly motivated to roll out of bed and step right into my sneakers for my morning walk along the river. This time of year – not so much!
And, so, I struggle to get my exercise – that 30 minutes of fresh air and movement that renews my body and restores my soul. Somehow, it’s not the same to be taking that walk mid-day when the path is fully lit and I can see where I’m going. And, it’s not the same to be heading out at the end of the afternoon, when I’m already weary after a day’s work and what I most want to do is put my feet up by the fire and sip a glass of wine.
What I have learned, though, is that just because it’s not the same, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be done – or that it won’t be good. Each time I work an outdoor ramble into my mid or late day schedule I come back glad I went – mind clearer and body stronger.
Action: When it comes to doing those things that are good for us, especially when it’s not easy, it helps to keep the outcome in mind. (more…)
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.
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 #53 – Pause Every Ninety & Art Cda 150.10
August 30, 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 – Saskatchewan.
REFLECTION & ACTION: You’re working away – head down – afterburners aflame. You’ve been making great progress and, blessedly, the interruptions have been few. Still, after an hour and a half or so, you start feeling restless. Your attention begins to wander. And, you find yourself becoming a touch irritable and impatient.
Why are you having trouble with focus when the stars are aligned for work? It could be your internal body rhythms clamoring for your attention.
The human body isn’t built for nonstop high performance. We do a better job of maintaining energy over the long haul when periods of focused concentration are offset by time out for renewal.
There are parallels in other life situations. For example, a race car driver’s success depends on fast, high speed performance on the track. But an equally important part of that racer’s success is knowing when to pull off the track and into the pit for adjustments and repairs. Ignore, postpone or cancel the pit stops, and the race is lost.
Top performers in all kinds of fields tend to work in approximately 90 minute cycles – sprints if you will. They shift back and forth between periods of intense effort offset by periods of purposeful renewal.
A key word here is purposeful. The impact of automatically grabbing a caffeine or sugar hit, or giving yourself a ‘rev it up’ pep talk to drive your energy back up the ergometer, will be short lived. Many of these ‘short term quick fix’ energizers fizzle fast and end up harmful in the long term.
Plan for variety and be more intentional in choosing your renewing pauses. (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…)
PAUSE – 17.06 – Is Busy The New Rich And Famous?
March 22, 2017
Reflection: What do you think? Is a crazy busy life with no time to spare the new status symbol in North America?
Sadly enough, that just may be the case! Several recent pieces of research found that we now admire and hold in higher esteem those who present themselves as overloaded and run off their feet.
In one experiment, participants read letters from a fictional friend. In Letter A he complained about being crazy busy with no time to relax and watch TV. In Letter B he described himself as relaxed, spending time watching sports on TV. Readers ranked the busy friend twice as high on a scale of wealth and social status as they ranked the more leisurely friend. (more…)
PAUSE – 17.04 – Focus In The Face Of Distraction
February 22, 2017
Reflection: Focus in the face of distraction! That was how a group I recently worked with described one of their most frustrating challenges.
They’re not alone in this. We live in an age of distraction. One research survey found the average time between interruptions in the modern workplace to be three minutes.
Not all of our distractions are created by others. The same survey noted that 44% of interruptions were self imposed. Sometimes we’re our own worst enemies. We allow our grasshopper minds and our desire for novelty to lead us from here … to there … and there … and there, too!
Action: So, how do you make more focused progress in the face of distractions? (more…)
PAUSE – 17.01 – Where Will You Be This Time Next Year?
January 11, 2017
Reflection: Happy 2017 to you! It’s a new year and a fresh start. How are things going so far?
For many years now, I’ve set aside a couple of days at the beginning of January to look back at the year that was and forward to the year that lies ahead. It’s a great way to mark progress – and, let’s face it, sometimes note the lack thereof!
A couple of years ago I also started the practice of tossing notes in one of two jars throughout the year. One jar holds notes about things I hope will come to pass. The other jar holds gratitudes – notes about experiences and people I appreciate as the year unfolds. It’s fun to flip through both before starting afresh each January. (more…)
Happy New Year
January 5, 2017
Happy New Year to one and all. I hope you were able to enjoy a few days of relaxation with friends and family to close out 2016 and welcome the year ahead.
I don’t know how you started your year, but I spent a couple of days in planning – one looking back at the year that was and another looking forward to 2017.
I find that taking the time to do this helps me set a more intentional direction for both my work and personal life.
It’s not too late to tackle this for yourself. If you’d like some guides to the process, here are few that I’ve found useful over the years: (more…)
PAUSE – 16.26 – Are You Soaking Up Those Precious Moments?
November 2, 2016
A friend, and fellow artist, Sharon Bellknap recently shared the Encinatas Sunrise photo you see featured here.
The image is a stunner. Sharon tells me those colors became more and more beautiful, and then… they were gone.
That very same day, here in Saskatoon, the morning sun lit up our evergreen, bathing them in gold. By the time I returned with my camera…the magic was gone.
Moments like this are often short lived. They’re here…and then they’re gone. The real question is: Where are we?
Sharon tells me that on this particular morning she was out exercising her capacity to soak up precious moments. I love that phrase and that idea.
How might our lives be enriched if you and I practiced our capacity to soak up more precious moments every day? (more…)