Reflection: If you’re familiar with the long-running television series, Seinfeld, you may remember Kramer as one of the wackiest characters on the show.
Both physically and socially awkward, Kramer specialized in dramatic entrances. Charging into the room at high speed and skidding full-tilt to a dead stop, Kramer often declared, “Jerry, it’s a hair straight back day!”
And then, in his frantic way, Kramer would blurt out his dilemma of the day.
Maybe you are ‘blessed’ with a Kramer or two in your world – at work, at home or in your circle of friends.
That’s someone who is always in a hurry, often in a panic, and constantly tied up in knots over frequently inconsequential things.
Like Jerry, who stayed calm in the face of Kramer’s commotion, we too can stay cool, and maybe even help talk our frantic friends down from the ledge.
Consider your ability to stay calm a public service to others and a gift to yourself.
Action: When the ‘Kramers’ of your world invade and spew in every direction, don’t let yourself be blown over or swept away by the commotion. (more…)
PAUSE – 16.22 – Expressions Of Delight
September 7, 2016
Reflection: We had the great joy of closing out the summer by hosting our 9 year old grandson for a couple of days at Waskesiu Lake.
The weather on the front end was less than ideal. Too cold to swim. To rough to take out a canoe, a paddleboat or a kayak. No matter.
It was perfect for beach combing – given all the flotsam and jetsam that the gale force winds tossed up on shore.
And, as Ethan walked along the beach, eyes glued to the sand, each of his discoveries was accompanied by an expression of delight.
Snail shells. Fish hooks. Odd rocks. Dead minnows.
“Heh, look over here! How cool is this? Is that awesome or what?”
And, of course, each find had to be picked up and closely examined before being added to the collection of treasures to be hauled back to the cabin. Two dead minnows included!
Unfavorable conditions – in this case, the weather – were NOT going to put a damper on this young fellow’s spirits, or interfere with his ability to find delight at every turn. (more…)
Yeah, you! If you’re the one with the endless list of things to do. The one who always volunteers for that last minute job, chairs the committees, works the extra shifts, hauls the kids, hosts the socials, and generally goes the extra mile!
Yeah, you! If you’re the one who puts yourself at the bottom of those lists in invisible ink. The one who makes sure everybody else leaves on time, remembers their vitamins, books their vacations, and gets those pats on the back.
Might you be feeling just a tad overwhelmed by all you’ve undertaken or a tad under-valued from being taken for granted?
Well, stop right there! It’s time for a glance in the mirror and a heart to heart chat!
Whether you realize it or not, you matter! And not just because of all you do in support of those around you. You matter simply because you are who you are and you’re here. And, by the way, in case you missed the memo – you are enough!
Whether you hear it from others or not – you do make a difference in the lives of those around you. Just don’t be making that contribution from a feeling of lack, an overactive sense of duty, nor at the expense of your own wellbeing! Take care of you, too! Take time to be with you, too.
Reflection & Action If you’re reading this on Wednesday morning, you still have time to make a date for lunch. Why do I mention it? Because it turns out that an astounding number of folks are eating Al Desko and not Al Fresko.
A recent poll found that 60 percent of workers eat lunch at their desks every day, while two thirds take less than half their entitled lunch hour. A quick math check shows those people are working (or at least sitting in front of their computers) an extra 128 hours (or 16 eight hour days) a year.
We’re discovering more all the time about the physical risks of too much sitting and too much desk time. When we closet ourselves away – brain glued to screen and bum to chair – we end up numb on both ends.
Move around mid-day and you clear out the mental cobwebs and top the energy tank. You’ll return to your afternoon tasks with a fresh mind and body.
PAUSE – 16.21 – The Powerful Impact Of Powering Down
June 22, 2016
Reflection: Better focus? Greater health and well-being? More creative thoughts? Could you use more of these?
According to recent research by the Energy Project and Harvard Business Review, they’re easier to access than you might think. Just step away from the work.
The study showed that employees who break every 90 minutes to pulse between work and renewal report:
28% better focus
30% greater health and well-being, and a
40% increase in creative thinking
This is just one more in a long series of research findings that confirm this fact: time out delivers a significant return on investment!
Action: Adopting this practice and reaping the rewards takes shifting from intention to action.
It’s easy to get caught up in the flow and frenzy of the work, and overlook the breaks. Use a timer reminder on your calendar. Set it to ring at 90 minute intervals. Add software to your computer that will interrupt you on a schedule of your choice to invite you to stretch and move.
Then choose a renewing pause – one that honors what you need at the time:
If you’re sitting, movement and stretching are good.
If you’re stuck indoors, a little fresh air will help.
If you’re holed up working solo, a bit of social interaction may help.
If you’re wrangling with serious issues, humor can lighten the mood.
If you’re surrounded by people, solo time can reset your equilibrium.
Build in the breaks. Choose a contrasting experience. And, you’ll be well on your way to experiencing the powerful impact of powering down. (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 – 15.32 – Let Life Flow When You Don’t Quite Know
October 28, 2015
Reflection: One of the most frequently referenced sources of advice about how to live your life is Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. ‘Start with the end in mind’ is one of those habits.
It’s a laser-beamed and focused approach that’s not without its challenges. Most notably you have to come up with the ‘end’ – the big idea or the grand life purpose – depending on the scale you’re working on. And, you risk overlooking opportunities of iinterest that lie closer at hand.
There’s another approach we could take as well – that of simply being more aware of our current state and the call or appeal of the opportunities that sit directly in front of us.
Those choices are echoed in author Stephen King’s observation that there are two ways to write a book. You either start with your outcome in mind and write in that direction, or you come up with a situation that has tension and see where your imagination takes you. You let the characters respond and the plot unfold. (more…)
PAUSE – 15.23 – Small Things Can Be Big Deals
August 26, 2015
My Thoughts: Do you resist breaking into your happy dance – or cracking a big old toothy grin – until something REALLY important and UBER COOL happens?
If so, you’re missing out on a host of everyday opportunities to celebrate life’s good stuff as it marches on by.
So much is easily overlooked; but once noticed, it’s just as easily appreciated. I noticed these beauties perched on a shelf while waiting for lunch in Café Arabe in Marrakech. BUT, you don’t have to go halfway around the world to get the point or the picture.
Your Thoughts: Why not get on it today? Right where you are!
Train your mind and your eye to catch and celebrate life’s small and beautiful – actions, things and experiences. They’re right here – right under your nose.
Now go ahead. Don’t be shy! Let loose your grin and your happy dance! (more…)
PAUSE – 15.22 – What If? Life Lessons From The Road
August 19, 2015
Reflection: After a vacation, I like to take a bit of time to reflect on the experience.
There’s an element of savoring involved – remembering people and places, incidents and moments.
And, for me, any kind of noticing usually triggers lessons as well.
As I thought about this summer’s travel experiences, it occurred to me that there are some lessons that might be applied to everyday life.
I’m sharing them here in the hope they might be helpful for you, too.
Action: When I’m traveling, it seems so much easier to dress for the day. Choices are limited to what fits in one suitcase. What if we simplified those decisions everyday by streamlining our wardrobes at home?
The touring days that are most satisfying are those where we narrow the focus to one or two places or experiences rather than trying to jam too much into a short period of time. What if we narrowed our everyday focus to a couple of high priority items and stopped trying to do it all at once?
Some of the most ease-filled moments on vacation occur when we give ourselves time and space to put up our feet and take a break. Whether it’s catching a nap, dipping into a book, or jotting a few notes in the travel journal, there’s something to be said for retreating and regrouping. What if we made a regular habit of stepping away from the press of everyday activity to refresh our energy and reflect on our experience?(more…)
PAUSE – 15.20 – A Little Distance Makes A Big Difference
Reflection: What do you see when you look around? Burdens and responsibilities or delights and opportunities? And how much of a difference might it make if you could put a little distance between yourself and those everyday demands?
Vacations and time out matter. Not only for the richness of adventure and creation of new memories, but also for the perspective that comes with distance. Re-entry, after a time away, brings with it the opportunity to appreciate everyday life anew.
In our recent weeks of adventuring, we discovered that the Hermitage in St Petersburg holds some amazing artistic treasures. The fields of lavender and sunflowers in Provence are every bit as compelling in person as they are in pictures. The sounds of Paris are like nowhere else in the world – with the wha-wha of police sirens overlaying the bells of Notre Dame.
And now that we’re back, we’re finding that our time away changes our experience of being here. (more…)