Small Moments Matter
September 27, 2023
It’s a perfect September day for a walk – sunny skies, warm air, beautiful colors. As I round the corner of our house and head down the city walkway in the direction of the river, I meet a duo who are also enjoying the morning.
The young girl (maybe 5 or 6 years old) crouches over a pile of multi colored leaves that have fallen from the maple tree that leans out over the sidewalk. Her mother stands nearby.
We exchange greetings and I say how lovely the leaves look today. The little one tells me she’s searching for a red leaf to give her mother, explaining that red is Mom’s favorite color. I crouch down to lend an eye. (more…)
Rediscovered: A Passion For Facilitation
February 15, 2023
Recently, I’ve focused more on art than speaking. However, my experience last week reminded me of how much I love working with groups, too.
I facilitated a half day retreat titled, Cultivating Collegial Connections, for the staff and leadership of the Legislative Assembly Service with the Saskatchewan government.
Like many groups, the distancing they experienced during the pandemic strained that sense of connectedness. Partner a couple of years of remote working with retirements, new hires, and changes in roles means that it can be a real challenge to maintain existing relationships and establish new ones.
The session that I designed focused on… (more…)
September 22, 2022
It’s been a while since I published a piece on this Pause blog. That surprises me.
I’ve written my entire life. Publishing a weekly message was part of my business for 25 years. That practice served me and the business, and I like to think my clients and followers, well.
When I stopped penning the weekly Pause ezine and blog at the start of 2021, I thought the writing would still continue as organically as it had in my early days when I could not not write! Not so, as it turns out.
Take away the commitment to and expectation of publishing a weekly message, and apparently, I’m no longer as devoted to putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. Who knew that’s how it would be? Not me.
Oh, I’m still noticing in much the same way I have all my life – things, experiences, ideas, and more. And I’m still writing – but mainly in my head – as in ‘here’s what I think or what I’d say about that’.
Mostly that form of ‘talking to myself’ feels like a sufficient expression. The second step of getting the ideas down on paper seems somehow less essential. (more…)
PAUSE – 19.10 – Nix The Negatory Oratory
October 2, 2019
Reflection: How is your day going?
“Not bad. Well, it’s not raining. I’m not dead yet. Could be worse.“
Thanks for your help.
“No problem. It was nothing. No big deal. Not worth mentioning.”
Does language make a difference? You bet it does. It can lift people up or put them down – our selves included.
What features most in your way of showing up and conversing with the world?
Gloom and despair – or joy and fresh air?
Action: There are a great many things beyond our control that colour our everyday experience. But what is always within our control are things like these: (more…)
PAUSE – 19.04 – Turn Down The Screen – Turn Up Your Life
April 3, 2019
Reflection: Not long ago I found myself in my doctor’s reception area, waiting for my appointment. Also waiting were three young moms each with infants in car carriers parked at their feet.
All the little ones were awake and alert. All the moms were elsewhere – eyes glued to the screens of their smart phones making no effort to connect with their babies.
Now maybe they were dealing with important issues at a distance. Or maybe they were exhausted and just enjoying the quiet. (I do remember that parenting a little one can really take it out of you!)
But here’s the challenge. (more…)
PAUSE – 18.11 – The Magic of Connection
November 7, 2018
Reflection: A friend and his wife did the dishes together every night. As she washed and he dried, they shared their news of the day, chatted about the kids, and sorted out plans for the days ahead.
Once they got a dishwasher and started taking turns doing dishes, they stopped talking. That simple shared habit had been their daily connection point.
A participant in a program recently told me that he and his wife tended to spend their evenings on their respective phones – physically present, but mentally absent.
They’ve made it a practice, every few days, to take an evening drive together and leave their phones behind. He says the conversation and connection in their lives goes up when they make time for shared adventures.
Last week, my husband and I picked up three coffees and took them to the viewing stands to squeeze in coffee and a visit with our very busy daughter while together we watched our grandson playing hockey.
In today’s nonstop world, it’s easy to grow distant from those we care about – occupied as we are with the minutiae of life and the lure of social media. Relationships suffer when we can’t find ways to stay in touch with those who matter in our world. And, that’s beyond unfortunate.
Research shows that strong relationships help us live longer and happier lives with fewer health problems. And by the way, it’s not the number of friends you have, or whether or not you’re in a committed relationship, but rather the QUALITY of your close relationships that makes the difference. (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 – 17.09 – Kindness Costs Us Nothing
May 3, 2017
Reflection: A recent conversation amongst friends led to an exchange of stories about odd behaviours. Of course, those would be odd behaviours exhibited by others, because nothing we ever do is odd at all!
The most unusual contribution to the conversation was the story of a condo neighbor who grows a bit more confused each day and exhibits some of the early signs of dementia. She has taken to propping her front door open, and positioning herself in a chair where she can see all the foot traffic in the hall.
As people come and go throughout the day, she waves and greets them like long lost friends each time they pass by. Most of us agreed that would be an annoying neighborly behavior to have to deal with every day.
However, the friend who shared the story – who lives down the hall from the woman with the open door policy – simply smiled and remarked, “Kindness costs us nothing.” (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 – 16.32 – Could What You Have Really Be Enough?
December 14, 2016
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…)