Reflection: I grew up on a farm on the prairies at a time when people lived far enough apart that a visit was something to be treasured. Neighbors often dropped by unannounced. And when that happened, the work was set aside and a fresh pot of coffee went on the stove.
If friends or family dropped in around mealtime, we added a few more potatoes to the pot, and set a few more plates and chairs around the table. We called it prairie hospitality. It came naturally – was just the way you lived and were.
These days our lives seem far more scheduled and crowded. I’ve seen people spend ten minutes comparing calendars and commitments in an attempt to find a shared open space for a visit, a coffee, or a lunch at some future place and time.
A series of recent events reminded me of the joy of spontaneity. (more…)
PAUSE – 18.12 – Are You Available To Awe?
December 5, 2018
Reflection: Familiarity brings with it a certain level of comfort and ease.
You hop in the car to head for work. Without even thinking, you steer in the standard direction of your standard route with your standard expectations about how the trip will unfold.
You walk into a social or professional gathering not sure who you will meet there. As you scan the group, you find a few familiar faces and gravitate in their direction.
You walk into your favorite coffee shop. Without even scanning the menu board to see what might be new on offer, you place your regular order for your regular drink in your regular size with your regular barista.
Same. Same. Same. Over and over and over. It’s little wonder that our daily interactions can have a distressingly numbing effect on our minds and emotions. (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 – 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 – 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…)
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…)
Pause Gem #38 – Could It Be Your Lucky Day?
July 27, 2016
Reflection & Action: It was bright and early Sunday morning, and our then four year old grandson was on the other end of the phone – brimming with enthusiasm and bubbling over with news.
“Guess what I’m having for breakfast? Toast with jam and TWO slices of cheese. Orange and white cheese – marble cheese. Marble, that’s funny! And, Mommy made me a Smoothie, too. It is SO good. And, you know what she bought me yesterday at the grocery store? Cheese strings. THOSE are my favorite. And, I’m watching the Cat In The Hat video. And he’s bouncing on the bed. I like to do that, too. AND, I get to go swimming today! I am having a VERY Lucky Day!”
That nonstop monologue turned MY groggy morning into a very Lucky Day. How can you NOT smile in the face of that kind of exuberance?
Enthusiasm is infectious. And if you have to come down with something, enthusiasm beats other viruses, hands down!
There’s no doubt, as adults, we have serious things to deal with. Yet, there are times when I know I complicate my life more than is necessary. Maybe you do, too. (more…)
PAUSE – 16.20 – Are You Standing Up & Stepping Out?
June 15, 2016
As I grow older, I seem to become less concerned about knowing how things will end before I commit to a start.
Maybe I’m more confident in my ability to handle whatever comes up.
Or maybe I’ve realized that imagining I control the outcomes is mostly an illusion anyway.
I do know that I’ve been around the block enough times to realize that the sheer act of beginning something new opens doors and invites possibilities that are never apparent when you’re hunkered down on the sidelines wondering, ‘Should I…?’
Are you toying with trying something new? Why not find a low risk way to stand up, step out, and test the waters?
Let yourself be surprised and amazed. And, let me know how it goes!
It’s just over a year since I stood up and stepped out to explore the challenges of mid life malaise. Some of you will remember responding to a survey on that topic in early 2015.
Since then, I’ve used the results of that research to craft a variety of programs on Rekindling Spark – Navigating Mid Life Malaise. Over the last six months, I’ve designed and delivered a Ted Talk, a conference keynote, a follow up breakout session, and a half day seminar.
There’s nothing like stepping out and testing new material to see if it makes a contribution and a difference. And, this most certainly does. (more…)
PAUSE 16.10 – PAT ANSWERS VIDEO: Malaise – What Can You Do To Find Your Way Through?
April 6, 2016
Welcome to the fifth in a six part series of short (3 minute) videos that explore the new topic I’ve been developing: Rekindling The Spark – Navigating Mid-Life Malaise.
The first module in the Engagement Series that I am delivering for the University of Saskatchewan Edwards School of Business is already sold out with a waiting list.
There may, however, be a few spots left in modules two and three. Check here for details on the programs and registration info.
Travel Cost Savings:
In addition to speaking at programs in and around Saskatoon, I now know that I will be presenting at events in these locations in the months ahead:
Toronto (late April)
Edmonton & Regina (June)
If you might be needing a speaker for an event or a professional development program in one of those locations around those times, give me a call (306-934-1807). I’m always happy to save on travel time, and share travel costs between clients whenever possible.
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…)