An all-white painting by pop artist, Robert Rauschenberg – marked sold with the proverbial red dot?
Both good guesses – but you’d be wrong.
It’s White Space – AKA yesterday’s square on my calendar. And as you can see, it was completely empty.
What it meant is that there was no place I need to go and there was no one who was expecting me to show up. I could have declared it an all-day pajama day if I were so inclined. And, in fact, I did treat myself to an afternoon nap on a rainy afternoon! (more…)
Wishing You The Best Of The Season
December 30, 2021
As the calendar turns on our second year of the Covid 19 Pandemic, we know more and we’re protected some; but the virus and our understanding of it keep changing. If there was ever a time for resilience, this would be it!
With the introduction of vaccines throughout 2021, some of life’s normal activities returned. Even being able to do simple things like meeting for coffee or sharing a meal were greatly appreciated.
In our world, all but the most modest of travels were curtailed. What took on great significance for me were short visits with nearby family. I had missed them so.
In recent years, I’ve made it a practice to sum up our family’s year in photos. As you will see from the Katz Family Christmas Letter 2021 included here, we continued to find joy and pleasure in spite of the various restrictions of our times. We’re especially grateful for blessings of good health.
May this message find you well and looking forward with hope to life as it will unfold in 2022.
Warmest wishes to you all, Pat
Take A Walk With Gratitude
October 24, 2021
Thanksgiving has come and gone and as I took my morning walk today, I remained thankful for all kinds of things. In particular, I noted how grateful I am to have my mind and my memories.
What prompted this line of thought was the news that beloved children’s author, Robert Munsch (I’ll Love You Forever, Mortimer, Thomas’ Snowsuit, The Paperbag Princess, and so many more modern classics) has been diagnosed with dementia. This means that eventually his many memories and the stories he has created over the years will be gone to him.
This made me sad, and it made me appreciate my own memories even more. Many of my earliest recollections involve (more…)
Are You Giving Yourself Time To Play?
September 8, 2021
I could not resist! Driving home recently from a late afternoon appointment, I cruised by the kiddies’ rides in Kinsmen Park and thought to myself, “Why not?”
It was a stellar September day – sunny, calm and warm as could be – a beautiful day for a ride.
I pulled into the parking lot, bought myself tickets and hopped on a horse. When the merry go round rolled to a stop, I took to the skies on the Ferris wheel.
I ride carousels everywhere we go on our travels, and I hadn’t been on this one yet – this year!!! I’m glad I took that little detour and a timeout to play.
When I posted these photos and reflections on my experience to my Facebook page, I was struck by the dozens of responses I received. (more…)
How Are You Showing Up In The World?
June 4, 2021
David and I celebrated my birthday this week by going out for brunch. That used to be a fairly regular event in our lives, but not so recently. This was the first time we had eaten INSIDE a Saskatoon restaurant in over 15 months. Thank you Covid!
While we waited for our food to arrive, a fellow diner stopped by our table as his small party exited the restaurant. The young fellow (maybe 30ish) had been breakfasting across the way with his lady and their brand-new baby.
The fellow told us he’d noticed us through the windows, making our way along the river to the restaurant – walking hand in hand, chatting, and looking very happy.
He went on to say that seeing the two of us touched him. He hoped that he and his wife would be just as happy together as time went on; and he laughed when I told him we’d had almost 50 years of practice. How thoughtful he was to make an opportunity to share his thoughts with us. (more…)
Transitions Can Be Challenging
March 5, 2021
Transitions can be challenging.
Last week marked ten years since my parents left the farm that they had lived on all their lives to take up residence in a condo in the city.
It was a massive transition that had its pros and cons. (more…)
PAUSE – 20.10 – Checking In To Check Things Out
October 7, 2020
Reflection: Well, it’s been a good half year since all hell broke loose and our need to respond to the Covid pandemic significantly changed the way we work and live. Many folks continue to work from home, having settled into routines that may or may not be working well.
Dr. Paul White recently released the results of a survey that highlights the concerns around those working remotely from home.
Two main issues stand out.
Topping the list is a concern about the emotional and mental health of team members. How are people dealing with the roller coaster stress ride that is life in a pandemic? How are uncertainty about the future and the requisite social distancing affecting our state of mind? How do we get a real sense of people’s state when contact is limited to business focused head and shoulder zoom chats?
Secondly, there is the challenge of maintaining any sort of healthy boundaries between a home life and work life. When your front door opens to both your home and your office and you don’t know (as one person put it) ‘whether you are working from home or living from work’, how do you allocate your time and attention? What and who may be getting shortchanged? And how do you cope with feeling caught in the middle?
There were many other concerns identified in the survey, and if you check out the resource link, you can read the full report for yourself.
Action: What to do with information like this? (more…)
PAUSE – 20.06 – It’s Less Than Ideal But It’s Something
June 3, 2020
Reflection: ‘ABC’ – All Be Closed. For many of us, that’s been the global theme song for spring 2020.
‘C’ (for Covid 19) also brought us Confined. Cancelled. Called off. Crossed out. Cut.
Everyday experiences that we’ve long taken for granted – meeting friends for coffee, enjoying a meal at a restaurant, sinking into our seats at a movie theatre – all gone! Conferences, concerts, graduations, weddings, festivals, sports, vacations – evaporated into thin air.
And as we learned from our early alphabet studies, ‘C’ is followed by ‘D’. Disappointment. Disillusion. Dejection. Despondence. Distress.
Coronavirus has turned our world upside down. And, all but the courageous providers of essential services, have sheltered in place as we do our best to stay well and minimize the risks.
In the midst of the quarantine, it seems that another ‘C’ – Creativity – is lifting us from the dust of shattered dreams. (more…)
PAUSE – 20.05 – How Are You Doing At Soothing Yourself?
May 6, 2020
Reflection: These last few weeks have been an anxious time for many of us, flooded as we are by a barrage of worries and concerns.
Pick your Coronavirus induced worry of the day: personal health, finances, cancelled plans, restrictions on freedoms, wellbeing (or lack thereof) in friends and family, a downward spiraling economy … the list goes on.
If you are struggling to calm yourself down, you’re not alone.
I’m reminded of the difficulties that small children face as they learn to calm themselves in the face of disappointments, rebound from minor accidents, or simply settle down to go to sleep.
One of the measures of growing maturity – from infancy through childhood and onward is known as self-soothing – the ability to calm yourself in the face of distress.
In many ways, the depth of distress that Covid 19 has delivered our way is new to all of us. And, we’re learning all over again how to soothe ourselves in the face of worries that invade our minds at unpredictable times of day and night.
Action: If you’ve ever tried to comfort a distressed child, you’ll know that diving right in with reassurance and diversions is rarely the best place to start. We need first to simply be with them, acknowledge and hold them in their pain.
This applies to us as well. Acknowledging that we are hurting, and simply being with that hurt for a time is helpful.
Once we’ve named and owned our pain, we can open up to other practices that help us settle down. You might find a few of these helpful. I know I have. (more…)
PAUSE – 20.04 – In The Face Of Our Challenge
April 1, 2020
Two decades ago, when I began to write and speak about the value of pauses in our lives, this was definitely NOT what I had in mind.
This oh-so-necessary shelter-in-place, stay-home response to the assault of the Covid 19 virus takes the concept of pause to a whole new level. And, for many, the proverbial ‘pause that refreshes’ has the potential to morph into the ‘pause that depresses’.
Cut off from our habits of action, freedom of movement, and physical presence in each other’s lives, we are forced to confront our selves and consider what we actually do with our days.
Some are spending this time in a frenzy of productivity– cleaning and clearing, baking, polishing off projects, and more. Others not so much.
Many are exploring new ways of engaging and connecting at a distance. Zoom calls, Face Time visits, live Facebook broadcasts, and webinar offerings are at an all time high.
And social media is atwitter with well meaning tips and advice for survival in this time of global crisis.
I get it. When life goes sideways, we search for ways to create meaning for ourselves, deliver value to others, and maintain some semblance of normalcy in the face of days that are anything but normal.
That said, I can’t bring myself to prescribe advice for ‘how you should be and what you should do’ in these days and times.
So let me simply share how I’ve been approaching life in the last few weeks. Take from it what inspiration you might find helpful – and blow the rest away. (more…)