Pause Blog On Overload, Overwhelm & Life In General

PAUSE – 15.06 – Cool Down To Calm Down

Yikes-wReflection: In a recent Pause message, Could You Be A More Reassuring Presence, I shared a few ideas for supporting others when things go sideways in their lives.

But what if it’s an event in your own life that’s giving you grief? How can you avoid getting unnecessarily bent out of shape when life sends a mind-bending challenge your way? How do you handle your own reactions when things go wrong?

 

Action: Here’s a five-step approach to bring relief and help you find your way back to a more even keel. Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Life Balance, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines, Wellness

PAUSE – 15.05 – What’s Waiting For You?

Goodbye Hello-300w

 

My Thoughts: This week I’m saying goodbye to the self-created expectation (and 14 year practice) of publishing a ‘full featured’ Pause message every single week.

Every second week, I’ll be alternating the traditional version with a simpler more visual message like this. Makes me wonder what’s around the corner waiting to greet me.

 

Your Thoughts:

What do you think about Coelho’s observation?

To what might you be ready to say goodbye? 

What might be lingering around the corner waiting for you to make more space for it in your life?

 

News Notes: I’ve had a couple of clients ask me recently, “Pat, with all the traveling and painting that you are doing these days, are you still speaking?” Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Life Balance, Life in General, Pause E-zines, Pause Poster Message

PAUSE – 15.03– Could You Be A More Reassuring Presence?

Sails At Sea-wReflection: Skinned knees, broken hearts, failing health, cancelled projects, empty coffers. It’s always something, and in this world of ours there’s no shortage of ‘somethings’. So, how to help?

A toddler who falls and scrapes his knee needs a band-aid and a hug, and our reassurance that things are going to be all right.

A friend who is reeling from a challenging health diagnosis needs us to hold steady in the moment of crisis, acknowledge the fear and uncertainty, and reassure her that we’re there for the long haul.

In the face of excessive loads, overwhelm and setbacks, our colleagues at work need reassurance, too – just not in a hug and band-aid sort of way.

They need us to acknowledge their distress and express confidence that somehow we’ll get through this together – that we’ll be all right.

All right doesn’t mean perfect or stress-free. The present may well be painful, the road forward rocky, and the outcome less than ideal. All right means that we trust we’ll have the resilience to make it through, and the strength to deal with whatever comes up.

The most helpful form of reassurance is far more than a blithe and condescending: “There there, you poor thing. It’ll all be better soon.” Instead, it comes from a deep sense of presence, a genuine feeling of care and understanding, and compassionate expression.

 

Action: There are many ways to be a more reassuring presence in the lives of others at work and at home. Here are four to get you started: Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Life Balance, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines, Wellness

PAUSE – 14.40 – Contentment Is Highly Underrated

Santa Sleigh Cropped600-withsig-wReflection: I’ve been thinking a lot about contentment. You may recall that I first wrote about this concept back in September, in a Pause message titled How do YOU Cultivate Contentment.

What is it? Mainly a state of satisfaction, an ease of being, a peace of mind. That makes contentment the antithesis of envy, striving and anxiety. It’s a state of mind in which we find a way to be at ease and at peace – perhaps even happy – with our lot in life at the moment. It’s an inward disposition – a mindset – and it’s not a choice that someone else can make for us.

In a world of overwhelm and overload, contentment is an oasis, an island of tranquility. While the feeling may or may not last long, in the moment it soothes, uplifts, and brings us joy.

You’ve probably seen contentment in the sleepy milk fed expression of a baby nodding off to dreamland. You’ve maybe seen contentment writ large across the faces of doting elders in the presence of their grand and great grandchildren.

It seems that those of us in the busy years between new life and nearer death lose touch with both the idea and experience of contentment.

My wish for you as this year winds to a close, is that you find ways to tap into contentment – wherever you are and whatever your state. It ‘s not necessary for all to be perfect, done, or as we might wish it to be. Simply appreciate who you are and what you have in the moment, and know that a sense of wonder and a spirit of gratitude are afoot.

As the new year approaches, with its new resolutions and fresh intentions, consider adding cultivating contentment to your list of goals, and see how it enriches your world.

I’ve been collecting thoughts and quotes on contentment to share with you as a way of closing out 2014. I hope you enjoy reading and reflecting on these thoughts.

May you welcome contentment into your world with open arms. Blessings to you all.

Holly210

 

Thoughts On Contentment: Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Life Balance, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines, Wellness

PAUSE – 14.39 – What Are You Waiting For?

Airplane crtoon-wReflection: As we lift off the runway on the flight home from Toronto to Saskatoon, something seems wrong. On our ascent, we level out too quickly, even drop a bit in elevation, and the sounds are off.

Within five minutes of take-off, the pilot announces a malfunction with the nose gear on the plane. It appears to be locked in the down position and refuses to retract. (Better that than the other way around!) He intends to return to Toronto after calculating how much fuel we need to burn off before it’s safe to land.

A half hour later we learn we will be working off another 45 minutes of fuel. In total, we spend an hour and a half zigging, zagging, and circling the skies over southern Ontario.

It’s an interesting experience to find yourself in a situation totally out of your control where your next 90 minutes may or may not be your last. What would you do in that place with that time?

I thought about it, and rejected the idea of reading the newspaper, watching a movie, or going over my notes from my conference. Those activities all seemed a bit pointless – distractions at best. I thought briefly about writing a note to those I love. But that seemed a tad melodramatic.

And so, I simply thought about my recent connections with those who are dear to me. I’d spoken with my husband by phone each of the days I’d been away. I’d visited with my folks the day before I’d headed east. I’d spent the previous weekend with daughter number one and her family in Calgary. I’d traded phone calls and messages making a plan to meet for lunch with daughter number two.

I’d connected with all five of my sisters as we worked through plans for Christmas dinner. I’d shared laughs and great conversations with my friends and business colleagues at the conference. I’d recently spent an afternoon with a group of women friends who meet two or three times a year. I’d posted encouraging comments on the Facebook posts of several dear friends. I’d spoken with the neighbors making a plan for a get together first thing in the new year.

Sure, there were plenty of loose ends and things undone that also flashed through my mind. I could easily have created a long list of tasks awaiting attention – programs to plan, gifts to buy, books to sell, and art to make. But, somehow that all seemed secondary and nowhere near as important as whether or not I was current with the key people in my world. Had the most important words been said and deepest feelings shared?  Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Life Balance, Life in General, Pause E-zines, Travel

PAUSE – 14.38 – What’s It Take To Feel In Charge?

Pile of Books-wReflection: For several decades now I’ve been a student of productivity, effectiveness, balance and other things related to living ‘the good life’. As you may have noticed, there is no shortage of info on this topic.

Each time I hear about a new book in this area or see a magazine with a related article, I find myself drawn to check it out. I’m always hoping that there might be a new technique, a new idea, a new strategy– an insider secret that would be helpful to me that I could share with you.

At this point in my research I often find myself more disappointed than delighted. New expressions of longstanding ideas is often the best I can find.

And that leads me to consider that what we need may not be more information, but more execution. We need to act on what we already know pays off. And that thought led me to consider, ‘What is it that works?’

 

Action: To boil down 30 years of digging around in this area, here is my shortlist legacy of learnings about leading a productive, balanced and meaningful life. Read More…

Posted under Life Balance, Life in General, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines, Wellness

PAUSE – 14.36 – What Can You Do To Brighten Things Up?

Weeping Willow Cottage

Weeping Willow Cottage

Reflection: December is just around the corner. The sun (at least here in the northern hemisphere where I live) is taking its own sweet time creeping over the horizon in the morning, while racing to darkness at the end of the day.

It seems like the ideal time to address one of the questions that came out of the Pause ezine reader survey conducted earlier this year. One Pause reader asked, “How do you brighten up the workplace?”

It’s an interesting question. If your daily experience delivers some combination of dim, dark, dingy, depressing or drab, it can be a real downer. (Sorry about that, there seemed to be a lot of loose d’s hanging around my keyboard!)

So let’s take a look at actions that could reverse the trend and bring a bit of lightness and levity.

 

Action: Here are a handful of ways to brighten your workplace. You might find one or more helpful. Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Life Balance, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines, Wellness

PAUSE – 14.35 – Always On Guard? Often Off Balance!

RelaxReflection: When I speak and write about granting our selves and each other permission to pause, many people grasp the idea in quick order. They can see that there’s a strong case for renewal and re-energizing in the face of overwhelming demands. It makes sense on an intellectual level.

But, that message doesn’t always make it from the brain to the gut – where so many of our decisions and choices are actually made. As a result, the idea literally does not sit well with us.

Now, as you know, it is possible to force yourself to sit down for a moment to catch your breath and take a break. But how often does that rest take the form of a tentative perch on the edge of your seat, burdens still at hand, muscles tensed to lift off again at a moment’s notice, brain on high alert?

That’s not much of a break especially when compared to option B. You drop into a chair and drop into the moment. You let your body be surrounded and supported, relax your muscles, set your burdens aside, and tell your brain to take a hike.

It’s the same 30-60-90 seconds, but it’s a significantly difference experience.

 

Action: The next time you sense you need to step back for a few moments, pay close attention to your approach. Read More…

Posted under Life Balance, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines, Wellness

PAUSE – 14.34 – Need A Real Alignment?

Alignment-wReflection: Sometimes our best intentions and our everyday actions are not that well aligned.

A few cases in point:

  • We say, ‘To make a long story short…’ and then we make a short story long.
  • We feel virtuous about stocking up on healthy fruit and vegetables. But, do we eat them? No, we just let them waste away.
  • We buy new running shoes and set up the treadmill, and then let them collect dust in the corner.
  • We repeatedly show up late to appointments because there is always ‘something unexpected’ that gets in our way.

I recently led a training session for a group of leaders. They started the day by sharing how much they had been learning about the importance of being present to their staff – listening and attending with care. Many of them then proceeded to spend a big chunk of our time together flipping through messages and texting on their smart phones.

At the root of the issue is the quality of our self awareness – the ability to see ourselves as we really are. It’s an essential skill, but one that can be tough to cultivate.

Because we’re privy to our intentions – spoken and unspoken – we cut ourselves a LOT of slack. We credit ourselves with points for our good intentions and don’t deduct points for our less than ideal behaviors.

What really matters most, though, is our actions. And it is those actions that build or destroy our health or our relationships and establish our character – both on the inside and through the eyes of others.

 

Action: How do you get better at self awareness and alignment? Read More…

Posted under Life Balance, Life in General, Pause E-zines, Wellness

PAUSE – 14.32 – Are You Charting Your High Level View?

PumpkinGal-w-borderReflection: I do value the Task List/Reminder List on my electronic calendar. Still, if I work and think only at the level of small individual tasks, I end up feeling like I’m stuck in the weeds or mired in the swamp. No matter how many of those bits and pieces get accomplished (write this, call him, brief her, deliver that), there are always ten more items flooding in to take their place.

To catch my breath and get a grip, I need to rise above the small task minutiae. I need access to the big picture, and, like oxygen, I need it often.

Here’s a practice that’s worked for me. I’ve cultivated the habit of taking twenty minutes at the beginning of each month to cultivate that higher level view; and I take another ten minutes at the beginning of each week to take stock for the next seven days.

I remind myself of my larger goals for the year. I look over the calendar for the next few months or weeks. I think about the season of the year and the rhythm of my work.

I sift. I sort. And, I actually write by hand a brief list of things to focus on for work, family, community and myself over the coming month or the coming week.

Then each day before I dive into the accumulated bits and pieces on my task list, I look at the overview for the week and use that big picture to keep things in perspective. I try to make sure that the task list on most days includes at least an item or two that contribute to those big picture points of focus. It helps…a lot! Read More…

Posted under Life Balance, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines