Pause Gem #37 – Small Steps Matter

Pause Gems-wEditor’s Note: For the remainder of the summer, your weekly Pause blog postings will feature the ‘Best of Pause’. These are readers’ favorite messages from the earlier years of the Pause e-zine.

Whether you are a long time subscriber, or new to our list, I sincerely hope you enjoy these messages. Come September, your messages will once again feature all new info and resources.


Reflection & Action: It’s in a backward glance that the patterns often appear. As I think about many things that have unfolded in my own life, I can usually pinpoint one action or one choice that steered me in certain directions.

Saying yes to a summer job my first year of University introduced me to a line of work that ended up changing my college major in the near term, and my career direction over the long haul.

Agreeing to a coffee date with a classmate at University led me to meet and later marry the love of my life.

Writing a letter to the editor of our daily newspaper led to an invitation to write a column, which in turn launched a weekly writing habit that led to publishing the first of five books.

First steps can point us in many directions. Some lead to an uphill climb and others to a downhill slide. Much of life’s progress or regress boils down to our moment by moment choices and actions.

So, here’s the thing. Read More…

Posted under Life in General, Pause E-zines

PAUSE – 16.21 – The Powerful Impact Of Powering Down

RenewalReflection:  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. Read More…

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

PAUSE – 16.20 – Are You Standing Up & Stepping Out?

Abstract - Time To Start Something New-w


My Thoughts:

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…?’


Your Thoughts:

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!



News Notes:

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. Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Life Balance, Life in General, Pause Poster Message, Spark/Malaise, Wellness

PAUSE – 16.19 – Might You Need to Recalibrate Success?

Step to Success-wReflection: Funny creatures we are – us human beings! Sometimes me thinks we thinks too much! Cogitating on this! Judging that! Setting implausible expectations!

A speaker colleague of mine, Ron Culberson, recently observed in his blog post on significance that he feared his Success Meter was not calibrated properly. (Read more about his observations in today’s Resource of the Week link).

By way of example, he reports feeling like he’s failed if, by end of day, he hasn’t done something that registers somewhere between noteworthy and stupendous. I’ve been there myself. Have you?

Last week I spoke for the Spiritual Care Association of Saskatchewan. This is a group of people who face really tough situations every single day.

They provide support for individuals and their families when the prospects for a long life or a speedy recovery are just not there. It’s emotionally demanding work – often with no practical, tangible way to ‘solve the problem’ or ‘make things right’.

In many of those tough, end-of-life moments, it’s simply their presence that they can offer. There’s nothing to be done except be there and be available. And, you know what? That counts a lot.


Action: Are there days when your expectations take a crazymaking tilt? Are there days when you stomp on yourself for falling short of your aspirations? Read More…

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

PAUSE – 16.18 – Are You Blind To Abundance?

Lemons & Lemonade - Abundance Quote-300w-100-border-credit


My Thoughts:

We live in a world that promotes accumulation and acquisition at every turn. Surely you must need this, a little more of that, and while you’re at it, a dash of something else?

In our never-ending quest for more, we may be overlooking the value in what’s already present in our lives.

When I get caught up in the hunt, I envision my maternal grandfather, John St Clair Hamilton. He was a man who never tired of a simple cup of tea and a slice of bread with jam. What’s more, he enjoyed it every single day.


Your Thoughts:

What parts of your everyday experience might you be taking for granted?

Experience that abundance more deeply, and you just might keep the ‘Hounds of Lack’ at bay.


News Notes: Link Access Problems?

I do my best to check and double check each URL to make sure they are alive and well. Sometimes I mess up and make a cut and paste error. I appreciate it when readers draw my attention to errant or missing links. So do let me know if you’re having trouble.

In recent weeks, several Pause readers have contacted me indicating they are not able to access some of the web links that are featured in the Pause ezine messages. They are receiving a message that forbids their access.

I’ve checked and all the links have been correct. In these situations, it is most likely that there are settings at the receiving end that prevent access to certain kinds of materials. Banning You Tube videos is a common workplace restriction.

If you have problems, please know that there are a couple of options. One would be to forward the message and/or links to your home computer, and see if you can access from there.

Another option is to visit the Pause Blog on my website at: All e-zines are also posted to my blog complete with the live links. You may find that accessing a link from the blog works when accessing it from an email message does not.

Hope this helps those of you who may be experiencing these problems.


Posted under Appreciation, Life in General, Pause Poster Message, Wellness

PAUSE – 16.17 – Clear The Decks And Lighten The Load

Heavy LoadReflection: Life’s been busy these last few weeks with program design and delivery, travel, visits with family and friends, and springtime in the garden. All good things – yet challenging, too.

And so it felt good over the long weekend to experience the positive impact of tidying up. Not in a Marie Kondo ‘tossing things out’ kind of way. The experience was more about making things right – which in turn made things light.

On Friday, my last act in the office (which happens to be in my home) was to clear the desk and stash the miscellany. Everything done? No way. But without visible piles and papers, there was nothing calling my name each time I passed by.

On Saturday, I moved the lawn, trimmed shrubs and weeded a few perennial beds. Finished? No. But a whole lot better than before.

On Sunday, I transplanted flowers sheltering in the garage into pots and planters around the garden. Complete? No. But the garage is empty and that feels great.

On Monday, I tackled many loads of laundry, while dusting and vacuuming the house. Through neglect and spring doings, the place was a disaster from one end to the other. Perfect? Hah! Nothing will ever pass the white glove test in my world! But good enough – with no more garden grit underfoot.

And so, as I write this on Tuesday morning, I’m feeling grounded for having brought a bit more order to my world, and I’m ready to welcome the tasks of the week ahead. Read More…

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

PAUSE – 16.16 – Time And Time Again

StarPhoenixClock72-Posterwith text & border-300w


My Thoughts:  April, May and June are ripe with birthday celebrations in our family. I’ve noticed there’s nothing that marks the passage of time quite so clearly as those annual celebrations of our arrival on this planet.

This quote suggests, “You can’t turn back time, but you can wind it up again!” There’s some truth in that. A good night’s sleep, for instance, tops your tank and gifts you with a brand new day at sunrise.

A fresh interest that challenges you and brings you joy also has a way of ‘turning back time’. It makes you feel more energetic and engaged in life and – if not younger – at least more youthful in spirit.


Your Thoughts: What experiences wind you up again? And are you making time for those things in your life?

And, when was the last time you tried something new or different? Could today be that day?


News Notes:  Engagement Series Final Session Still Has A Few Open Spaces

I’ve really enjoyed delivering the first two sessions in a three part Series on Engagement through the University of Saskatchewan Edwards School of Business.

Session One focused on Fueling Enthusiasm. We had a full house of very enthusiastic participants. Some organizations brought several people to the session so they could support each other in applying the ideas back in the workplace.

Session Two focused on Boosting Energy. It was a treat to see how well attendees engaged with those ideas. I know that applying what they learned will pay off for themselves and those around them, too.

Session Three will be focusing on Tapping Passion – Moving Beyond Mid-Life Malaise. It is just around the corner, and will be delivered on the 9th of June here in Saskatoon. There are still a few seats available in the program.

If you’ve been interested in the ideas I’ve been sharing on this topic, here’s your chance to engage with them first hand – to see how they might fit into your own life, and to become a more effective support to others who find themselves in danger of rusting out.

Here is the link to the program details and registration information. Hope to see you there.


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

PAUSE – 16.15 – Get to The Root Of The Matter

RootsandRocks-wReflection: One of my favorite features in our backyard garden is a pond and stream nestled under the giant Scots Pine. I love watching the goldfish glide through the water and the songbirds splash in the stream.

That pond has also been a source of great consternation. For the last few years, keeping the water level up has been a challenge. As you might guess, the idea of fish out of water – literally – is not a pretty thought.

Over time, I’ve attempted a lot of different fixes. I wrapped the hose that carries the water from the pond to the top of the stream in a vinyl liner so any leaks would funnel back into the pond. I sealed around the spout at the top of the stream so the water no longer splashes over the edges.

I adjusted the pump and filter to control the flow of water in the stream. All were temporary fixes at best. At the end of the season last year, the water level in the pond still dropped six inches every single day.

This spring I decided a major dismantling of the streambed was in order, and that’s how I spent last Friday. I took the whole thing apart – stone by stone – and as it turned out, root by root.

Apparently the Scots pine that shelters the pond had claimed the stream as its own private drinking fountain. In three separate places, one-inch diameter roots had crept over the bank and into the stream – sending out smaller rootlets both up and down the waterway.

It took me four hours of steady work to rid the stream of a four-inch thick mat of roots and to free the rocks and stones held captive within. I traced the big roots back and cut each of them as far from the stream as possible.

I’m sure they’ll move in again, but this time I know to watch for it and will hopefully catch them sooner rather than later.

The fix was not easy – and it may not be permanent. But, at least I’m feeling more confident that this time I actually got to the root of the matter. Time will tell. Read More…

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

PAUSE – 16.14 – Lighten Up & Relax



My Thoughts:

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.


Your Thoughts:

With respect to a burden or two in your world today, where could you lighten up and relax?


News Notes:

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.

Posted under Life Balance, Life in General, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause Poster Message, Wellness

PAUSE – 16.13 – Collective Gratitudes

Grateful-wToday’s Pause message is given over to the collective voice of Pause readers.

You may recall, back in February of 2016, I celebrated 30 years in business. As a way of marking the milestone and expressing my gratitude I invited readers to enter a draw for three give-aways. To enter the draw, Pause readers were asked to share a few lines about something they were grateful for in their own lives.

The responses were amazing and inspiring. I thought you might appreciate them, too. And, so I asked contributors for permission to share their gratitudes with the Pause community.

With thanks for the gift of permission from those who said yes, that collection appears here. I hope you find these reflections as insightful and uplifting as I did. Thanks, Pause Readers. You rock!

Pour yourself a cuppa coffee and dive into this pool of Collective Gratitudes.




GF writes: I’m grateful for connection. To those who came before me who held me in their arms. To those I walk beside, with hand folded into hand. To those I break a path for, unknown, imagined, loved.


SM writes: I am grateful for becoming more content and accepting of what I bring and contribute to the world.


JC writes: I am grateful to be alive and healthy.  I am grateful to be a mother, wife, sister and daughter, and I am grateful to have insight to recognize that I do the best I can everyday.


MS writes: I’m thankful for so many things; good health, good friends, a wonderful job and a loving family.  I am also thankful for unanswered prayers as the song goes.  Many times over the course of my life I have tried to head down a particular path because I thought I really wanted or needed to do that; but the universe had other plans for me.  Of course I was disappointed and discouraged because I felt that I had somehow missed a huge opportunity.  In hindsight the direction my life took was exactly right for me.  What I thought I wanted would not have been nearly as fulfilling as where I am now.  In spite of myself, I have ended up exactly where I need to be.


Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Pause E-zines