PAUSE – 15.32 – Let Life Flow When You Don’t Quite Know

Begin end in MindReflection: One of the most frequently referenced sources of advice about how to live your life is Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. ‘Start with the end in mind’ is one of those habits.

It’s a laser-beamed and focused approach that’s not without its challenges. Most notably you have to come up with the ‘end’ – the big idea or the grand life purpose – depending on the scale you’re working on. And, you risk overlooking opportunities of iinterest that lie closer at hand.

There’s another approach we could take as well – that of simply being more aware of our current state and the call or appeal of the opportunities that sit directly in front of us.

Those choices are echoed in author Stephen King’s observation that there are two ways to write a book. You either start with your outcome in mind and write in that direction, or you come up with a situation that has tension and see where your imagination takes you. You let the characters respond and the plot unfold. Read More…

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

PAUSE – 15.31 – Move It Out And Move Along

Get Rid Of What You Don't Want

My Thoughts:

In her Ted Talk on successful aging, 71 year old author and activist, Isabelle Allende, remarked, “It’s great to let go. I should have started sooner.”

That comment made me laugh. I, too, know the relief that comes from letting go – whether it’s an outdated goal, a long held grudge, or as you see in the poster image featured here, possessions that have outlived their usefulness.

A couple of months ago, I actually purged these books from my office. 125 books and seven cardboard boxes later, they were off the shelves, off my mind, and headed into the hands of others who were ready to welcome them aboard. What a relief to lighten up in this way! Read More…

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

PAUSE – 15.30 – Your Contributions Truly Make A Difference

Mas St Antoine-Courtyard-1-wReflection: I’ve long been a fan of Daniel Pink’s work on motivation (and have occasionally featured his ideas in previous Pause messages). So, it was a great thrill for me to meet him and hear him speak when I served as MC for last week’s Saskatchewan Human Resource Association Conference.

It’s not often that you hear an author tell you to skip a chapter in his previous book, because his thinking has changed. But, tell us he did!

If you’re not familiar with Pink’s model of motivation, here’s a recap.

Pink believes that we are intrinsically motivated (from the inside out) by three things:

  • Purpose (participating in something meaningful and larger than ourselves)
  • Autonomy (being in charge of our choices)
  • Mastery (desire to get better at something that matters)

What has he changed his mind about? Read More…

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

PAUSE – 15.29 – Give Thanks And Get Relief

Gratitude Rocks Poster-w

 

My Thoughts:

A recent weekend was chuck full of responsibilities, errands, duties, tasks, tidying, scrubbing, chores, jobs and more jobs. You name it, we did it! With a full life of your own, I’m sure you know what I mean.

It would have been easy to spend those hours in a state of irritation. I’ve done that in the past.

However, this time around, I decided to switch it up. I held this idea in mind instead: I’m grateful that I have a home to clean, a garden to maintain, and the strength to do both.

Same number of hours – totally different experience! Read More…

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

PAUSE – 15. 28 – What Do Teflon And Velcro Have To Do With Anything?

Teflon or Velcro?Reflection: What role are Teflon and Velcro playing in YOUR life?

Rick Hanson suggests that we add unnecessary stress to our lives by coating ourselves with Teflon for positive experiences and comments. We let the good stuff slide right off and disappear.

At the same time, we cover ourselves with Velcro for negative experiences and comments. We let the negatives sink their hooks into us. That makes it tough to shake them off.

According to Ruth Baczynski you can tell that Velcro is governing your life when you are quick to take offence, feel hurt and withdraw, or get angry and pick a battle.

In her view, we need to be less hyper-reactive – to jump less often to conclusions, to manufacture fewer crises from minor incidents, and stop letting ourselves be hooked by imagined slights.

 

Action: Pay close attention to your tendency to get hooked. Talk yourself down from those ledges of your own invention. Read More…

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

PAUSE – 15.27 – Let The Fall Lift You Up

Change of Season-w

My Thoughts:

Nothing marks the passage of time more dramatically than the changing of the seasons. Here on the Canadian prairies, the days are growing shorter, the temperatures are dropping, and the colors are changing.

Why not let the shifting of the season be a catalyst for other changes in your world?

 

Your Thoughts:

Are there relationships or organizations that have faded in importance and no longer mean as much to you?

Are there tasks that were once a delight that now feel like heavy obligations?

Are there new pursuits calling for your attention – urging you to make time and space for them?

This could be the perfect season to let go of something you’ve outgrown while reaching out for something new. Where could you make changes for the better? How could you let fall lift you up? Read More…

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

PAUSE – 15.26 – Short Circuit Second Hand Stress

Stress-wReflection: Members of a public service group once described to me the impact one of their leaders had on the entire team. This leader was highly unpredictable. One day he would arrive at work – all smiles and sunshine. The next day he would barge through the door with a heart of darkness – tossing glares, mean words and criticisms left and right as he made his way down the hall to his office.

Net result? Members of the team kept their heads down (literally cowering at their desks) until the boss arrived, and they knew which way the wind would blow that day.

I was reminded of this experience when I read Achor and Gielan’s article on Secondhand Stress in Harvard Business Review.

They describe how our brains are wired for emotional contagion. The up side is that this makes us empathetic towards others. However, there is a shadow side. We end up absorbing negative emotions, stress and uncertainty just like second hand smoke.

Being in the presence of someone who is highly stressed and stressful has a negative impact on our own nervous systems. We start pumping high levels of cortisol through our bodies just by virtue of being a bystander to someone else’s stress.

You might have noticed this phenomenon yourself. The challenge is how to deal with it.

 

Action: Here are three ways to inoculate yourself against second hand stress. Read More…

Posted under Life Balance, Overload & Overwhelm, Wellness

PAUSE – 15.25 – It Only Take A Spark

Spark c text border-w

 

My Thoughts: “It only takes a spark to get a fire going; and soon all those around will warm up to its glowing.” That’s the opening line of a tune by Kurt Kaiser that may be familiar to many.

Once upon a time, in a life long ago, I adapted those lyrics in the form of a friendship song for a summer camp that I directed. From time to time, that tune still shows up as an earworm in my brain. I don’t mind. The words still ring as true today as they did back then.

When you are excited about something in your world, when you have a light in your eyes and even a most modest fire in your belly, the impact (on you and others around you) is both positive and contagious.

 

Your Thoughts: What’s lighting up your life these days? And if things are feeling just a tad dark and chilly, where and how might you find a way to strike a spark? Read More…

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

PAUSE – 15.24 – And Now For Something Completely Different

Wash Stand-wReflection: Last week was busy for me. Maybe it was for you, too.

I worked on the design for upcoming September presentations, met with clients to share info on programs, provided impromptu daycare for my 8 year old grandson, scanned and posted more of my sketches from Europe, and so it went.

There was progress on several fronts, and I loved it all. Still, by the end of the week, my brain was weary and my body was tired from too much time spent in front of the computer.

I found myself casting around for a weekend activity that would meet this criteria: ‘And now for something completely different…’ (Thank you Month Python.)

I found the answer hiding in my garage in the form of an old washstand that I inherited as a treasure from the farm. It was coated with varnish discolored over time. About a year ago I bought supplies to refinish and refurbish.

And that was how I came to spend three hours on Saturday morning laboring away in the garage where the airflow could blow away the fumes. Read More…

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

PAUSE – 15.23 – Small Things Can Be Big Deals

Morrocan Pots-w-Lookclosely-small

 

My Thoughts:  Do you resist breaking into your happy dance – or cracking a big old toothy grin – until something REALLY important and UBER COOL happens?

If so, you’re missing out on a host of everyday opportunities to celebrate life’s good stuff as it marches on by.

So much is easily overlooked; but once noticed, it’s just as easily appreciated. I noticed these beauties perched on a shelf while waiting for lunch in Café Arabe in Marrakech. BUT, you don’t have to go halfway around the world to get the point or the picture.

 

Your Thoughts:  Why not get on it today? Right where you are!

Train your mind and your eye to catch and celebrate life’s small and beautiful – actions, things and experiences. They’re right here – right under your nose.

Now go ahead. Don’t be shy! Let loose your grin and your happy dance! Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Life in General, Pause Poster Message