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

PAUSE – 15.22 – What If? Life Lessons From The Road



Reflection: After a vacation, I like to take a bit of time to reflect on the experience.

There’s an element of savoring involved – remembering people and places, incidents and moments.

And, for me, any kind of noticing usually triggers lessons as well.

As I thought about this summer’s travel experiences, it occurred to me that there are some lessons that might be applied to everyday life.

I’m sharing them here in the hope they might be helpful for you, too.



Action: When I’m traveling, it seems so much easier to dress for the day. Choices are limited to what fits in one suitcase. What if we simplified those decisions everyday by streamlining our wardrobes at home?

The touring days that are most satisfying are those where we narrow the focus to one or two places or experiences rather than trying to jam too much into a short period of time. What if we narrowed our everyday focus to a couple of high priority items and stopped trying to do it all at once?

Some of the most ease-filled moments on vacation occur when we give ourselves time and space to put up our feet and take a break. Whether it’s catching a nap, dipping into a book, or jotting a few notes in the travel journal, there’s something to be said for retreating and regrouping. What if we made a regular habit of stepping away from the press of everyday activity to refresh our energy and reflect on our experience? Read More…

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

PAUSE – 15.21 – What Does Wishing You The Best Really Mean?

Best Things In life-wMy Thoughts: As you close a written message, perhaps you (like me) occasionally use the phrase: All the Best.

I recently looked at those words as I typed them on my screen and paused to consider what they really meant.

I know the phrase expresses my good intentions and positive wishes.

I also know that ‘best’ doesn’t refer to designer clothes, high-end cars, or big time paychecks.

The quote expressed in the image above does a pretty decent job of capturing the meaning: “The best things in life are the people we love, the places we’ve been, and the memories we’ve made along the way.”


Your Thoughts: As we move through the halfway point of summer, how can you best use your time and your resources to appreciate the people you love, enjoy the places you visit, and make more memories along the way?


News Notes: Read More…

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

PAUSE – 15.20 – A Little Distance Makes A Big Difference

Reflection: What do you see when you look around? Burdens and responsibilities or delights and opportunities? And how much of a difference might it make if you could put a little distance between yourself and those everyday demands?

Vacations and time out matter. Not only for the richness of adventure and creation of new memories, but also for the perspective that comes with distance. Re-entry, after a time away, brings with it the opportunity to appreciate everyday life anew.

In our recent weeks of adventuring, we discovered that the Hermitage in St Petersburg holds some amazing artistic treasures. The fields of lavender and sunflowers in Provence are every bit as compelling in person as they are in pictures. The sounds of Paris are like nowhere else in the world – with the wha-wha of police sirens overlaying the bells of Notre Dame.

And now that we’re back, we’re finding that our time away changes our experience of being here. Read More…

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

PAUSE – 15.19 – Take Advantage Of Those Everyday Opportunities For Joy

Thimble Bucket Joy-w
My Thoughts:

Much energy is given to contemplating the idea of a bucket list – the aspirations we have for those once-in-a-lifetime experiences (like sky-diving, canoeing the Amazon, or visiting the pyramids).

There’s nothing wrong with thinking and dreaming big. The challenge is that so much of our everyday life plays out on a much smaller scale.

Because of this, Jennifer Louden recommends writing yourself a Thimble List. That’s a list of tiny thrills and joys that you want to experience often – things like:

  • surprising a client with an unexpected kindness
  • savoring a bowl of juicy strawberries
  • sharing laughs and adventures with a two year old
  • reading a great novel while stretched out in the shade

Ticking items off the bucket list is great; and engaging in small pleasures can be every bit as satisfying.


Your Thoughts:

Pause for a few minutes this week with pen and paper in hand.

Start your very own Thimble List. Post it somewhere to prompt you to take advantage of those everyday opportunities for joy.


News Notes:

Travel Plans – Most years, my husband and I usually plan our travel adventures for ‘off season’. This year, we’re trying something different and adventuring across the pond to experience the height of summer in points European. While we travel, I’ll be taking a month-long hiatus from creating these messages. Look for your next Pause ezine in your mailbox on July 22.

Malaise News – Thanks to all who offered their opinions on possible titles for programs on the topic of malaise. These phrases were amongst the top runners:

  • From Bored to Restored
  • Engagement Is An Inside Job
  • Spark A New Journey
  • Moving Through & Moving On
  • From Tired To Inspired
  • From Deflated to Elated

Although I haven’t yet settled on the final title, your feedback was very helpful in sorting the list and advancing the cause. Much appreciated!

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

PAUSE – 15.18 – Character Is Every Bit As Remark-able As Accomplishment

Reflection: A noteworthy accomplishment or contribution is the most common trigger for extending appreciation to colleagues.

  • They’ve gone out of their way to lend a hand or pave the way.
  • They’ve committed their time and energy to something – perhaps even going above and beyond the call of duty.
  • They’ve certified, qualified or been promoted.
  • They’ve met or exceeded goals for sales, transactions, or deliverables – whatever is measured that’s deemed to count.
  • They’ve met a mid point project milestone or wound it up completely and sent it on its way.

Celebrating what others DO is important.

So, too, is the celebration of who people ARE – their character and their way of being in this world.

  • Perhaps someone is just naturally friendly or cordial – day in and day out.
  • Perhaps someone is very approachable – the kind of person who injects warmth into every interaction with colleagues and clients.
  • Perhaps someone is quick to quip – to crack a joke that lightens the mood.
  • Someone may be especially compassionate – highly tuned to the feelings of others and skilled at finding just the right words in a tough situation.

These characteristics – often taken for granted or overlooked – don’t always trigger a reading on the old appreci-ometer.

But they could and they should; because it’s precisely these ways of being that make such a positive difference in our relationships and our workplace cultures. Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Communication, Pause E-zines