Pause Blog On Overload, Overwhelm & Life In General

PAUSE – 13.28 – All Will Be Well

Reflection: Perspective is a wonderful thing. One of the gifts of growing older is that you’ve seen a few things, experienced a few things and, hopefully, learned a few things along the way.

And, so it was with interest, that I watched the answers roll in to a question posted by a friend on Facebook. She was marking her 50th birthday with a bit of reflection. Looking back she pondered what kind of advice she might have given to her 20 year old self and invited her FB friends to share their suggestions

There was no shortage of responses to this ‘If I’d known then what I know now kind of question’. Here are some of the suggestions:  Stay present. Stay fearless forever. Stop and think before you act. Have fun. Take more risks but don’t be impulsive. Don’t worry about others opinions of you -your opinion of yourself is the most important. Never settle for anything less than you deserve. You’re not gonna believe how great it’s gonna be. Buy nicer underwear!

Although there were a handful of possibilities that came to mind for me, in the end I settled on: ‘All will be well!’

‘All will be well’ reflects these life lessons I’ve learned along the way: Read More…

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

PAUSE – 13.26 – Can We Talk?

Ethan tenting-wReflection: One of the many pleasures of this summer, was a night spent camping out in a tent in the backyard with six year old grandson, Ethan.

This is the second year we’ve done this. Last summer Ethan wondered why we couldn’t bring the TV or the ipad out to the tent. This year, that idea didn’t even come up.

Still he wanted to know what we’d do – besides eating a giant bag of cheese puffs, which apparently has already become a tradition.

I suggested we’d mess around with the flashlights, read some books, play a few games, make up some stories and well, just talk. We did all those things and more.

One of the sweetest moments of the adventure – and there were many – was when Ethan turned to me late in the evening and declared, “You know, this talking is a lot more fun than I thought it would be.” And, indeed, it was! Read More…

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

Pause Gem #27 – Rituals Bring Values To Life

Pause Gems-wReflection & Action:  Rituals are powerful things. Hello/goodbye, good morning/good night kisses are an everyday occurrence in my marriage. Leave takings with our daughters – by phone or in person – are punctuated from both sides with the phrase, ‘Love ya’. Our dinner grace includes a ‘Today I am thankful for…’ comment from each person around the table

Like brushing your teeth in the morning, these actions and phrases have become second nature. That doesn’t make them meaningless. Each exchange expresses deeply held values of love and appreciation.

One of the keys for bringing our values to life is turning them into rituals. If you value your health, turning a lunchtime walk into an automatic ritual breathes life into that value. If you value family, the ritual of a weekly phone call with a parent or sister keeps the connection alive. If you value the beauty of nature, the ritual of placing fresh cut flowers on your desk at work or your table at home keeps nature in the center of your everyday life. You get the picture. Read More…

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

Pause Gem #26 – Lift Up Your Eyes

Pause Gems-wReflection & Action: The motto of the University of Calgary (where I studied for my Masters degree in Continuing Education) reads  “MO SHUILE TOGAM SUAS”. It’s a Gaelic phrase taken from one of the psalms. Translated, it means: “I will lift up my eyes.” What an inspired call to action!

Participants in the seminars that I lead tell me their overloaded days are often spent heads down – not eyes up. With noses to the grindstone, preoccupied with tasks and details, they wade their way through each day’s responsibilities, fretting about the details.

If that’s true for you, try shifting that practice just a smidge. As you move through your day, take a moment here and there to lift up your eyes. Step out of the car – lift up your eyes. Step out of a meeting – life up your eyes. Tune in to the bigger picture and the reason you are about to pursue the tasks at hand. There is always a broader, higher, deeper purpose. Read More…

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

Pause Gem #25 – Move Things Forward

Pause Gems-wReflection & Action:  Many of my mornings begin with a walk along the beautiful South Saskatchewan River valley, just two blocks from home. My route winds past a giant boulder on the bank. It’s the perfect perch for a moment’s rest and meditation.

I recently headed out on my morning stroll, anticipating a peaceful journey. As I turned the corner, headed to the river, I discovered that some aspiring street artist had decided our fence was the perfect canvas. We’d been tagged and I was furious! Now I needed that walk more than ever.

I arrived at the river – still smoldering over the graffiti – only to make a second discovery. ‘My’ rock had also been hit by a crew of performance artists. Broken beer bottles were their media of choice. So much for the peace of the morning. Now I was really ticked off! The nerve! The disrespect!

Only after two days of intermittent fuming did it occur to me that I could choose another response. I didn’t have to remain a victim – stuck in blame and fury. I could do something to move things forward. I grabbed the sandpaper, dustpan and broom. In less than an hour I’d cleaned up both messes and made something right in the world.  My two days of needless smoldering had wasted far more than one hour’s energy.

We always have options in every arena of our lives. We can serve up Misery Stew, wallowing in anger, frustration and despair over the careless actions of others; or we can channel that energy into creative solutions and get on with our lives. The choice is yours and mine.


Quotes Of The Week: “Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” – Malachy McCourt

“The guy’s behaving like a jerk. How much power are you going to give him over your life?”  – Tristan Katz

“Life is a lot simpler than we make it.” – Cheryl Dougan


Pause Readers Write: Pause Reader Kathleen FD writes: My family experienced a major change with the sudden death of my younger brother. This led to a great deal of soul searching about what family means to me and how I could use this tragedy towards a positive experience. What I needed for myself and my family was more time outside of work. I approached my supervisor with a written proposal to take a cut in pay for a day off every week. This was a major request for an industry that does not embrace many of today’s ‘balancing work & family’ initiatives.

With the support of a very forward thinking supervisor, fellow staff and the owners, I have been living this arrangement for the past three years. I don’t even think of the money anymore. It has been replaced with time spent in my daughter’s grade one class, getting back to my sewing machine, and, yes, even stealing a few moments just to relax and read! Sometimes we just have to ask and be prepared to act.

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

This post was written by Pat Katz on August 14, 2013

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Pause Gem #24: Go Ahead…Celebrate Yourself!

Pause Gems-wReflection & Action:  When I bought myself a bunch of flowers recently, the florist asked if I wanted a gift card to go with them. I declined, saying they were just for me.

“All the more reason to add a card, ” she declared. “I always write myself a card when I buy myself flowers.”

When I asked what she wrote, she replied, “Well, it depends on the day. Sometimes it’s … Thanks for being you. Other times it’s … Wow! You’re smart and gorgeous, too!”

We shared a chuckle. I left with the flowers AND a card in hand.

It was a simple reminder of an important lesson. The florist is someone who knows how to fill her own wellspring of appreciation. With her own spirits freshly topped up, she’s in a much better position to share her good will with others.

Do you take yourself for granted way too often? Read More…

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

Pause Gem #22 – Good News Question

Reflection & Action: I caught a ride on a beautiful fall day with a cab driver who could easily have taken the grand prize for the world’s darkest outlook on life. In response to my comments on the freshness of the morning, the beauty of the autumn leaves, and the glassy calm of Wascana Lake, he responded in turn, “Frost last night – gonna make the harvest tough! Just reminds me winter’s coming! It’s never like that when I go fishing!”

I’m sure if he won a hundred thousand dollars in the lottery, he wouldn’t waste a minute celebrating. He would launch right into a litany of complaints about the uselessness of a prize that small!

Our mindset has a lot to do with our experience of the day. It is possible to shift from pure pessimism to a more optimistic response to life. It’s a matter of attention. What do you notice? What do you hang on to? How do you start your conversations with yourself and others?

As day’s end nears, and you shut down your computer, pull on your coat, or jump in the car to head home, ask yourself this simple question: “What went well today?”

Ask the same question of colleagues as you close up shop, and of family members as you gather for the evening. Yes, you’ll eventually get to the complaints, but at least the good news of the day will hold center stage and pride of place. That’s all it takes to start the shift of focus.

Quote Of The Week: “The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.” – Eric Hoffer

Pause Readers Write: Pause Reader, Myrna B writes: About 6 months ago our family was struggling to accept a very serious health challenge for one of my siblings. At the same time a marriage was falling apart for another sibling. My parents were so focused on the problems that they seemed to be spiraling down a vortex of negativity. Some of us were feeling they had lost site of what was wonderful in the world.

My 74 year old Dad had just purchased a computer. In a conversation with Dad, I asked him to take a step back and think about what he was grateful for and what was wonderful in the world and then to email it to me.

You know, he emailed me the next morning. He emailed the morning after that …and the next…and the next. My Dad emails me every day to share what is great and wonderful in their world. I now have a journal with this collection that I can share with everyone. It contains many memories and important events that my family may have forgotten; and it’s all about all of us as a family. I treasure this because it’s given so freely, honestly and sincerely. My parents believe this commitment to share the positive has changed their lives.

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

PAUSE – 13.24 – Are You Present to the Presents?

Reflection:  How present are you to the everyday gifts of your everyday world? That’s what I asked myself after last week’s activities. And, on reflection, I noticed that every experience brought with it something to savor.

Tuesday’s commitment – facilitating a team retreat – took me on a trek to north-east Saskatchewan – a 3 hour drive each way. I realized as I traveled, what a treat it is to cruise through the spring greening of the crops in the country. The sun in the sky, an interview with Joni Mitchell on the radio, fresh coffee at hand…it was beyond pleasant. The gift of a road trip!

The planning committee for Wednesday’s engagement (an Art of Insight presentation for the Leadership Saskatoon Alumni) went all out to make their guests feel at home. Personal greetings at the door, rose bowls replete with flowers and paint brushes on the tables, tasty nibbles, and a very inclusive welcoming atmosphere! The gift of hospitality!

On Thursday, I joined a group of close friends and colleagues for conversation and dinner. We’ve been meeting a few times a year for a decade to support each other in our lives and businesses. We problem solve, strategize, laugh, cry, and generally lift each other’s spirits. They are GEMS, every one of them. The gift of being known and appreciated warts and all!

Friday, I facilitated another team retreat. The session design was highly interactive. I learned again that when people connect deeply to each other and commit to the focus at hand, more energy is created than consumed. The gift of engagement!


Action:  Here’s this week’s challenge. Read More…

Posted under Life in General, Miscellaneous, Pause E-zines

Exciting Announcement: Fresh New Program

If you’ve followed my Pause blog for a while, you’ll know that over the last few years, my Beginner’s Mind has been highly engaged in studying and learning about the world of art – sketching and watercolor painting, in particular.

A year ago, I turned the tables to pause and explore what painting has been teaching me about life while I’ve been learning about art. There was plenty to discover. Out of that experience, I created (and spent the last few months testing and tweaking) a new keynote presentation titled:  ‘Live & Learn: The Art of Insight’.

The images are original. The stories are unique. The lessons are timeless – and applicable to every walk of life. But what’s even more significant is how this message can inspire you and your colleagues to mine YOUR everyday experiences for learning and insight.

I’m happy today to announce that Live & Learn: The Art Of Insight is ready for prime time. You can read a more detailed description on my website.

This could be just the original, thought-provoking (and highly entertaining) message you need to add a spark to your upcoming conference, professional development program, or retreat.

Give me a call (877-728-5289) or drop me a line ( to learn more and book a date.

I’m very excited about sharing this fresh new message with you and your organization!

PS – If it’s not a fit for your group, please pass this link along to any other groups that come to mind! Many thanks and happy learning!

Posted under Artwork, Life in General

PAUSE – 13.23 – Are Curiosity & Discovery Top Of Mind?

Reflection: So here I am on a bright midsummer morning weeding in the front yard. Down the sidewalk comes a three old youngster on his tricycle with his mom trailing behind.

As they reach our front yard, Junior spots a shiny penny on the sidewalk. He hops off his trike, picks up the penny, and spends the next few minutes in a solitary game of Fetch – tossing the penny, retrieving it, and throwing it again. Eventually, it lands in the lawn. Lost!

No tears – just resignation – as magically, in place of the penny, a ladybug appears. He scoops the ladybug up in his hand and watches it crawl up his finger. With mom’s help, he masters the art of transferring the bug from one hand to another, until it spreads its wings and flies away.

No worries – there’s more to discover. The crows in the birch tree launch a caw fest. The little guy looks up to check things out, and his hat tumbles off his head onto the sidewalk.

Bending over to pick up his hat, he finds an earthworm. Dropping to his hands and knees, nose near the action, he patiently follows the worm’s wriggling progress from one edge of the walk to the other.

At this point, an airplane approaches. Junior jumps up, points it out to his mom and stands with his arm in the air tracing the aircraft’s path until it disappears from sight.

By this time, he has worked up quite a thirst. The little guy begs a sip from the juice box Mom holds at the ready, hops back on his tricycle, and off they go.

Over the course of 15 minutes, they moved a grand total of 15 feet. Not exactly a power stroll or roll! But, an extraordinary example of living and learning – approaching everyday experiences with a sense of curiosity and a spirit of discovery- with what we might call Beginner’s Mind.


Action: We were all beginners … once upon a time. Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Nature, Pause E-zines