Pause Blog On Overload, Overwhelm & Life In General

Pause Gem #36 – Can You Be Here Now?

BeHereNow-wReflection & Action: Race to the shower Race to the closet. Race to the coffee pot. Race to the car. Race to work. Race to a meeting. Race to lunch. Race to the dentist. Race back to work. Race to another meeting and then another meeting. Race to the dry cleaner. Race to the supermarket. Race home. Race through dinner. Race youngster number one to soccer practice, youngster number two to a music lesson, and yourself to a community meeting. Race home again. Collapse into bed. Wake up tomorrow and start the race all over again.

Does anything about that race sound familiar? How much of your day do you spend, meeting yourself coming and going?

In the hustle and pressure of daily life, it’s so easy to be anywhere else but present. We find ourselves trapped in regreats about yesterday or filled with anxiety for tomorrow. Yet this place – this moment in time – is really all we have. If we’ve missed it, then it’s gone forever.

The challenge for each one of us is to be here now. Post-race and post-haste, here’s a simple way to settle down and be more present.

Try this: Stand or sit still for just a few seconds. (Yes, you can spare ten seconds. It’s your life after all.)

As you breathe in, draw the word here into your mind. As you breathe out, bring the word now into your mind. Repeat three times.

Pause to check: Are you here now? Take every opportunity to shift your attention from hurry to here.

Read More…

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

Pause Gem #35 – What’s The Message You Need To Hear?

May Spray Floral4-wReflection & Action: When I bought myself a bunch of flowers, 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 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 goodwill with others.

Do you take yourself for granted too often? I do. If we don’t show ourselves some positive attention from time to time, who will? Most of us don’t have our loving mothers following us around moment by moment, applauding our courage, cheering our sense of adventure, or delighting in our presence. This is true in our work and personal lives. And if it’s true for us, it’s true for others as well.

What would life be like if you extended a bit more appreciation in your own direction more often? What would it be like if you encouraged others to do the same?

What would you write on your card today?

Read More…

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

Pause Gem #34 – Do Your Rituals Serve You Well?

Tea Cup-wReflection & Action: Rituals are powerful. 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.

As with 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.

Rituals bring our values to life. 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 sibling keeps the connection alive. If you value the beauty of nature, the ritual of placing freshly cut flowers on your desk or your table keeps nature in the center of your everyday life. You get the picture.

What kind of rituals are already working for you? What other rituals could you create to shift more of your deeply held values from intention to action?

Tie those practices to a specific time or place. Build them into your daily or weekly routines. Watch the impact!

 

Read More…

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

Pause Gem #33 – Can You Move Things Forward?

Choices R Us-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 and headed to the river, I discovered that some aspiring street artist had selected our fence as a 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!

After two days of intermittent fuming, it finally occurred to me that I could choose another response. Read More…

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

This post was written by Pat Katz on August 6, 2014

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Pause Gem #32 – You Can Laugh It Off To Lighten Up

Laughing ColorfulReflection & Action: I chose a poor day to renew my driver’s license. That day, problems with the phone lines made credit and debit card transactions impossible. Customers dug for checks, scrounged for spare change, or dashed down the block to the cash machine.

The cashiers did their best, but progress was slow. A fellow who arrived just moments after I’d entered the queue didn’t appreciate the delay. Like a bull in the paddock, he shifted from foot to foot, snorting and pawing the ground. Jingling the change in his pocket and rustling the papers in his hand did nothing to calm his jangling nerves. Neither the repeated checks of his wristwatch nor the disgusted glares he zinged at the cashiers brought him relief.

A few minutes after his arrival, a newcomer fell in line behind the restless rustler. In the loudest possible voice, the raging bull cautioned her that he hoped she’d brought a book and planned to spend the day because he’d been waiting in line all morning!

In less than five minutes, it was my turn at the counter. I leaned in close to the cashier and told her I hoped she had 911 on her speed dial; I thought our friend, the raging bull, was about to pop an artery. She chuckled and rolled her eyes, clearly relieved to connect with an understanding customer who showed a sense of humor.

Life is full of delays and detours. Read More…

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

Pause Gem #30 – Answer The Good News Question

Count Blessings-wReflection & 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. Read More…

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

Pause Gem #29 – The Gift Of Stopping

Stop Light-wReflection & Action: If you drive, you will be very familiar with red lights and stop signs. It’s a sign of our preoccupation with getting places fast, that those lights and signs often seem to be working against us and in favor of the opposing traffic.

When you are out on the highway, you are sure to find yourself stuck behind a slow moving vehicle of one sort or another. Slow, of course, is a relative concept. When you are in a rush, slow may mean that the unit ahead is ‘just’ driving the speed limit.

With more multi lane highways and passing lanes, slower moving traffic is less of a problem than it was during the days of single lane highways and Air Stream trailer convoys. Still, for most of us, patience is not a strong point in our high-speed non-stop world.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Read More…

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

PAUSE – 14.24 – Tune Out To Tune In

Reflection: I’ve been thinking recently that I wouldn’t mind being listless for a while. I don’t mean in the traditional sense of the word: lethargic, apathetic, or weary. Nor do I mean without a list of things to do – although that would be welcome on occasion.

What I’m actually referring to is the proliferation of lists that circulate on social media and grace the covers of books and magazines everywhere. Here are a few recent examples:

  • 14 Things You Should Do On Your Lunch Break Every Day
  • 17 Things Extremely Happy People Say Every Day
  • 18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently
  • 22 Quick Habits to Add To Your Daily Morning Routine
  • 30 Things To Start Doing For Yourself – or its sister list: 30 Things To Stop Doing To Yourself

Add ‘em up. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

I know these lists are published with the best of intentions – mostly to energize or inspire. And I grant you there is valuable advice in many of them. Heck, I’ve even created a few of these types of lists myself.

But here’s my challenge. When I spend too much time paying attention to these lists, I find myself in Tower of Pisa mode – tilted and off balance. I feel less effective and more inadequate because I’m not doing more or behaving differently.

You, too, might find yourself listing just a tad under the weight of what the advice aggregators believe we could or should be doing.

 

Action: With all these voices whispering instructions in your ear and putting ideas in your head, it’s hard to hear the one still quite voice that counts the most. That would be your own. Read More…

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

PAUSE – 14.21 – What Do You Want To Do As You Grow Old?

Spring On The Trail

Spring On The Trail

Reflection: We’re pretty quick to ask young people about their futures: “What do you want to be when you grow up? What will you do after graduation?”

However, once we step through that portal of adulthood and into a career, a family, and responsibilities of all shapes and sizes, those ‘imagine your future’ questions are often sidelined.

You make a choice. You set out on a path. You’re headed in the right direction. All is well. Or is it?

I recently delivered the closing keynote for a conference of career planners and employment counselors. My message focused on connecting them to the hidden value in what they do and how they are.

The conference planners asked me to also build in a message for those in their mid to late career years who might be faced with: waning interest, lagging energy, or a once raging fire in the belly now faded to glowing embers. And, so I did. Here are a few of the ideas I shared that I thought might also interest you. Read More…

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

PAUSE – 14.20 – Stop Trying So Hard

Don't Push-wReflection: Stop pushing. Stop forcing. Stop trying so hard. That’s the message I’m getting from a couple of activities I’m enjoying immensely these days: word play and painting.

I confess to a new addiction to solving the Jumble Puzzle in our daily newspaper. The challenge involves turning five sets of random letters into five words, extracting the circled letters from the solutions, and turning that subset of letters into the answer to a question posed in the accompanying comic vignette.

What I’ve learned from solving the Jumble is the value of soft focus. When I stare at those letters, trying to force them into the proper order, I’m frustrated. However, when I glance at the letters and let my gaze drift away, my brain plays with the possibilities and out pops the answers.

Same thing happens with my painting. When I stare intently at a scene trying to make sense of shapes and values, it’s a struggle. However, when I approach the challenge with a softer, more relaxed focus and less intensity, my mind makes sense of it much more quickly and surely.

 

Action: When you next meet a problem that tries your patience, try softening your focus. Start with an overview of what you know and what you see. Then step away. Back off.

Stop pushing for an answer. Cool your jets. Let your subconscious take over.

When you stop forcing an answer, and take a softer, calmer, more ease filled approach, you just might be surprised at how effortlessly solutions rise to the surface,

 

Quotes Of The Week: Flowers do not force their way with great strife. Flowers open to perfection slowly in the sun. – White Eagle

Trust in the inexhaustible character of the murmur. – Andre Breton

The quieter you become, the more you can hear. – Ram Dass

 

Resources Of The Week: Here are a couple of interesting reads for you.

Bethany Butzer shares a few idedas about effort and ease in her article, Stop Trying So Hard.

In the article, Ten Signs You Need To Stop Trying So Hard, Minda Zetlin writes about the pressure of pushing and forcing results in an article based on Todd Patkin’s book, Finding Happiness.

 

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