Pause Blog On Overload, Overwhelm & Life In General

PAUSE – 16.23 – Coloring Outside The Lines



My Thoughts:

The inspiration for this image was the Provencale village of Gordes. Although the buildings of Gordes do sprawl across the hillside, they’re built from neutral colored stone with pale weathered terra cotta tiles. They’re nothing like the bright colors you see here.

One of the things that painting has taught me is that you don’t have to stick with what you see or what you know. You don’t have to be locked in to ‘do this-don’t do that’ rules.

You can step out in new directions, color outside the lines, and things will be okay! Or, surprise, even better than okay!


Your Thoughts:

What lines and rules might be holding you back?

Where could you step around, hop over, or slide under a line to add more freedom and energy to your world?


News Notes:

Add Spark To Your Next Conference

I’ve just booked another keynote and follow up session on the topic of Rekindling Spark – Navigating Malaise for a spring 2017 provincial conference of nurses. This topic is hitting home for many different people in many different walks of life. The experience of ‘rusting out’, feeling ‘meh, bleh, blah’ seems to know no boundaries.


I’d love to bring my strategies for dealing with this issue to your professional association, too. Do keep that possibility in mind and pass the idea along to those in charge of professional development activities for your association. This link gives an overview.


Plein Air Show

During the month of September, you can see samples of the work of various Saskatoon artists who share an interest in painting in the great outdoors – including three pieces by yours truly. You’ll find the show gracing the gallery walls at HUES Art Supply, 1818 Lorne Ave here in Saskatoon.


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

PAUSE – 16.22 – Expressions Of Delight

Baby smile-wReflection: We had the great joy of closing out the summer by hosting our 9 year old grandson for a couple of days at Waskesiu Lake.

The weather on the front end was less than ideal. Too cold to swim. To rough to take out a canoe, a paddleboat or a kayak. No matter.

It was perfect for beach combing – given all the flotsam and jetsam that the gale force winds tossed up on shore.

And, as Ethan walked along the beach, eyes glued to the sand, each of his discoveries was accompanied by an expression of delight.

Snail shells. Fish hooks. Odd rocks. Dead minnows.

“Heh, look over here! How cool is this? Is that awesome or what?”

And, of course, each find had to be picked up and closely examined before being added to the collection of treasures to be hauled back to the cabin. Two dead minnows included!

Unfavorable conditions – in this case, the weather – were NOT going to put a damper on this young fellow’s spirits, or interfere with his ability to find delight at every turn. Read More…

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

Pause Gem #38 – Could It Be Your Lucky Day?

Pause Gems-wReflection & Action:  It was bright and early Sunday morning, and our then four year old grandson was on the other end of the phone – brimming with enthusiasm and bubbling over with news.

“Guess what I’m having for breakfast? Toast with jam and TWO slices of cheese. Orange and white cheese – marble cheese. Marble, that’s funny! And, Mommy made me a Smoothie, too. It is SO good. And, you know what she bought me yesterday at the grocery store? Cheese strings. THOSE are my favorite. And, I’m watching the Cat In The Hat video. And he’s bouncing on the bed. I like to do that, too. AND, I get to go swimming today! I am having a VERY Lucky Day!”

That nonstop monologue turned MY groggy morning into a very Lucky Day. How can you NOT smile in the face of that kind of exuberance?

Enthusiasm is infectious. And if you have to come down with something, enthusiasm beats other viruses, hands down!

There’s no doubt, as adults, we have serious things to deal with. Yet, there are times when I know I complicate my life more than is necessary. Maybe you do, too. Read More…

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

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 – 16.18 – 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 – 16.16 – 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 – 16.13 – 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

PAUSE – 16.07 – Simple Pleasures

Spring Returns -w-210

Reflection: When my dear Aunt Eileen moved from her large home in Edmonton into a small assisted living apartment here in Saskatoon, I took her a small bouquet of flowers – just a couple of blossoms in a tiny glass vase.

She loved that vase and it held a place of honor on the coffee table in her new living room.

On my regular visits I brought fresh blossoms to replace the ones that were past their prime.

That vase and its flowers were a Small Treasure that delivered a Simple Pleasure.

I learned the value of small but wonderful from my parents. Each year my father made a pilgrimage to the patch of prairie where he knew the first blooms of spring would appear. Each year he placed a small bowl of fuzzy purple crocuses on the kitchen table – a gift to Mom from Dad and Mother Nature.

As spring turned into summer, and the flowers in the garden burst into bloom, my mother regularly harvested handfuls of blossoms (nasturtiums, calendula, poppies, pansies).

She placed these nosegays and posies in small vases scattered on counters, shelves and window ledges throughout the house. More small treasures that delivered simple pleasure!

Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Artwork, Life in General, Nature, Pause E-zines

PAUSE – 16.01 – It Doesn’t Have To Be Forever

ExperimentsReflection: I’ve noticed that one thing that keeps me from saying yes to a new opportunity or direction (be it a volunteer request, work task, or membership) is the feeling that having signed on, I’ll be locked in F-O-R-E-V-E-R. The prospect of forever gets heavy in a hurry!

And, so, I’m playing with the idea of looking at life’s opportunities more as a series of projects – or experiments – each with a beginning, a middle and an end.

For example, I gifted myself with a pair of Nordic walking poles to start the new year. And, I set myself a project goal of taking them out for a hike on each of the first 28 days of the new year. Not forever – just for 28 days. And, so I did! And so it’s done. Not that I won’t do more…but it’s an option – not a burden.

I’ve set myself the goal of creating a series of 12 paintings under the umbrella theme of ‘Simple Pleasures. I’m halfway there, and enjoying the fact that experimenting with these images is neither a life sentence nor an endless commitment. It’s just plain fun at the moment.

This year, I’m planning to continue publishing Pause in the traditional format (like this) every second week. To spice things up, in the weeks in between, I’m going to play with a series of projects. First up will be a series of six short videos under the umbrella title, Pat Answers. They’ll explore questions readers have raised about the challenges of malaise and rekindling life’s spark.

What projects and experiments will follow remains to be seen. But there’s one thing I know for sure. I feel lighter already! Read More…

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

Celebrating The Leap

Big 30This month marks my 30th year in business – as a speaker, writer and artist. When I stepped away from a regular salary and hung out my shingle in 1986, I took a leap of faith. I had no idea if my business would survive and I certainly didn’t expect it to last this long.

It’s been a great adventure to captain my own ship. And, I could not have done it without the trust of clients, a network of colleagues, and the support of family and friends.

To mark this milestone, I’m sharing my gratitude through these three give aways (one for each decade):

  • A bundle of 30 copies of Take A Bow (for you to share with those who support you most)
  • An original ink and watercolor sketch (inspired by your photo of a place that matters to you)
  • A hundred dollar donation to a charity of your choice

To enter the draw, just send an email to Use the phrase, Pick Me, in the subject line, and write a few lines about something you’re grateful for in your life over the last 30 years.

Deadline for entries is February 28. I’ll be making all three draws on February 29th in honor of all who find the courage to take a leap!


Posted under Appreciation