Pause Blog On Overload, Overwhelm & Life In General

PAUSE – 14.14 – Are You Using The Three S’s of Appreciation?

Three S-wReflection: I so appreciate the fact that spring on the prairies is finally putting in an appearance. It seems that the month of April offers no shortage of opportunities to appreciate a variety of things and people.

This very week in Canada (April 6-12) is National Volunteer Appreciation week. A quick glance at an online calendar of special days reveals that’s not the only special day on this month’s agenda.

April also brings you National Siblings Day (10th), National Librarian Day (16th), Volunteer Recognition Day (20th), and Administrative Professional Day (23rd). You’ll find a host of whacky days on the calendar, too. Feel free to celebrate jelly beans, scrabble, and rubber erasers to name just a few!

In today’s everyday busyness, it’s easy to think that celebration and recognition are not that important – that appreciation is just icing on the cake. However, that’s just not true.

Many employee surveys show that a lack of recognition, appreciation and acknowledgement are a major workplace issue and a significant source of disengagement. It’s such a shame, because it’s such an easy challenge to address.


Action: What to do? Focus on small daily appreciative actions like these. Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Life Balance, Pause E-zines, Wellness

Home For Frosty

Frosty The Snowman-wAs many of you will know, near the end of December I held a little contest to find a Home For Frosty.

The Frosty in question is the sketch you see to the left of this post. He was the inspiration for the ‘learn to paint’ exercise that I did with the CTV Morning Show team when I introduced the new Sketches of Saskatoon book in an interview before Christmas.

53 Pause ezine readers offered up a home for Frosty. One lucky reader had her name drawn out of the hat, and Frosty is already on his way to hang his hat with her.

This short video clip, recorded first thing in the new year, brings you a lively New Years greeting and shares the inside scoop on the results of the  Home For Frosty contest.

I do hope you are staying warm wherever you happen to be, and enjoying the best of a brand new year.

Posted under Artwork, Video

This post was written by Pat Katz on January 7, 2014

Tags: , , , , ,

PAUSE – 13.33 – What Would It Take To Be More In The Moment?

liveinthemoment-wReflection: It’s just another day in the flow of a busy life, but in the midst of it all ….

  • I pull the morning newspaper from the mailbox and take a deep draw on the crisp November air.
  • I sip my coffee as the sun paints the sky – first gold, then pink, then blue.
  • I laugh at a story a colleague shares, and thank my lucky stars for his awesome sense of humor.
  • I wait at the supermarket checkout tickled by a cart-bound toddler sharing a lively game of peek-a-boo with the next shopper down line.
  • I play a board game with my grandson and marvel at the fierce concentration that plays across his handsome little face.
  • I stand in the midst of a funeral gathering and watch the eyes of one old friend light up at the approach of another.

Life flourishes in these simple moments of presence. The cares and preoccupations of the everyday world fade into the background, shifting from front and center to the sidelines.


Action: What’s the nature of your experience these days? One giant blur or crisp sharp moments of presence?

These experiences are present every single day, but are we? The moments are all we really have. Don’t let them pass you by – unnoticed, unmarked, unappreciated.

Set an intention to be as present as possible as often as possible. Pause.


Quote Of The Week: Our true home is in the present moment. To be in the present moment is a miracle. – Thich Nhat Hanh


Resource Of The Week: Here’s an interesting article from Greg McKeown: Reduce Your Stress In Two Minutes A Day


Readers Write: In response to last week’s message, Go Ahead…Make Your Day, Pause reader MW writes: Your question as to how did I start my day was most timely to read. I usually start my morning swimming laps at 7 a.m. That is a great way for me to start my day even when it is -28 C outside. Last night, as I was setting my alarm clock, I debated about going swimming today. To do so I would have to be at the pool shortly after 6 a.m. to meet my other commitments for the morning.

But, I decided to go swimming early and am so glad I did. I do my most creative thinking as I am swimming laps and I had a brainwave for a creative project I am working on. Plus the swimming always revitalizes me and gives me the energy to get through the busy and stressful times.

Posted under Life Balance, Life in General, Overload & Overwhelm, 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 #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

Your 6th 49′er Of The Summer

Purple Clematis-wBRAND NEW this summer is the ‘7×7 Summer Sunshine Sizzling Sketchbook Special’.
Here’s number five in the series of 49′ers: Purple Clematis. That’s an original 7” x 7” watercolor painting – 49 square inches of original art for $49 (plus tax and $10 for shipping).
To make it yours, just send me an email with ‘I’ll Take It’ in the subject line. The first reader to call dibs on each of the nine pieces (one a week) takes it away. Thanks to all the ‘dibbers’ from recent weeks. Good luck this time around!
This is your chance to pick up an original piece of art at a sizzling summer rate. Enjoy … and may the early bird snag the sketch!
BTW – if another early bird beats you to it, and you’d like your own reproduction OR you’d prefer a print in a larger size, here’s the link to make that happen: Purple Clematis. While you’re there, be sure to read the backstory about the image in the Description section of the listing.
You can always check out this and other images on my Fine Art Pauseworks Studio Gallery Website.

Posted under Artwork

This post was written by Pat Katz on August 7, 2013

Tags: , , , , , ,

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