Pause Blog On Overload, Overwhelm & Life In General

PAUSE – 15.01- Are You Asking A Beautiful Question?

Reflection: Welcome to the first Pause message of 2015. I hope your year is off to a great start.

I find it hard to believe that this is my fifteenth year of creating and sharing these weekly Pause missives. That’s a grand total of over 700 messages encouraging readers to pause for renewal, appreciation and insight.

I must admit recently I’ve experienced mixed feelings about this weekly commitment. Some weeks I’m like a kid in a candy store, keen to share an experience, an insight or a resource with you. Other weeks I’m like a lumbering ox shouldering a heavy yoke, feeling the weight and burden of coming up with something fresh by midnight Tuesday.

I tell you this because I like to be honest about the way things are, and also because I want you to know that I’m rethinking my options with respect to Pause. Continue? Stop? Simplify? Change frequency? Shift direction?

Where it’s going, I’m not sure. I had hoped I might have a resolution to that question by now. But I don’t. I’m still mucking around in the swamp of possibilities. And, that is not my favorite place to be.

I’m much more comfortable with a decision and a direction. But, sometimes a solid answer takes its own sweet time; and it’s OK not to know.

 

Action: I’m guessing that on occasion you, too, may find yourself in that swampy stew of uncertainty wrestling with one issue or another. Read More…

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

PAUSE – 14.40 – Contentment Is Highly Underrated

Santa Sleigh Cropped600-withsig-wReflection: I’ve been thinking a lot about contentment. You may recall that I first wrote about this concept back in September, in a Pause message titled How do YOU Cultivate Contentment.

What is it? Mainly a state of satisfaction, an ease of being, a peace of mind. That makes contentment the antithesis of envy, striving and anxiety. It’s a state of mind in which we find a way to be at ease and at peace – perhaps even happy – with our lot in life at the moment. It’s an inward disposition – a mindset – and it’s not a choice that someone else can make for us.

In a world of overwhelm and overload, contentment is an oasis, an island of tranquility. While the feeling may or may not last long, in the moment it soothes, uplifts, and brings us joy.

You’ve probably seen contentment in the sleepy milk fed expression of a baby nodding off to dreamland. You’ve maybe seen contentment writ large across the faces of doting elders in the presence of their grand and great grandchildren.

It seems that those of us in the busy years between new life and nearer death lose touch with both the idea and experience of contentment.

My wish for you as this year winds to a close, is that you find ways to tap into contentment – wherever you are and whatever your state. It ‘s not necessary for all to be perfect, done, or as we might wish it to be. Simply appreciate who you are and what you have in the moment, and know that a sense of wonder and a spirit of gratitude are afoot.

As the new year approaches, with its new resolutions and fresh intentions, consider adding cultivating contentment to your list of goals, and see how it enriches your world.

I’ve been collecting thoughts and quotes on contentment to share with you as a way of closing out 2014. I hope you enjoy reading and reflecting on these thoughts.

May you welcome contentment into your world with open arms. Blessings to you all.

Holly210

 

Thoughts On Contentment: Read More…

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

PAUSE – 14.30 – Success Can Lead To Excess

Virgina Creeper Welcomes Fall-wReflection: Our pursuit of success has both an upside and a downside – a bright side and a dark side.

The very same impulses that drive us to success (a commitment to showing up, the ambition to get ahead, and a desire to make a difference) are the very same impulses that can drive us to excess (taking on too many things at once, working ourselves to exhaustion, and driving ourselves and those around us crazy in the process).

In our pursuit of success and significance, it’s far too easy to lose our focus and to lose our way – to end up feel overwhelmed and overloaded.

Trying to handle the situation with traditional time management tools only makes a small dint in this experience. Goal setting, prioritizing, delegation, and techno efficiency will only take us so far.

If we want to be sustainably productive, we need to concern ourselves with other equally important elements of productivity:

  • Maintaining perspective
  • Developing presence
  • Tapping into peace of mind

 

Action: Pay close attention to perspective, presence and peace of mind as you make your way through today:

  • Remember why the things you are working on matter.
  • Take satisfaction as you move projects forward – even if they aren’t yet complete.
  • Be present to the people who share your world and your work.
  • Tune in your body and your thoughts; and answer the call when they signal what you need.
  • Tap into that invisible ‘river of peace’ that flows at your feet every moment of every day.

 

Quote Of The Week: Could we stop measuring our days by degree of productivity and start experiencing them by degree of presence? – Yours Truly

Our entire society can be changed by one person’s peaceful presence. – Thich Nhat Hanh

 

 

Resource Of The Week: You might find this article by Lori Deschene of interest: Productivity & Happiness – Why Are We So Busy?

 

 

Readers Write: In response to last week’s message, What Can You Learn From A Toddler On Overload, Pause reader JO writes:  “I am not sure who said this or coined it but if I have an important meeting or event it’s important to HALT and do an internal check. Am I Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired (HALT)? If so I take care of it prior to that important event or meeting!”

I did a little sleuthing on attribution, JO, and it seems this acronym is most strongly associated with treatment programs for chemical dependency. The thought here is that when we are in weakened states (as in HALT) we are more likely to make poor choices. When you recognize and take care of those needs, you improve the likelihood of making more thoughtful, healthy and sustainable choices.

 

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

PAUSE – 14.29 – What Can You Learn From A Toddler On Overload?

Leon & Hat-wReflection: In recent months, I’ve really enjoyed spending time with my youngest grandson who is now closing in on two years of age.

And, in the way of grandparents everywhere, I must tell you that he is the sweetest, smartest, cutest little guy you’ll ever meet … until he’s over-tired.

  • When weariness strikes, he grows unsteady on his feet, zigging and zagging like a drunken sailor. (BTW, how did sailors get such a bad rap anyway?)
  • He moves from diversion to diversion, not settling in to play with anything for more than a few seconds at a time.
  • Small events that are mildly amusing become maniacally hilarious.
  • Problems that are minor frustrations trigger major meltdowns.
  • When everyone else can see that what he needs most is a rest, he resists – refusing to go willingly into that good night.

Of course, he’s just starting to discover his emotions, to learn what he needs, and to figure out how to soothe himself when he’s upset. He’s a long way from understanding that a break or a nap or a good night’s sleep might be a good idea.

He’s not alone. There are many of us who left our childhood in the dust decades ago who are still learning these things. We struggle to come to terms with our emotions. We over-react in ways that are totally out of proportion to a triggering event. We keep pushing, pushing, pushing despite body messages to the contrary.

 

Action: So what might we learn from the little guy’s experience? Read More…

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

PAUSE – 14.27 – Is Speed Truly The Holy Grail Of Happiness?

Kapasiwin Kabin border-wReflection: We’ve become far too accustomed to stuffing our days from end to end with task after task, trying to accomplish as much as possible as quickly as possible.

We latch on to shortcuts as if they might lead us to the holy grail of happiness. We grab fast food and we leave quick notes. We ask quick questions. We share quick hugs, and we send quick texts.

We literally cut ourselves and each other to the quick as we speed off to…what? What, exactly, are we trying to make of our lives? Where are we headed at such a breakneck pace? And what do we end up experiencing along the way?

Consider for just a moment, what might happen if every once in a while you: Read More…

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

PAUSE – 14.26 – How Do YOU Cultivate Contentment?

Tea & TunesReflection: Here it is the beginning of September, and I see Summer waving goodbye in the rearview mirror. I’m surprised at what seems like an early departure.

Despite the luxury of time that is July and August, there are so many things I didn’t accomplish. I didn’t go golfing or biking. In fact, the clubs and the bike are still hanging on the wall in the garage. I didn’t attend any events at Saskatoon’s Jazz Festival, Children’s Festival or the Fringe. I didn’t get the carpets cleaned or the fence replaced. And, I didn’t make my way through even half the books I’d hope to read.

I did, however, enjoy my morning walks along the river and lunches on the back deck. I shared some great visits with friends and family, and spent time with family who came here from away. I was tickled to spend several fun filled days with my seven-year-old grandson, Ethan. I sketched and painted and tended the garden.

I helped my Dad total up the grain he’d grown over a lifetime of farming and translated the bushels of wheat, durum and barley into loaves of bread, bowls of spaghetti and bottles of beer. (Amazing totals those!) I worked on the design for a new business offering and arranged for the second printing of my latest book.

Still, in the richness and muchness of life, it’s easy to feel like I haven’t done or been or given … enough. Maybe you feel that way, too! Read More…

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

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 – 14.22 – What’s Truly Essential In Your World?

Essential-wReflection: For some time, I’ve been following Greg McKoewn’s blog posts on the concept of Essentialism. So I was delighted when he released his book, ‘Essentialism – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less’.

It’s a provocative read. Amongst the ideas I found of greatest interest are these:

  • Shifting to an essentialist viewpoint means we need to discard these three assumptions: I have to. It’s all important. I can do both. Instead we need to adopt these three assumptions: I choose to. Only a few things really matter. I can do anything but not everything.
  • The word ‘priority’ used to mean just one thing. In the last century we pluralized it to ‘priorities’. This caused us to believe we could actually hold a number of things at the top of our list and in our attention at the very same time.
  • We’re fooling ourselves if we think we don’t have to make a solid choice between competing activities. Choosing ‘both’ is a recipe for spreading ourselves too thin. We need to make trade-offs. The shift in mindset is thinking not so much about what we must give up, but rather, what do we choose to go big on.
  • Don’t be afraid to pull the plug on a project or commitment you’re already involved in. Think about it from a square one point of view. If you weren’t already involved, what would you give up or how hard would you work to get involved. Just because you are part of an active initiative doesn’t mean it’s still the right thing for you to be doing. Edit away.
  • You’ve got to know, as a pause fanatic, that I would appreciate this one. Protect the asset – that means you! Create space for renewal and reflection – time for unencumbered thought, innovation and growth. Escape and explore life.

 

Action: So, how do we actually put these ideas into action? Read More…

Posted under Life Balance, Life in General, 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