Pause Blog On Overload, Overwhelm & Life In General

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

PAUSE – 14.19 – Five Ways to Perk Up Your Life

Sunny Smile With The Blues-wReflection: Back in January, a local TV station asked me to share a few ideas to help people cope with Blue Monday. That’s the Monday of the last full week in January – what is referred to by many as the most depressing day of the year.

While the Blue Monday pedigree is questionable, everyone has blue days and they don’t limit themselves to the month of January!

There’s no need to hold in reserve the strategies you can use to perk up your life when you’re feeling low.

 

Action: Here are five actions to perk up your life any time you need a boost: Read More…

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

PAUSE – 14.18 – What Do You Think Matters Most?

wise owl-wReflection: Places to be. Things to fix. Stuff to do. The lists grow long and the burdens grow heavy.

That’s why, every so often, it helps to pause and step back from the fray – to tap into a fresh perspective on the countless should’s and pressing have-to’s of our lives.

In my presentations on balance and renewal, I often challenge participants with an exercise that invites them to generate their own life wisdom and insights. I invite you to take ten minutes and give it a try yourself. Here’s how the exercise goes.

 

Action: On a blank sheet of paper, write the date and year of your 80th birthday. (Hopefully you won’t need a calculator to figure it out!)

Next, bring to mind a ten-year-old boy or girl sitting at your knee looking up at you with admiration. Give that child a name – real or fictional. Imagine the youngster saying, “You’ve lived a VERY long time. What can you tell me about what really matters in life?”

Your task is to put pen to paper starting with the words:

Dear (insert his/her name), You’ve asked me to tell you what really matters in life. Here’s what I’ve learned so far…

Give yourself ten minutes to jot down every idea that pops into your mind. Read More…

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

PAUSE – 14.15 – Are You Dazed? Try A Doze!

napping-wReflection: When a busy toddler grows weary, he or she simply lies down and falls sleep. Doesn’t matter where. Doesn’t matter when.

When an elderly person grows weary, he or she simply nods off in the middle of a visit or the middle of a sentence. Doesn’t matter where. Doesn’t matter when.

As for the rest of us somewhere between toddlering and doddering, when we grow weary, we shake the cobwebs from our heads, grab another cuppa java, and will ourselves to wakefulness.

We power on. We don’t power down. Pressing …pressing …and rarely pausing. Because, after all there are important places to go, people to see, and things to do.

Sadly, this ends up working against us instead of for us. While we may be nominally awake and at work – it is with diminishing capacity and diminishing returns! That’s why, in a wearied state, so many things feel tougher and take longer. We’re neither fresh nor focused.

Now I’m not suggesting nodding off in a middle of a business meeting would be a good thing. However, I am suggesting that ignoring the body when it calls for rest can be a bad thing.

A study at NASA on sleepy military pilots and astronauts found that a nap improved performance by 34% and alertness by 100%. Although you and I may not be flying jets or spacecraft, how much more effective might we be if our performance and alertness improved that much because we took a rest when we needed one?

 

Action: What to do? Read More…

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

PAUSE – 14.13 – Had Any Epiphanies Lately?

New Directions-wReflection: Epiphany:  A moment when you suddenly see or understand something in a new or very clear way.

Ariana Huffington had an epiphany. She fell asleep at work, hit her head on the edge of her desk, sliced open her cheek, and came to in a pool of blood. One hospital trip and several stitches later, she set about changing her habits and adopting a saner, healthier way of being in this world.

Some years ago, I had an epiphany of my own. As a young Mom, I left the house on a deep freeze of a winter morning. Burdened by tote bag, gym bag, child’s backpack, briefcase, and clamping a wriggling snow-suited toddler in my arms, I tried in vain to lock a reluctant front door.

In the end, the entire load, including screaming daughter and me dropped to the step. Freezing tears streamed down our faces. In that moment of overwhelm, I knew there had to be a better way, and set about discovering what that might be.

Fictional news anchor Howard Beale had an epiphany. In the movie Network, he punctuates his on-air rant about the state of the world by declaring, “I‘m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore.”

Maybe you’ve had an epiphany or two of your own. Or maybe you’re working up to one at this very moment.

Epiphanies are rarely unheralded. If we pay close attention as life unfolds, we might notice the small occurrences that signal a need for change. But, heh, we’re busy, we’re preoccupied, and we’re on a roll! We get in a groove and it morphs into a rut that’s not apparent till it trips us up and down we go.

 

Action: The challenge is to tune into our ‘epiphanettes’ – those small wake up calls that surface day to day. Read More…

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