Looking within: discovering plenty amidst the lack

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As I mentioned in my post, “Another way to look at the pandemic ‘pause,’” I’m discovering new things about myself since 2020 took a major detour. While much becomes ingrained in our habits and thought processes simply because “that’s the way I’ve always done it,” the current COVID-19 climate has required a mandatory “pivoting” of our mindsets. One shining example: When my daughter’s gym temporarily closed due to the social-distancing order, it crushed her. Although she knew it afforded a minor inconvenience overall, she dreaded a derailment of her fitness goals. However, after a short-lived pity party, she soon realized that everything she needed to maintain her daily practice stared her in the face. In fact, she recently conquered—and exceeded—her goals. But not without inner resolve, a dash of creativity and a boatload of fierce grit. I couldn’t be prouder of her. It’s heartening how a global crisis can reveal the best within us. If we let it.

Where have you discovered plenty amidst the lack?

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Another way to look at the pandemic ‘pause’

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In my post, “Are you an energy drain?,” I talk about adopting an attitude of gratitude. Admittedly, I think practicing gratefulness vs. grumbling proved easier pre-COVID-19. Although not impossible, it now requires a greater commitment to look for—and expect—the good. One way that’s helped me focus on the positive includes working through a 28-day joy project. In addition, I ran across this gem: 50 ways to add joy to your life. And I also started listing things I’m learning about myself while life shelters-in-place for many of us. One of my biggest discoveries: that the response I don’t have time could be better described as a reflexive knee jerk. In fact, by simply shifting priorities, I make more time to engage in activities and projects that refuel my “joy” tank—like reading and writing, exercising and taking online classes, listening to podcasts and trying new recipes. With 1,440 minutes at our disposal each day, how can anyone be bored?

What have you learned during the “pause?”

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Practice the pause

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practice the pause

While scrolling through Facebook the other day, I paused on a friend’s wall whose recent post read: Practice the pause. When in doubt, pause. When angry, pause. When tired, pause. When stressed, pause. And when you pause, pray. The simple definition of pause is a temporary stop or rest. My post, “Sweet and simple…,” stresses my intent to simplify this year, including my speech. And I believe if we observe the art of pause—when in doubt, when angry, when tired, when stressed, whenever it would benefit the situation—while we rest in prayer or in silence during that temporary stop, we might be able to hear the greater needs of others. And then offer to meet those needs with our provisions. It doesn’t cost us anything to pause… except maybe a second chance we’ll never require. But it takes discipline to practice anything, even stopping or resting. It’s a process, this life thing. Be gentle with yourself.

How easy is it for you to practice the pause?

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The here and now

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[Image credit: m_bartosch]

My oldest sister regularly sends me “snail mail” care packages.  Sometimes these mailings include a card; other times articles, recipes, devotionals or cartoons.  A recent blurb she clipped out for me was “Living in the Here and Now,” which talked about focusing on … well … the here and now.  I frequently cover this concept in my posts when I get carried away with my dreams for Someday and lose sight of Today. The article goes on to cite a few tips to help us appreciate the present.  1) Avoid multitasking (oops, that’s my middle name) by giving our attention to either a person we’re with or job we’re doing; 2) pause by taking a breath before answering the phone or checking email; 3) listen to our bodies because emotions can trigger physical responses; 4) remain active … and involved; 5) scratch the to-do list (did you hear that, Franklin?) and 6) be patient — this doesn’t happen overnight.

How are you at living in the here and now?