Terry Hershey is the author of nine books and the founder of Hershey & Associates, an organization that provides workshops and seminars on building balanced lives and healthy relationships. He is also a professional garden designer who relishes time spent taking care of flowers and other plants. In "A Word from Terry," the author writes:
"We worship at the altar of the superlative. This is no surprise given the model by which we quantify success. Since we crave speed and we see productivity as our objective, these things become our standards for measuring how well we are doing."
The Power of Pause is a counter-cultural book which goes against the 24/7, multi-tasking, hurry-up and don't let-up trends of our times. Hershey wants us to slow down and savor the present moment. He quotes Thomas Moore in Care of the Soul: "Living artfully with time might only require something as simple as pausing." The book is divided into 52 short but snappy essays organized thematically around the seasons from early winter to late autumn (that's part of Hershey's garden perspective).
Hershey explains that The Power of Pause is as much about what we don't do as what we do. A pause can be passive (stop, let go, be still, breathe out) or active (be attentive, conscious, take responsibility, breathe in). What is the power behind all this? Here are some kinds that are covered in the text throughout the book:
• Power to pay attention
• Power to be centered
• Power to say yes to the moment and no to urgency
• Power to listen
• Power to see, hear, taste, touch, and smell
• Power to own, to take responsibility for, and to embrace my uniqueness
Hershey is a gifted storyteller, so you'll find a treasure-trove of delightful tales here. If you watched the Hallmark Channel program New Morning, you'll remember his many appearances, usually using some humorous or touching story to make his points. He's also a great lover of quotations and headlines every chapter with a favorite. But what we liked best in this book is the spiritual practice he includes at the end of each chapter, which he calls "A Powerful Pause for the Days Ahead." Here are some examples:
• "This week, embrace the mundane acts, such as washing dishes, pulling weeds, commuting, walking the dog. Consider them a form of prayer."
• "Find a way to withdraw for at least half a day. No phone. No email. No errands and no visits. If you're brave, wear some form of 'I'm Closed' sign a lapel pin or a variation on a nametag."
• "Spend some time with your calendar and planner and take off at least one item from this week's list."
• "Today, if you have a porch swing, use it. If you don't have one, today's a good day to find one."
Hershey's pauses have given him the energy to play and to imagine. Check out the many links in the book to the Loyola Press website for quips, pictures, and even an online Power of Pause Assessment (www.loyolapress.com/powerofpause). Also visit Hershey's own website www.terryhershey.com to keep up with what he's doing and how he's pausing these days.