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4.7 out of 5 stars
The Power of Pause: Becoming More by Doing Less
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The Power of Pause reinforces that Sabbath is something that we choose to live each day rather than perform one day each week! The book's "year-round" short chapters provide the reader with an awareness of God's grace and explicit simplicity in the ordinary but sometimes complicated and confusing events of life. End of the chapter reflections provide a "powerful pause" for the day, and an opportunity to reflect on how the reading resonates in one's soul. As a professor of Education at a Christian university, I find that Terry's writings can easily be used as an opening devotion for each class session. His storytelling style leaves both readers and listeners with a fresh (and sometimes humorous) look on the journey through life. This book is well worth the money to have as a professional resource. It's a golden nugget, for sure. I loved it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I sat down to read The Power of Pause. I had to read it, and I only had the weekend to do it. It was a task, something on my to-do list. I was interviewing Terry for a radio show (From the Inside Out) on Monday, so I felt "obligated" to read his book, in it's entirety, before the interview. Within 10 minutes of opening the book, something happened. Something shifted. The task became experience. I noticed myself slowing down, I noticed the warmth of the fire, the coziness of my couch and blanket, the slow ticking of the clock. I even noticed my breathing. The book it full of insights, inspirational moments, phrases to be savored. I hope you will give yourself the gift of reading this book - - even if it starts out as one more thing on your to-do list!
~ Kathy Cleveland Bull
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The latest book by Terry Hershey is a must have. I have read it once, loaned it out twice and am now reading it again. I like the flow of the book - it is simple and not overpowering... I don't feel like I can't put it down and just pause to think of what I just read. It is in the simple reminders that Terry brings us back to the reality of who we are, why we are here and how we miss that in the busyness of life.... I love to Pause...
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on May 27, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This is a hard book for me to rate because it had good points and bad points.

The structure:
52 entries (they don't really qualify as essays). Each begins with a quote. Each ends with a "Powerful Pause for the Upcoming Week." The entries are a mixture of diary entry, toastmaster- or sermon-type stories, and whatever thought the author seemed to be having on the particular day that he wrote the entry.

The good:
- Easily read, addictive. I read it quite quickly over a few days, pausing to think and look out the window as I did so.
- It usually gave me that peace-as-I'm-reading feeling that I've been looking for lately.

The bad:
- It feels as if it was whipped out with no effort on the part of the author.
- The entries/points it makes seemed scattershot and random. Today he was watching the news so that made him think of this, tomorrow he was on the ferry, so he thought of that, etc. So at the end of the book there really is nothing to remember except his descriptions of the plants in his vast garden, or the sunsets he experienced while riding the ferry in Puget Sound to his home on Vashon Island. (And perhaps that's not so bad. Maybe that's what we should all be focusing on, sunsets and our gardens.)

The Neutral:
- Several entries came from a Buddhist point of view, two or three times that many talked about God.
- It feels very much like he took his sermon-writing skills from when he was a minister and applied them to this book: think throughout the week, have a sermon by Sunday.

The Subtextual Bad:
- He mentions a few times about how he has struggled with trying to appear important. So all the entries about his garden, which sounds lavish, and the great life he has sitting out there every evening it seems watching sunsets, and how often he's on planes because he is so wanted for speaking engagements and leading retreats, and all the other sunsets he describes from all the great houses of friends he has all over the states, it all makes it sound as if he hasn't quite resolved those issues. There is a subtext of bragging.
- Sure it's easy to appreciate things when you're surrounded by beauty and constantly traveling to new places, but what about the rest of the world, who might live in a ghetto, have a brick wall outside their window, and be struggling to make ends meet? How do they apply his principles? (Whatever those were since they weren't clearly defined.)
- There is a narcissism in these entries: how great his life is, how great he is for achieving this, and for having the sense to appreciate it. As if he's thinking, How great my life is sitting under these sunsets and pondering so that I can share these deep thoughts with you. Occasionally, he will remember that, hey, we're watching him, he better mention someone else. So suddenly we'll see a mention of his son Zack. Usually one sentence. Okay, but here's a question. If you're so mindful of your life, how can you have a book of 52 entries, most of which have an element of diary to them, and not have a single mention of your wife (which it states on the back flap that you have)? It is as if this peacefulness that comes from pausing can only happen in, basically, a single situation: sitting out under a sunset and watching, describing the colors, and there is someone behind you, your wife, doing all the hard stuff, the dishes, the laundry, so that you can live this life of intellectual luxury. And yet, she doesn't even break in to your consciousness.
- A final note: He complained about our culture, ever on the hunt for the superlatives: more, faster, better, newer. So it was amusing(?) to see at the end of the first entry that he would end each one with a POWERFUL Pause for the Upcoming Week instead of just a Pause.

So what can I say? I'm left with the idea of pausing, appreciating the sunset, slowing down (of course, after I've worked really hard to achieve success so that when I do slow down it will be in a place of luxury), all of which I could get from the title itself.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Along with most other people in today's world, I find myself living at a terribly brisk pace. My attention jumps from one task to another at work while my eyes scan web pages and blogs for pertinent articles at home. My attention constantly darts between my wife, my son, books, and the computer. In the midst of all of this, how does one begin to slow down? What's the secret to living a peaceful, slow life?

In the The Power of Pause: Becoming More by Doing Less (Loyola Press, 235 pages, $16.95), author Terry Hershey speaks into these questions. The book is filled with 52 chapters containing reflections and practical ideas to allow the soul to "catch up" with the body. These 52 chapters--corresponding to the weeks of the year--are arranged along seasonal themes. Though I didn't read the book in conjunction with the seasons of the year, I imagine it would only heighten the message's effect; appreciating the seasons is one path to a `paused' life.

The main message of the book should be, I think, well received by most people, specifically we busy Americans. Echoing the Third Commandment of God, Hershey promotes the Judeo-Christian practice of the Sabbath as the foundation of a restful life. Instead of sequestering Sabbath practices to one day of the week, however, Hershey encourages the blanketing of all our activities with them. While a Catholic, Hershey doesn't tinge each entry with religious references or explicitly Catholic belief. God and the idea of Sabbath are mentioned on a small handful of pages, but the book doesn't seem geared toward readers looking for a theological understanding of `rest'; it seems written for those who instead are seeking personal experiences of it.

In addition to the practice of regular Sabbaths, Hershey also encourages such practices as "paying attention", "being centered", "intently listening", and "embracing the present while rejecting the urgent". The book offers many practical suggestions including withdrawing from your daily grind for half-a-day, visiting a garden and allowing time to mindlessly wander, savor a simple experience like an ice cream cone on a bench or a good cup of coffee, and playing like a child by running through sprinklers or rolling down a hill. All of these and more help us to escape the urgent, frenetic world many of us find ourselves in.

When Hershey introduces the phrase "power of pause", he discusses two different types of "pause". The first, `passive-pause', requires us to breathe out, to let go, to be still. The second, `active-pause', requires us to breathe in, be attentive, and be conscious of the present moment. This hearkens to the two distinct methods of Christian prayer--and frankly the prayers of pretty much all religions.

"The Power of Pause" has a sort of "New Age" feel to it; anytime people speak of "being present" or recognizing the "power of now", a Christian reader needs to discern whether or not these terms are using to accentuate God and life with Him or are used as a substitute, as in the case of "New Age" religion. Jesus spoke all the time about rest--"..and I will give you rest"--and did it often Himself. I think many of the phrases used by Hershey, such as "power of pause" and "living a present life", are simply fresher versions of religious terms such as "spiritual simplicity" and "contemplation". In the case of this book, I think the neglect of explicitly religious terms and anecdotes were simply made in order for the book to appeal to a larger (non-Christian) audience.

There were two misgivings I had after finishing. The material at times can seem overly `fluffy' and `light' while also seemingly repetitive. I consider the themes and practices Hershey suggests to be of great value, but many of the anecdotes and chapters could have been consolidated. While the material was inherently good, I didn't think there was enough unique material to fill 52 entries. Second, each entry begins with a quote pulled from one of the greatest contemplatives and "pausers" to have lived--Hershey references greats such as Thomas Merton, Gandhi, C.S. Lewis, Pascal, and Eugene Peterson. I found that these quotes were wonderful in setting the mood for the entry. What I was perturbed by, however, were the closing sections found after some of the entries. The publisher of the book, Loyola Press, developed some "Book Extras" which are posted on their website. These extras-- including a personal "pause" assessment, links to websites, and picture and craft templates--seem to counter the message of the entries they conclude. An entry that encourages pause and disconnect is followed by an invitation to fire up the computer and jump right back online. I found this a little confusing.

Also, as a confession, my reading of the book was probably the antithesis of the book's message--I finished it over a few weeks after only a handful of sittings. So instead of reading each passage and "pausing" on it throughout the week, I instead read multiple chapters and gleaned only what I thought necessary. Even with my quicker reading of the book, I was still able to absorb the importance of regular `pauses'. However I think if I had slowly made my way through the book over the course of a year, its principles surely would be more deeply embedded within me.

If you are looking for a book on the Sabbath, one that approaches these same themes through an explicitly Judeo-Christian lens, my favorite book on the topic is the aptly named Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives, written by Wayne Muller. In fact, Hershey references this book a few times in "The Power of Pause". On the other hand, if you are looking for a fairly light read on the idea of "pausing", resting, and being present, then "The Power of Pause" would be decent choice.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Terry's insight into the human soul is both healing and incisive. In his new book we are taken into a world of wonder and honest confession through remarkable storytelling. Through a "storyscape" of sunsets, shadows, clouds, purple crayons, and agave blossoms, we are reminded that "pause" is indeed necessary to the ongoing presence of the sacred in our lives.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
As the sun rises and the day begins, rather than racing into it, I have begin reading a chapter of "Pause." With few exceptions, each chapter has separated me from focus on myself, letting me enter into the "Spirit of the Universe" or the Heart of Jesus, whatever of those eternal spaces I happen to encounter each morning. While emptying out the "bothers" of dreams or unfinished business, I perceive the surrounding divine love in whom I believe with all my heart. Terry's gathered ideas begin a reciprocal giving and receiving, emptying and filling of my spirit. Three of the "pauses" produced powerful metaphors I used effectively throughout each of those days and two of them produced melodies and songs crying out for transfer to real notes and verse. I continue to be blessed and surprised every morning. Terry touches common cords in his readers reverberating in a joyously centered symphony of eternal meanings I wrote into song. Pause is Blessing!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I can't say enough good things about this book. Terry Hershey is genuine, generous, and funny in capturing both the ordinary human moments we all struggle with, as well as inspiring and clear insights that help you find your heart again when it seems lost in the daily shuffle. The Power of Pause holds deep smiles, deep peace, and a deeper understanding of what it means to truly live your life with faith, compassion, joy, and grace.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I dicovered Terry Hershey a few years ago and loved the quietness of his teaching,his stories just touched my soul,I can,t wait till mondays for Sabbath Moments.
Then came the Power of Pause, Shortly after I read the book I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I have had a mastectomy and the rest of the treatment is pending.I have signed up to walk a half marathon in Seattle in June.As walk on a path several times I Pause and see the world around me and in that moment I am a small speck on the earth with all the other specks,not a 70 yr. old cancer patient. Pausing and being aware of this wonderful planet we live on lifts me from all of the problems for a few moments.
Thank you Terry for the !POWER OF PAUSE!
Kathy
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
The Power of Pause is the most helpful and hope-giving book I have purchased from amazon.com and read this year. The many stories he tells shed a warmly humorous and most welcome light on this helter skelter, rush, rush, rush society we live in. It is one thing to say "slow down" and many people do, but Terry Hershey tells us why and shows us the abundant blessings that follow from paying attention, from learning to see, and allowing the sheer giftedness of our beautiful planet to sink into our hearts. I have read somewhere that we will save what we love.

The Power of Pause has re-ordered my life. I have ordered several copies to give to friends.
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