Sweat trickles down my back as I haul away at weeds in my yard. I glance up at my neighbour reading on his deck above me. He spends hours a day, every day, in the same place doing the same thing. I frown and grumble to myself. If it wasn’t for the seeds from his weeds wafting across the street, my job would have been a lot easier this summer.

But then again, to be at my best and most creative self, doing a mindless task, like gardening, is something I need. My brain functions much better when given time to let my mind wander. Problems like figuring out a solution to plotting a story, or settling family issues are solved with an hour or so in the garden. Or on a walk, or in the shower, or dusting, or…


It’s as if the solutions to my problems have been worked out by my subconscious, but due to stimuli of all kinds, the subconscious can’t spit out the solutions. But when my mind wanders, or is even bored, up bubbles the solutions to my issues. It’s like I have to reset and refresh my brain, like my laptop. Happily, I found an article that substantiates my claims.

Meditation of all kinds have been used throughout our history for many purposes. I have run across a couple of different meditation techniques and for the most part, they relax and center me, much the same way as gardening (or walking etc.) Personally, I need about an hour a day of just vegging somehow and letting the stresses loosen their hold on me. I am by nature, an active person, constantly, on the go. But later in my years, I’ve realized that to be at the peak of my creative potential, my brain needs to be sidelined a few times to get some rest.

And to admit to having to be dozy and distracted is hard for me, but alas necessary.

And want to know a deep dark secret? I also find youtube videos a distraction! (I do like the horse ones and the cat ones!) But moderation is key! I know if I haven’t had some down time, I allow myself a few just to veg for a few minutes. Okay more than a few…

What are your ‘go to’ mindless tasks that relax you, and let the creative parts of you bubble up to the surface?

Never Too Crazy to Read

The past four months have been the craziest of my life.

Take one couple’s residential pack-up and a move nearly 500 miles spanning three states, traveling in a small sedan with four dogs weighing a total of 130 lbs., and you have the setup.


Image courtesy of Morguefile free photos

Yet, mentally and physically exhausted at night, I continued my habit of reading a novel for at least a half-hour or more before falling asleep. Fiction took me by the hand and led me into worlds far removed from the stress of boxes crowding every room, dozens of accounts requiring changes, and last-minute veterinarian and doctor visits. Each fictional world–even an unfamiliar one–felt more normal than the real one I lived in and gave me a short period of peace and relaxation.

I’ve always loved books, but their priority struck me when I made a note (on one of many lists) to be sure to include my Kindle in the car with essential personal items in case the moving van arrived late at the new house. It was critical that I immediately have something good to read.

When I hear someone say life’s too crazy and there’s no time to read, I smile a gentle little smile and hope one day that person will discover the truth.

During which difficult times did you find solace in a book?