Down Time is Not a Waste of Time - So Relax!
7 reasons why down time is not a waste of time

Fall semester is just around the corner! This means, for college students, life may get a little harder to balance. Parents have double duty with kids going back to school. Responsibility (ick, that WORD) may be barreling toward you at warp speed. But, that doesn’t mean you have to turn into a workaholic. When you keep down time in your schedule, studies show it makes you more productive! Here’s are seven reasons why chilling out does not mean you are slacking off.

1) Relaxation = Creativity: When you relax, carry a notepad and pen with you. Prepare to jot down ideas or inspirations you get. When your mind is clear, you are more open to inspiration. If you are ready to capture your genius ideas, suddenly that mid-week fun time is productive time.

Finish reading the article on PuckerMob…

Your life is a blank canvas. Paint it!

abstract skyline

This week, I finished painting a little project I started about a year ago. I drew the outline and then I just put it back in the case. I went about my life. What I realized, when I picked that canvas up again, is that I really feel peaceful when I paint. It’s not about doing it right. It’s about putting brush to canvas and seeing what materializes. Often, it’s not what I expected. As I paint, I get inspired to do different things, use different colors, and express myself in new ways. I have come to realize this is a great approach to apply to life as well.

Blank canvases are filled with possibility. When you can quiet your mind and listen to what inspires you, it’s amazing where life leads. You can dip your brush in a color, fill a pre-conceived drawing, but you never really know exactly how it’s going to come together until it has. Life often imitates art in this way. I love it when someone asks an artist, “what was your inspiration?” Some artists have a very clear direction. In art classes, the students learn according to a very specific plan. There may be room for color interpretation. However, if the class is centered around painting a horse, everyone is going to walk out the door with a horse.

Art also imitates life.

You can walk through life with yourself, your higher power (whatever that may be), trust and faith. Or, you can find a living mentor and follow a base set of instructions. You can use a mixture of the two. However, one thing is constant. You start with a blank canvas.

To achieve a blank canvas, clear your mind of pre-conceived notions of how things should be or will be. Choose a path and walk down it. Artistic blocks happen when your will and the will of the universe clash. Give in to full inspiration and you will be inspired.

Today’s Exercise: What inspires you today? What can you clear away to create a blank canvas to express that inspiration?

This week, I reinforced my rediscovered love of peace and painting by purchasing a meditation pillow and some new art supplies. I can’t wait to see what I create with them! What will you create? What hobbies will you indulge in? What projects will you complete? How will you paint on the blank canvas that is your life? Share by commenting below.

Is staring at Facebook negative meditation?

Facebook depression I have a number of spiritual practices I do every morning to start my day off right. I write in my journal. I read a passage in a book of meditations for women. I will occasionally read some tarot cards. These practices make me feel good and, after I say “thank you” for the messages I received, I go about my day. However, today I was hit with an a-ha moment. I realized I have another morning and night practice. I check my Facebook page.

Watching myself for the past week, I realized a significant shift in how I felt after my spiritual practices if I picked up my phone and checked my Facebook page. I realized anything I uncovered through my other positive practices was significantly dulled if not replaced by other feelings. I was sucked into doubt, fear, anxiety, or elation, joy, and motivation—entirely based upon whatever people decided to share that day.

This led me to the question: Is staring at Facebook negative meditation?

If I am spending each morning and night, ritualistically looking at other people’s walls, scanning my news feed, and reviewing my past posts, am I essentially meditating? Am I opening a channel and receiving random messages?

In meditation, we quiet our minds and we open ourselves up to a message. We hope in this practice that the messages we receive will be beneficial to our lives.  I meditate in a number of ways, depending on how I feel. I read a passage and reflect. I listen to music, quiet my mind, and listen for the message. Or, I will just sit on the shores of Lake Tahoe and listen to the sounds of nature.

The issue with Facebook (or any social media site for that matter) is it is a dumping ground for all emotions, all points of view, all reactions, and all personalities. Opening my feed now, I see happy family photos, throwback pictures, updates on personal tragedy, and emotionally-charged political rants. That’s just the first few posts I see in my news feed. It’s funny they call it a news feed because I “feed” off of these emotionally and take action accordingly. I contact friends. I feel happy, sad, hurt, proud, or inspired by what I see. I apply things to my life.

The a-ha moment came when I realized that anything I uncovered through my other practices was significantly dulled if not replaced by other feelings. Today, I have decided to test the assumption that Facebook is negative meditation for me and is a subtraction, rather than an addition, to my routine.

For one week, starting today, I am not going to open Facebook in the morning or at night before I go to bed. I am going to let my spiritual practices stand alone and monitor the effects on my life and business.

I’ll let you know how it goes.