The Idle Brain

We’ve all had those sudden strikes of inspiration, moments where an idea materializes so vividly that you have no choice but to get to work.

Those moments aren’t the rule though. They happened to me more often as a kid and teenager. Now, as an adult, I find that they rarely happen. 

Why?

Scientifically those moments of inspiration, ideas, etc are more likely to happen when your brain is able to idle. For most people, an idling brain is a difficult thing to come by.

If you’re like me, a parent working full time, caring for pets, home, and seemingly everything else, there doesn’t seem to be time for your brain to idle. There’s always something to do.

Not only that, we live in a society that so prioritizes “multi-tasking” and “working well under stress” that it’s no wonder we can’t let our brains idle. We’re conditioned to be busy, especially in the workplace where the idea that if you aren’t busy then you aren’t working still prevails. 

Let’s talk for just a second about multitasking and what it really means. For years I thought multitasking meant being able to jump from task to task and get many things done at once. In reality, multitasking is just misdirection. 

Every time you leave one task to work on another you actually perform slower than if you were to just focus on one task to completion. If you are constantly moving from one task to another then it’s likely you feel that you never actually get anything done.

In a world that embraces a constant busyness, how do we allow our brains to idle?

One method is putting our physical bodies to work on something that doesn’t require a lot of brainpower. The brain is always working, it never stops but if we do things that require simple physical rote memory and not a lot of brainpower then we have the ability to set our brain into idle mode. Examples are taking a walk, hike, gardening, even cooking – without distractions meaning no earbuds or youtube to keep you company. This may also be why we sometimes zone out while driving, it’s a rote activity that allows our brain to slip into idle mode.

All of this is great but how do we find time in the midst of everything else to let our brains idle?

If you’re completely booked up then schedule time. You can set aside 10 or 15 minutes to take a walk outside or to find a quiet place to just sit and let yourself daydream. At first, you may not be able to set problems aside and just let your mind wander, that will also take practice. Like meditation, when thoughts come up during this time, acknowledge them and move on, don’t move your focus to them. Listening to nature outside or using a mindfulness app to help guide your thoughts can also be helpful. 

The more you practice, the better you will become at allowing your brain to idle and the more benefits you will begin seeing from it. 

As a coach, I help people develop their creativity through this practice and others, if you are interested in learning more contact me here.

Photo from the Pexel’s photo library shows an abandoned boat on a beach during sunset and a person approaching it.

That’s Not The Universe

The law of attraction is kind of bogus.

I said what I said.

It’s not that I don’t believe people can create their own lives and destinies. I do.

What the law of attraction attempts to do is move people into energy or the perception of creation. It encourages you to change your thought patterns, make your wording more intentional, and ask for what you truly want.

That’s not the universe though, that’s you.

Everything about our realities is based on our perceptions and these perceptions change, sometimes from moment to moment.

When you’re angry, you see conflict. When you’re scared, everything can be a threat. When you’re blissful, everything you perceive is through that state of bliss.

These things don’t depend on the universe providing, they depend on our awareness and our perception.

An example, if you are angry and frustrated, perhaps things have gone sideways at work, you will be more combative because you are, at that moment, perceiving everything through your anger and frustration. Jenny didn’t mean to piss you off more, she was just trying to offer you a mint but when we are existing in that state we see conflict everywhere.

In the same vein, when you are existing that perception of creation you see opportunity. You are more willing to follow those opportunities and do what’s needed to capitalize on them. You essentially follow, ask for, and create exactly what you want.

The law of attraction teaches us, in a roundabout way, to adjust our thoughts, perceptions, and energy but it attributes our successes and failures to a large, mysterious entity – “the universe” – and places undue pressure on the nature of our thoughts.

Why didn’t you receive the abundance you said you wanted? Maybe your thoughts were wrong. Maybe the timing was wrong. Maybe you just didn’t want it hard enough. Did you remember to chant your wants in present tense over and over?

A whole industry exists around this.

There is value in actively learning the power of our words, thoughts, and perceptions. There is also value in recognizing the work we have to do and attributing that where it truly belongs, to ourselves.

The law of attraction attempts to teach this but does so in such a removed way that people don’t truly become aware of their perceptions. Since success is attributed to the universe providing people don’t recognize how their actions and perceptions can change as a result of this new way of thinking.

Are you ready for an insightful look at where your energy and perceptions default? Do you want to change the way you view and interact with the world around you? I recently become a master practitioner in the energy leadership index assessment. It’s an attitude based assessment that measures your energy levels/perceptions across 7 energies. If you’re interested in learning more about where your energy and perceptions are and how to elevate them, contact me here. – Shameless plug.

Photo from the Pexel’s photo library shows a galaxy

The Art of Subtraction

Here’s what I’m taking into this week.

Less is more.

Often I see people add.

At work, unending steps and processes are added to combat problem areas. In writing, we add words, characters, even whole plot lines that only serve temporary purposes and don’t move the story forward.

Something well placed can add a lot, no matter what you’re working on.

But I’ve found that we frequently add and add and add … until things are so bloated they become unmanageable.

We do this in our work, in our creative efforts and in our lives in general.

It’s been found that when we’re under extra cognitive load or when we aren’t reminded that taking something away can be an option, we’re much more likely to add.

It’s also thought that this could have something to do with maintaining norms as it’s considered less destructive to add something new rather than taking something away.

This is your reminder that subtraction is an option.

This week I’m making it my goal to actively consider the idea of reducing instead of adding.

How often do you find yourself considering taking away things instead of adding them? What in your life could benefit from this idea of less is more?

Source: https://www.sciencealert.com/here-s-why-our-brains-always-want-to-solve-problems-by-adding-not-taking-away

Photo from the Pexels photo library shows a sunset on a beach with a jar of lights laying in the sand.

What Does It Cost You?

I don’t know that Aristotle actually said this but this is the energy I’m taking into the week.

I’ve been working on my self-discipline for a couple of years now. At one point, right around when I turned 30, I realized I never really got anything done because I wasn’t disciplined enough to stick with it.

It wasn’t anybody else’s fault, though I may have tried to blame them. It was mine.

It’s really easy to start something, look it over and go “this is crap”. It’s easy to walk away from things that are harder than you thought they would be.

Modern day humanity is all about the convenience and there’s nothing more convenient than quitting. ( Note: There are valid times to quit. That’s not what I’m talking about here.)

A question I learned to ask myself is simple. It’s “what does this cost you?” Or “what is this costing you?”

It’s a question that aims for the heart of the issue. If you’re tolerating and settling then what are you missing out on?

Maybe it also plays off our collective FOMO (fear of missing out).

Either way, when I began asking myself and really digging into the answers I found a lot of my failures had to do with my lack of self-discipline.

I never finished a story or a book. I never invested in myself through making sure I worked out. I never truly made creativity into my career.

There were reasons for all of these but they all boiled down my starting and stopping once something became difficult. As a result I didn’t trust myself to follow through on the things I wanted to do. In my mind it was better to just daydream about them instead.

So this week I want to ask you, what are you tolerating or settling for in your life? What is that costing you?

The Art of Distractions

If there’s one thing I excel at, it’s distracting myself.

Social media has compounded this down into a concentrated little problem that affects everything I do.

I sit down to write and find myself scrolling while the limited time just slips away.

I tell myself it’s ok, but is it?

No! Of course not. The more I scroll the less time I have for creativity, for really getting into the flow.

World events haven’t helped. If anything I might argue that we’re constantly in need of distraction right now.

I used to call these little distraction breaks “brain breaks”.

That was before I realized the true nature of how distractions disrupt our work patterns and flows and the nature of being trapped within a social media algorithm.

My “brain breaks” frequently knocked me off task and resulted in who knows how much time spent trying to get back on task.

It wasn’t always like this. At one point I left my phone laying face down on the other side of the room or in another room altogether while I dug into my creative practice. At that time I was also a pitiful social media user at best, posting to instagram once every few months and checking Facebook only when someone asked me to.

The trouble began when I actively sought out ways to promote my writing. That meant leaning into social media, at least that’s what I thought. Over time I found myself writing less and scrolling more. I was effectively trapped by the algorithm. It learned my moves, thoughts … I swear it eaves drops on my conversations.

To counter this I’ve come up with a couple of novel ideas.

One is, of course, using screen time which is built into apple devices. Another is reverting back to leaving my phone facedown somewhere else. I can access social media from my computer but I’m far more likely to do it from my phone.

I’ve also considered removing the apps from my phone however I worry that will drive me to check it more from my computer, thus continuing the disruption process. Another consideration has been downloading an app that would effectively lock my phone down during certain periods of time.

So far the combination of screen time and leaving my phone face down seems to be working.

What are some of the ways you keep yourselves free from distractions? Do you use any apps to keep yourself off your phone or social media?

Picture from the Pexel’s photo library – shows two people hugging while checking their phones over each others shoulders

Every Action

Raindrops splashing down into water and causing ripples

Every action we take ripples outward from ourselves, affecting other areas of our lives.

In this sense the idea of karma, or energy attracting like energy, continues to play out in a more physical way.

How do we begin truly recognizing the impact of our actions?

It’s easy to say but practicing momentary mindfulness around the actions we take and words we speak can be difficult.

One of the questions I ask myself before taking action is “is this worth it?”

This is a simple question that can open so many doors. It can be the deciding factor between working a little more and taking some family time. It can also help reveal where your priorities are and lead you to dig deeper on why you have the priorities you have.

This is especially helpful if you’ve been feeling out of alignment with who you are or want to be.

Tell me what other ways you use to judge your actions and words beforehand. How often do you notice yourself practicing this type of momentary mindfulness?

What is Coaching?

I’ve been writing about coaching lately but I haven’t really explained what coaching is.

I’ve found that people have very different definitions of coaching. In my case coaching is the process of guiding someone to the answers they have within themselves and helping them to raise their awareness around their own energy.

For example, you will be less invested in doing the work towards a goal if you have an overall negative outlook and energy around that goal. Coaching facilitates exploring if your goal is truly what you want, raising your energy and outlook and also setting manageable steps towards the goal you wish to achieve.

It’s something often overlooked. We have the answers to our own questions/problems/desires. Sometimes we’re scared of them. Sometimes we can’t quite connect the dots between them. Sometimes we have to dig for them. Coaching facilitates those processes.

For me, coaching is about what you want and how to help you get there. It focuses on asking questions that are thought provoking and meant to encourage your inner exploration but also on goal setting and accountability.

In talking to the community at large about coaching and what someone needs and wants creatively from a coach and coaching relationship, I’ve been given a lot of good points.

Now I’m asking you guys!

If you were to hire a coach to help you creatively, whether it’s writing, another creative endeavor or bringing creative thought/processes into your job or life, what are some things you would want to be coached on. What qualities would you look for in a coach?

Energy – An Intro

Let’s talk about energy. 

We all possess it, manipulate it and even desire it. 

Energy isn’t inherently good or bad but our perceptions can color the energy we’re receiving and putting back out.

For example, you feel down, stuck, the world is against you … that becomes the energy you exude and in turn the energy you attract back to you. 

Being at a low energy shifts our perspective to the more negative things in life. There can be plenty of good but at a low energy there’s a higher chance you miss it or perceive it as not good.

My coaching is about helping one raise that energy level. A coach can guide you through negative beliefs that affect your perception and help you create new beliefs that support a higher energy level. 

This is one of the things that has fascinated me about coaching because it’s something I have seen play out in myself and others. 

I also think it’s important to recognize that you have to do the work in these situations. Sitting around waiting for an improvement to just fall into your lap does not work. Additionally, if you perceive most things as negative then you’re less likely to dive in and do the work necessary to get what you want.

You’re far more invested in a positive outcome when you have a positive energy level and outlook to support it.

We have to take tangible steps towards raising our energy and getting the things we truly desire in life.

Coaching brings this full circle by allowing me to help others do the work which I find amazingly fulfilling. It gives me the tools needed to bring my “hippie energy” mindset into a realm of using it to concretely help others.