Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Downtime is harder and harder to achieve. Real downtime, I mean. Like the dog in the picture, sometimes we sits and thinks... and sometimes we just sits--and our minds race aimlessly on the hamster wheel in our brain. That's not the same as not thinking.

I suspect that's when we end up more exhausted than when we actually spend time in productive thinking. Hamster wheel thought is certainly not restful. On the contrary, it's debilitating and discouraging. And frustrating. We can't seem to capture even the smallest concept as it whizzes by on the never-ending spin.

Some call it writer's block. But I believe it isn't only writers who suffer from the murky morass in the brain. We notice it because we're trying to create. But what about those people in other walks of life who can't concentrate? And more importantly, why can't we concentrate?

Perhaps it's because we never tune out from our frenetic, ever "on" lives. Escape used to be possible simply by walking out the door. Telephones were stationary devices--designed only for talking to another person. They didn't deliver e-mail, text messages, or the weather. When you left your home or job, you were alone in your vehicle or on foot, with time to think productively. You had time to process your day at work or the last book you read or the fight you had with your spouse that morning.

There was time. Downtime in the truest sense of the word. Now the only downtime available may be when you're sitting in the bathroom. And from past comments on various posts, that may not be true either. I've heard of people who take their cellphones into the bathroom while showering--just in case someone calls.

Hello! More than likely, they'll call back! If you truly want to find out how important you are in the scheme of things, spend some time in the hospital. You'd be amazed at the way the world continues to rotate without you--and how short a time people will miss you. Think about it. That's right. Snatch a moment from your busy schedule and really think about why you're so busy.

What can be eliminated? If the answer is nothing, then it's time to reprioritize. Life is too darned short. Carve out some thinking/praying/meditation time to think real thoughts. Spend time contemplating the world around you. Appreciate the uniqueness of your children or spouse. Notice their smiles or the way they walk. Savor the sensation of chocolate on your tongue. Breathe in the swirling ribbons of scents that surround you. Smile. Kiss a frog. Turn off the world and listen to the silence.




  1. My downtime is when I am writing. LOL! Sounds silly, huh? But when I am lost in my imagination, and things are cookin', I feel refreshed, and almost reborn. If I try to watch a movie or read a book, I find my mind wandering back to the H/H and what they would be doing right now.

  2. I turn off my cell phone at night. I've gotten some shocked looks when I tell people that, but there is NO one I want to talk to at 2am, particularly a wrong number!

  3. That still amazes me, that people actually sleep with their cell phones on! And they actually HEAR it?? If a ring tone wakes ME up in the middle of the night, it had better be that a loved one is in the hospital; otherwise I'm going to PUT them there for waking me out of a sound sleep for nothing:)

    Seriously, if my landline rings at 2am, it had better be damn important. And still, I'm not likely to anwer it; my daughter will grab it first and then have to wake me up if it's for me.

  4. I can't get my brain to 'turn off' but I can't write either. Too much stuff swimming around in there. Driving me crazy.

  5. Sound advice from the Zen queen herself! :)

    You're very right though. We need recharge time, and too often we forget to give it to ourselves.

  6. Poor T!! I cut my leg up pretty bad but had 19 stitches. I can't imagine her pain.

    To healthcare, my kids and I are sick right now. The kids have to be seen every month anyway and with their prescriptions, the cost is around $600 a month. So when the flu comes along, or ear aches, we have to wait it out. There's just no money.