(Spring) Break-Away. DIY.

It’s Spring Break this week and I’ve been enjoying some much-needed family time and significant other time, as well as time to write a 20 page paper, organize interviews for a final project, etc etc. I’ve also taken some time to reflect on mental breaks, pauses, breathers, time-outs, etc. AKA vacation from my own brain chatter.

My own (beginner’s) spiritual practice lately has involved trying to be more present, which, when things get busy, often happens in intentionally set-aside blocks of time (or doesn’t happen at all). It’s recently come to my attention how much of my mental time and space is used up thinking about things past and things yet to come. The ghost of christmas present has been elusive. I notice that when I’m super inside my own head, I tend to miss things around me, feel more stressed, and end up feeling decentered and disconnected.

Since long solitary walks have been one of the great love affairs of my life, one way I’m trying to work on this is to get out and about as often as is reasonable with no ipod, no phone, and just pay attention to things right under my schnoz that I normally would blow right by as I pondered what I would say if I was asked to star in the next Muppet movie.

This photo series is from one of those walks today, while visiting the BF in Texas. It was my perfect weather day: upper 60’s, stormy, blustery. With skies that looked like this:


And this:


And wind that looked like this:


So I took the time to stop and notice little things that caught my attention – however simple – like this:

I like this shade of blue.




We used to make bracelets and crowns out of these flowers as kiddos:


Like this:


What do I see in this shape? (Nick said America, I’m still determined to think it’s a person of some kind). Any thoughts?




And mmm MMM, that sky.


While I didn’t necessarily plunge into the spiritual depths of my soul, I felt so refreshed after this walk and the rest of my day was more productive, I was more aware and mentally active, and generally more delighted and joyful. Sometimes it’s the simple things. What do you do for your brain and soul?


  • Reply March 22, 2013


    I can’t even explain how oddly moved I was when I saw those little flowers and your bracelet. I remember that too and love that you made one!

    Lately for my “brain and soul,” I’ve started writing in a journal again. I’ve also started quilting (this type: http://www.craftstylish.com/item/2244/english-paper-piecing), which is slow and repetitive, but also surprisingly calming. Typically I think we would call something like that “boring,” and I’m guilty too of always wanting things to be exciting. I’m interested in the idea that these sort of contemplative and sometimes “dull” activities can do more for the soul (and maybe the brain, at times) than stimulating, thought-inducing activities.

    • Reply March 22, 2013

      Chelsea Scudder

      That quilting style is SO cool and beautiful (and totally your style). And definitely a good low-key activity. I’m wondering too if more repetitive, “boring” activities could be precursors to something like a sitting meditation (in the same way that a lot of people do yoga to get their mind/body into a state of greater stillness in order to more effectively meditate)? Who knows. Worth trying perhaps. Meditation is another thing I’ve been meaning to start taking even 3-5 minutes a day to do.

      it’s a difficult balance, trying to figure out how much time should be allocated to which activities. I guess my hope is that by intentionally doing small things to become more centered and de-stressed, it will start to be easier to “tap in” to that on a more regular basis, even in the most anxiety-producing contexts.

      But either way, I’m still going to need to take those walks!

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