I’m on a sort of a writing retreat right now: two weeks of dog sitting for my sister- and brother-in-law in their apartment right in the heart of Ballard—a neighbourhood in the northwestern part of Seattle. Within hours of arriving here, I found myself gazing at a window display of adult colouring books in the lovely independent bookstore down the street. Gazing is the wrong word, actually.
The next day, I was brave and attended a free African drumming class. And I mean very brave. I almost turned tail, but a woman was coming in behind me, and she drew me into her wake. Drumming was scary and hard and fun and powerful and I went back yesterday and found it scary and hard and fun and powerful all over again. (And I burst a blood vessel in my hand and the teacher gave me blue tape to put over it so I could go right on drumming.)
Anyway, after class that first Saturday, I stopped in at the bookstore (Secret Garden Books) and bought myself a colouring book. I texted my artist sister-in-law far away in Iceland to see if she had any coloured pencils. Turns out she had a big shiny new box of 128 colours in the bottom of a drawer. So now I have a colouring station: Good lighting. 128 colours. Electric pencil sharpener. I got the idea for a station from Barbara Sher’s Refuse to Choose! Use All of Your Interests, Passions, and Hobbies to Create the Life and Career of Your Dreams. A station means that I can colour for five minutes. I can even colour for one minute and get a break from my brain. I don’t have to get out the coloured pencils each time, clear a space.
I enjoy just seeing the pencils and the book waiting for me. The colouring gives me a true break, a chance to do something completely unrelated to my work, a chance to play with colour combinations, to create something that I enjoy, and something to do instead of turning to Facebook, where I tend to go when I want a short break, but Facebook breaks are always longer than I mean them to be, and I don’t come away as refreshed.
I’m thinking about what other stations I could set up for myself once I’m home. A drumming station would be pretty amazing, but I don’t have a drum. Yet… How about a dancing station? All I need for that is the floor space in my office. And I do love to dance.
What do you love to do?
What provides you with the most refreshing breaks from your work?