Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Sweetness of Doing Nothing

The Sweetness of Doing Nothing

Dear Readers,

I love this phrase. In a culture and society that seems to never slow down, it's so important for us to find balance in our lives. 

Part of that balance is our "white space" as Jeff Veal (@heffrey) reminded us in our #leadupchat Voxer group. We have to intentionally set aside the time for rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. 

Ironically, last night, #tlap was moderated by Dan Tricarico (@thezenteacher) author of The Zen Teacher: Creating Focus, Simplicity and Tranquility. In his book he states:

"Finding a moment of Zen can be a profoundly deep and meaningful pursuit. In that moment, you are fully present and are experiencing life in a way that the rest of the world-in its insane marathon of haste, chaos, and busyness-typically ignores." (page 7)

How do you find your Zen? Do you find it through art, music, fitness, literature, writing, etc.?

Here are some of the ways I am spending my summer finding my zen and white space!

My Beloved Erie Canal

 One of my absolute favorites places to read is on the Erie Canal. I have a routine of stopping for coffee and taking a book (or two) to the "quiet" side of the canal. It is heaven listening to the water, the trees and the sounds of people across the canal. Once in a while one of the tour boats passes through or privately owned boats. 

Reflection Questions:
  • Where is your special reading place?
  • Do you have one?
  • Why do you like it so much?

My Fitness "Un-Routine"

I enjoy many different types of workouts. I also enjoy working out on my time. I have assembled what I consider my "home gym". I am able to kickbox, do Pilates, challenge myself with my toning ball or stretch out with some yoga. All in the comfort of my living room. I am fortunate enough that my apartment complex has a mini-gym right next door with a stationary bike. I often "Book & Bike". My rule to myself is: no distractions, including my phone.

Reflection Questions:

  • What do you like to do to stay healthy?
  • Do you have a fitness routine?
  • Do you like indoor activities? Outdoor activities?
  • Do you belong to a gym? Work out at home?


During the summer months, I get to combine two of my favorite activities outdoors: music and walking. I have a route that is predominantly uphill and takes me through a beautiful residential neighborhood. My no phone expectation applies to this as well.

My love of music started at a young age, I played the violin for 15 years. My musical taste is extremely eclectic depending on my mood, the day, etc.

Reflection Questions:
  • How do you "turn off" from social media?
  • How do you get fresh air and find ways to be outside?
  • Do you stop and notice the beauty of nature while outside?

Finding My Inner Artist

 I love tapping into my creative artist self. Over the past year I have started painting stools for my classroom and the students have painted several quotes onto canvases. I have a beautiful student art gallery when they are all hung up. My latest projects include the stool below with some of my favorite words and this vase with LaVonna Roth's (@LaVonna Roth) magical S.H.I.N.E. acronym. (Self, Heart, Inspire, Navigate, Exceptional)

Reflection Questions:
  • How do you find your creative inner self?
  • Do you draw, color, paint, invent things, etc?

Bookworm Extraordinaire

As many of you know, books are like air to me. I am lucky enough to have a job where I am surrounded by one of my passions. These are just a few of the titles I have read this summer.

Reflection Questions:
  • What do you read?
  • Do you read for professional purposes and pleasure?

"Blogging Machine"

According to Jon Harper (@Jonharper70bd) I am a blogging machine this summer! I listened to Dave Burgess (@burgessdave) and his #127. I am thoroughly enjoying my "writing time" as I call it. I was even fortunate enough to have my pal Julie N. Smith (@julnilsmith) collaborate with me!

Reflection Questions:
  • Do you utilize the power of writing to share your ideas to an audience?
  • How do you reflect, connect to others, inspire, etc.?

Book Clubs, Twitter Chats, Moderator......Oh MY!

I am blessed that Shelley Burgess (@burgess_shelley) continues to give me opportunities to moderate #satchatwc. June 25th, I was lucky enough to moderate on my birthday! I have also co-moderated several books chats including #Choose2Learn and #LAUNCHBOOK.

In addition, I try and participate in as many chats as possible that I am unable to make during the school year.

Reflection Questions:
  • Do you participate more or less in social media when you have free time?
  • Are there particular chats you enjoy?

A Wish to All of You

I sincerely wish you all a relaxing and rejuvenating summer if you are on vacation. If you are a 12 month employee, I hope you were able to find some down time doing what you enjoy. If you head back to school soon, I hope you begin the school year feeling balanced and healthy!