The Power of Having "Down" Days
By Paul Bauer
Have you ever had days when your energy and inspiration just doesn't seem to "be there"? No matter how hard you try, it just seems that you just don't have that "juice" like you normally have?
This effect recently hit me and it dawned on me to share with you how it has changed my life. Back in 1996, when I began my company, Dreams Alive, I had boundless enthusiasm about my company's potential. And despite not having much to begin my company with, I listened to my Heart and my gut and I focused my energies in one direction.
Occasionally, though, this "focus" would drop off, I noticed that my energy seemed drained some days and I thought "What's wrong with me?"
In the summer of 1997, I stumbled onto a great book called "Thinking For A Living" by Joey Reiman. I found it during a similar phase when my inspiration seemed to have fallen off. (Which can be scary when you've just begun a start-up company with no sales and no cash in the bank!)
While I was feeling "down" and wondered what it was going to take to become inspired again and get my company moving (which my intuition kept telling me - so I trusted it), I found a passage in Reiman's book that talked about the process of Incubation.
"In the incubation stage, we step back from the problem and let our minds contemplate and work it through. Like preparation, incubation can last minutes, weeks, even years."
"Conventional corporate structures prohibit employees from thinking properly because they penalize them for incubation. This dilemma started in school when teachers handed out pink slips for daydreaming.
But dreaming during waking hours is essential to the thinking process. What's more, without daydreaming you're highly unlikely to have an illustration or Aha! experience. To daydream is to begin to understand."
"To daydream is to begin to understand" he says...
It hit me! All the hours that I "wasn't "up" or "inspired" were actually serving me, I was "incubating" all the while but didn't know it! Moreover, what really hit me was we can't be high energy all the time - in fact we need "down time" to rest, and renew.
But then what hit me changed my life. I learned that even on "down days" my higher self and my subconscious were handling my tasks - no matter how "down" the days were! I didn't have to be in control or "on" all the time - what a relief! What breath of fresh air. I felt free!
I share this story with you because I'm in the midst of creating several different projects that have all been vying for my attention - kind of like children in need of nurturing, and guidance. I've had days when the "creativity valve" has been wide open, and other days it seems to be rusted shut!
So my ego (silly little bugger that it is!) says something like, "SO you think you're creative. Joe Dreamer?" And in some cases I shrink back to a humbled feeling of "Well, I guess I'm not creative today." BUT, after I walk away, see a movie, take a walk, get a massage, play with my puppies, re-connect with what matters most... I realize that what I needed was to step back, and my "down days" slowly return to normal.
Especially when I'm not striving to make them happen!
A wonderful quote from Brenda Ueland says it best:
"I learned...that inspiration does not come like a bolt, nor is it kinetic, energetic striving, but it comes into us slowly and quietly and all the time, though we must regularly and every day give it a little chance to start flowing, prime it with a little solitude and idleness."
And in fact, some of my best ideas have come from these down days... Have you ever wondered how your "down" days actually are serving you?
Hmmm.... Something to think about...
So, let's take a moment and "chill out" as the kids say,
L e t 's j u s t . . .
b r e a t h e . . .
And allow your creativity to just flow as it needs to. If it's not here today, go play, take a nap, call up a friend for lunch, curl up with a good book.
The key is to un-wind...
You don't need to force it, in fact when you force it, it withdraws, only to feel pressured instead of inspired and spontaneous.
So, just b r e a t h e . . .
“Every relaxation, calming, or meditation technique *relies on breathing*, which may be the lowest common denominator in all the approaches to calming the body and mind,”
- Christophe André, Sainte-Anne Hospital Center in Paris
May you embrace that new choice in your heart my friend...
P.S. for more on how to clear mind viruses, click here
On a scale of 0 to 10 (10 being the highest) how aware are you when a "mind virus" hits you AND how do you detect them?