Can’t Relax? Creative Non-Thinking from Unstuck Every Day


Navigating Life’s Challenges as a Semi-Reformed Over-Thinker.


Every challenge in life is an opportunity to realign an overly busy mind.

Intentionally pausing…before launching into another epic bout of research, rumination, or agitated action.

How? With creative non-thinking. No, not daydreaming or a daily nap.

I’m talking about something a bit more engaging. Something with a splash of color, a side of wisdom, and a dose of rationale.


Finding Relaxation AND Productivity

Supported by Science?

“…ideas result from a period of incubation—a process whereby initial conscious thought is followed by a period during which one refrains from task-related conscious thought.” Ritter, 2014

Slowing today’s digitally charged brains is easier than expected. It can be accomplished through daily intentional habits. Rituals that interrupt STUCK and lead to FLOW. The key? According to Ritter, it is important to use “a plethora of raw materials.”

Journal writing and visual creativity are my own personal favorites. A powerhouse duo of tools leading to subconscious awareness. While simultaneously kickstarting insightful productivity. I find these tools useful in virtually every area of my life.

  • reaching dreams and goals

  • navigating sticky relationships

  • balancing stressful daily obligations


What Does the Shift Look Like? Part 1

Journal Writing

  1. I notice my brain whirling in uncertainty, emotional distress, or non-productivity.

  2. I reach for pen and spiral bound notebook.

  3. I unload agitation and self-condemnation on the page.

  4. I kick up my speed…until I become completely unaware of the words spraying before me.

  5. I stop. Reread my words aloud. And gaze in wonder at the highly personal wisdom I have just downloaded.


I scribbled the following entry after an especially tense morning of wheel spinning, ending in a frustrated entry, “HOW am I ever going to bring my vision to life if I keep wasting time like this?” Although the voice in my head sounds a lot like a harshly wagging finger, I quickly reminded myself of the wisdom of STUCK.

With an open door and the tiniest spark of trust, my query sparks sincere reflection. Today’s topic? The dual energies of “HOW. A word that sometimes leads to endless research and reading (precursor to stuck). And other times…to a life of fascinating learning.

HOW can be hard or soft. Demanding or inquisitive. HOW can be trusting or needy. Restful or overthinking. HOW can be openhearted or OCD. When do I bring the best HOW into my life? When I offer curiosity and innocence together.
— Words from my journal
  • How about you? Does HOW drive you around an endless circular track…or inspire you to explore effortlessly?


Theta Brain Waves

Eminent journal writing guru, Janet Conner, refers to this process of gathering insight through relaxed detachment as theta.

Theta refers to one of the slowest brain wave states (4-8Hz)…just a step above sleep.

Yet in this slow state, we are still capable of some pretty amazing breakthroughs.


I’ll Admit…I Don’t Write Every Time I’m Stuck

Although I do my main journal writing in the morning, I do utilize writing throughout the day. Because it’s quick and easy. And I get stuck a lot.

But sometimes….I need more. I need different. I need a language that has no words. AND I NEED TO MAKE A MESS!

That’s when I turn to visual reflection. A process I refer to as Creative Disruption. For its ability to jolt my locked brain back into gear.


What Does the Shift Look Like? Part 2

LOOSE steps open to highly personal variations.


  1. I begin with no artistic plan. Creative Disruption has nothing to do with art. And everything to do with the art of being me.

  2. I access one still prominent emotion by revisiting my written journal.

  3. NO RULES or artsy expectations. Anything messy, primitive, simplistic, or even weird becomes a playground of revelation.

  4. And if I notice self-judgment? I go into my most nurturing M-other Me mode…

    “What if your purpose is simply the process? If that was true, then you couldn’t get it wrong.”


Although I don’t like placing labels on my playtime, I’m calling today’s ten minute round of “Wheeeeeeeeee,” a success. It is rare that I work this fast, but I can clearly see I was in theta, by my response when I finished.

“I just frickin’ played joyfully, and kicked my brain funk in the butt!”


Another Mentor

Flora Bowley was the first teacher to ever coax my far-too-adult-side to come out and play with paint. According to her, freestyle creativity

…has the power to awaken, empower, heal, and transform

…assists us in moving through fear and embracing the unknown

Through her delightful Bloom True e-course, she taught me that painting can be an intuitive jumble of color, with no purpose in mind. While I must admit that I struggled with “letting go” for years, this tantalizing concept WOULD NOT LEAVE ME ALONE.

And is now one the the cornerstones of my daily theta practice. A practice today confirmed by poet T.S. Eliot, who landed right in the middle of my unplanned page of wisdom.


And the end of all exploring will be to arrive where we started. And know the place for the first time.


We all started out knowing how to play. How to rest when we needed it. And how to create. Not for the purpose of marketability, but for the simple joy of expression.

Are we as wise today?


Have You Had Your Theta Today?

People often ask Janet Conner, “How can I tell if I’m in theta?” Her answer is always, “You can’t.”

You won’t notice when your writing or creativity actually move from tantrum to relaxed detachment. Because you are totally in the zone. But you’ll find evidence when you’re finished.

  1. You’ll feel more calm than when you began.

  2. You’ll have greater confidence. Knowing that you are in charge of your discomfort rather than discomfort ruling you.

  3. Hope will have increased exponentially. You simply know that your story is directly in the pathway of wisdom.

  4. You will feel lighter. More likely to allow your inner child to come out and play…rather than scolding or judging her.

  5. When you return to your words or canvas, you’ll find yourself wondering…. “I wrote/created that? SHAZAM, I’m wise!

Non-thinking at its finest.


The perfect tools of a semi-reformed over-thinker. Relaxed in mind…and moving forward with wisdom. And a few extra smiles.


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