Taking A Break
January 28, 2011

As much as I love farming, and all sorts of farm-related activities, every once in awhile even I need a break. Today was one of those days.

I actually try to schedule breaks on a fairly regular basis. Not big breaks, not vacations per se. Just doing solid mental or physical work on some other activity. Sometimes that work will be mandated by life and circumstance,such as when the house plumbing needs repairs or we're renovating a room. Maybe the truck needs to be worked on. Sometimes it's hobbies and crafts, such as when I fire up my spinning wheel, or join friends for a Hobby Day. Sometimes it's the choir that I sing with at church, or maybe a workshop comes up. Whatever the event, I find that not only is it a refreshing break from the norm, I also come back to the farming having solved a few things that were puzzling me prior.

Today's projects were a history class I have been taking, then running a variety of non-farm errands which had been put off for too long, then some quiet time at a local church, and visiting with friends afterwards. Nothing earth-shattering, to be sure. And definitely nothing "profitable" or "improving the bottom line". Just investing in my own sanity, as it were.

I'm reminded of something I was taught a long time ago. Usually our conscious brains get most of the congratulations when we've figured out some puzzle. We "work" that problem, consciously, until we calculate or logic or figure or imagine our way from where we are to where we want to be. And to be sure, we get a lot done that way. But the subconscious mind can do a tremendous amount of work when we give it leave to do so. During these times when I'm not actively working on a problem, I tell myself "there's a solution here that I haven't seen yet", then I let it rest and go work on something else. Invariably, the solution will come to me while I'm working on that something else.

It seems counter-intuitive that sometimes to move forward, we have to move sideways. Goodness knows I myself have occassionally argued that the fastest way from Point A to Point B is in a straight line. Yet for whatever reason, occasionally a side trip to Point C is warranted. Having seen that proved to me more times than I can count, I now try to include those side trips. Perhaps not every day, and sometimes not even every week, but at least once or twice a month. My to-do list doesn't necessarily get any shorter, but my bucket of patience is refilled, my stockpile of enthusiasm is replentished, and my sanity battery is recharged. Time well spent.

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