Zainy Brain

Imagination sprouts in the silence.

Creativity works to fill the empty spaces.

You know that. I know that. And yet, the TV tempts, with its endless episodes, podcasts discuss fascinating topics, and Youtube offers tutorials. We have movies, music, books, audiobooks, music, (blog posts, haha), and social media apps at our fingertips, begging to fill every millisecond.

It’s easier to reach for one of these instead of filling the silence with abstract thought, the mother of inspiration. But I will not settle for the easiest path.

When I do manage to convince myself not to turn on anything, there still remain obstacles.

I want to spend my brainpower creating inspiring stories, fascinating characters, meaningful themes, and beautiful sentences. Or invent wonderful things to make and do. Or contemplate meaningful questions: what and who matter in my life, why, and how to live in light of those truths. Or appreciate what I have and the good in the world around me.

Alas, my thoughts tend to ride a merry-go-round of to-dos and/or rehash my woes. I can lay for hours inventing dozens of things to make and thinking through how I will do them step by step on REPEAT. Creating more stress and pressure. When you’ve created a thing five times in your head, you feel obligated to make it in the real world. 

Obviously, this is silly. Whatever it is, was my idea to begin with. No one needs me to make it. No one expects me to make it. It is 100% self-inflicted stress.

I suspect this irrational mind train applies to others in many different areas of life. Several things we ‘need’ to do are self-inflicted. That doesn’t mean they aren’t great; it doesn’t mean we don’t do them. If we didn’t, there would be fewer paintings, fewer books, fewer get-togethers, less fun, fewer games, and more dusty shelves. But I do think a perspective shift can make a difference.

Making, doing, even cleaning can feel lighter and less oppressive when I tell myself, ‘I’m doing this because I want to, because I can, and because it will be nice. I do not need to. No one is making me, and nothing catastrophic will happen if I do not.’ 

Something about these statements eases the strain and allows a crack for joy to sneak into mundane chores and abound in leisure activities. It’s the difference between being forced to read something for school and reading it for fun. It’s the same book; the choice makes the difference. Reintroducing the idea of choice to the items on our to-do lists makes them less stressful.


So here’s to braving the quiet with ourselves, doing what we love, and fully enjoying the process.

Everyone needs a good pirate shirt. I made Lynn’s out of an old bedsheet, mostly following Bernadette Banner’s tutorial. It was supposed to be an adjustable pattern, but she is such a tiny lady, and Lynn a muscly man. I had to do some tweaking. (This tutorial by Ora Lin was also helpful.)

Mine was made from two white pillowcases. I boiled a bot of water with five black tea bags in it, then soaked the pillowcases. I neglected to remove the bags before soaking them. DO NOT be like me. The fabric has a few darker brown tie dye splotches. Whatcha gonna do? Life ain’t perfect.

Here is a rough pattern of how I made my shirt. The green lines are the pillowcase, and the blue are where I cut. If you are interested or have questions, ask away!


I have slowly regained some strength following a health setback, and Lynn and I were able to go on a coffee date. We played a drawing game, where one of us starts a drawing, and we pass it back and forth adding elements. In other words, I draw stuff and he makes it look good *wink.

Since then, I pinched a nerve in my back badly, reminding me to soak up all the good, pain-free moments life offers. They are gifts.

Enjoy the day, the sun, the spring, and say a little prayer for me.

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