#WQWWC : Relaxed – “If you do what you love, it is the best way to relax.“

“Trust that little voice in your head that says, ‘Wouldn’t it be interesting if…’; and then do it.”  Duane Michals 

So with these encouraging quotes in mind, here I go with my favourite ways to relax….

PLAYING WITH ART“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” – Either John Lennon or Laurence J Peter – the jury is out on who said this first!

My latest foray into creative expression is when  I started a 61 day ICAD (index card a day) challenge from 1st June and ending 31st July – and of course I am still playing catchup.   I made a bargain with myself – 30 minutes on the exercycle first then I am free to play with index cards, paint, crayons, stencils and gel pens. I even made a home-made gel plate for printing  I put on my music and relax into my art.  Here is a small selection from June and July. It is working so far.

READING:   “You can find magic, wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.” – Dr Seuss

This is most certainly one of my ‘go-tos’ for relaxing, pouring myself a cuppa, curling up into a comfy chair and getting lost in a good book – and there I am –  relaxed into the magic of words and other worlds.  There is a reason I have always loved reading fantasy, science fiction and time travel – it is such an amazing form of escapism.   It will be interesting to see how many books I have read by the end of the year – I’m up to Book 54 so far.

I have my favourite genres, and then I have my “impossible to put into any specific genre” genre. 

Some books just require you to read, re-read and re-read again. And it is not because you can’t remember the stories, its because they are so good, so full of complexity, twists and turns they need to be read again to catch even more details with each read through. 

I’m currently re-reading books 1 – 8 of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon in preparation for the release of book 9 in November. There is an online book group doing a read – along and is great excuse for me to re-read. It is very interesting how much more detail you notice on the next journey through the ‘ stones’.  

I enjoyed reading the first book Crosstitch (which has since been renamed as Outlander) when it was published in 1991. I swapped some of the next few books with my sister in law over the years until other work-life priorities intervened.  Luckily for me, I not only rediscovered the series a few years ago but also realised I could download the rest of the books onto my kindle. For those that are not yet familiar with this series here is Herself’s description.

Alternatively or as well as – there is the tv series to avidly consume – seasons 1 -5 to date with season 6 scheduled for release early next year.  I have to admit to being seriously addicted to Outlander along with several million other readers.  I’m not sure if this addictive reading behaviour is actually relaxing or not – hmm?

Whilst waiting for the next book, there is a selection of novellas based on individual characters and a Comprehensive Companion guide (or two ) filling in some background history.  It keeps me relaxed.

Even when reading is impossible, the presence of books acquired produces such an ecstasy that the buying of more books than one can read is nothing less than the soul reaching towards infinity.” – A. Edward Newton, author, publisher, and collector of 10,000 books.

By the look of my piles of books which I can’t seem to fit into my bookshelves, and constantly struggle to let go of, it could be said I might be afflicted with this ecstasy too.  It reminded me too of this bit of lighthearted relief found online during last year’s lockdown. Read the titles which have been placed in order by a librarian with a sense of humour. Always look for the bright side of life – and stay relaxed

PHOTOGRAPHY:  Relax and trust, knowing the universe has set a banquet of abundance for you”

I found this quote chalked onto a blackboard outside the Langford store in Golden Bay last year. I’m not sure who authored it. I do like the emphasis on “relax and trust”.

Wandering with my camera is when I am truly in my relaxed and happy place. There is always an abundance of subjects to capture – and it keeps the brain active.

WRITING: “It is how you see life that matters, rather than what you have done.”  – Patti Miller,   “Writing true stories.”

Writing for me is a way to record my inner thoughts and to make sense of the feelings and thoughts that wander through my mind. Playing with words is a form of relaxation for me. It can also be a trip down memory lane.

Elizabeth Gilbert writes that:
“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them. The hunt to discover those jewels – that’s creative living… I’m talking about living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.”

So now I have written about creative pursuits I enjoy, I’m feeling rather chilled out and RELAXED  



My first home was in Shirley, Christchurch, NZ. It was just a short walk to the local butcher, biker and a spacious green park which was our shortcut to the local primary school. Being a state housing area there were naturally lots of kids to play with in our street alone. 

Our red brick house looked exactly like all the other houses in the street except for a wooden 2- storey house right next door. Number 55 had Rimu wooden floors, 3 bedrooms, a small kitchen with a red Formica bench. Our kitchen table was chrome legs with the same red Formica and matching chairs. This was squashed into the little dining space alongside the kitchen. Just outside the back door was the washhouse with two concrete tubs and a copper for heating the water for the Monday and Friday wash days. 

Childhood games

Out the back was a good sized backyard with a garden shed. A concrete path to the rotary clothesline separated the  lawn from the vegetable patch. The low galvanized rail and wire netting fences kept us retained but not for long. The clothesline was just the right height for us kids to swing on but woe betide if you got caught.  The garden shed door was adorned with a dartboard although the darts usually embedded into the door rather than the actual dartboard, more often than not.

I  remember being envious of the three girls who lived in the house next door as their bedrooms were upstairs. I enjoyed going to play up there. We practiced filling our doll’s teeth as we roleplayed the terror we experienced at the ‘murder house’ aka the dental nurse training college at St Albans just along the road.

 I had to share a bedroom with my sister. That wasn’t fair as my brother had a room all to himself. There was a kidney- shaped dresser with a curtain to hide our treasures. We shared that too but not very amicably. A couple of crochet doilies on the top with just enough room for a book or my china horse statue. No bedside light to read by so when it was ‘lights out’, I hid under the blankets with a torch to keep reading my favourite book which was most likely about horses or maybe the Famous Five’s adventures. 

Oh how I loved to read. Reading, reading and more reading was my all-time favourite activity.I devoured The Famous Five, The Secret Seven, Rupert, Anne of Green Gables, Girl magazines and anything to do with horses and ponies!  I escaped into the world of fantasy through the imagination of others. 

My childhood love of reading has been an ongoing source of great personal pleasure, a trigger for ongoing learning and an endless supply of general knowledge. 

How has reading impacted your life?