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Thoughtful Tuesdays: Rest + Recharge

By Eithne Cullen

Welcome to my September ‘Thoughtful Tuesday’ page. We’ve had the summer to rest and recharge our batteries and, if you’ve been following the Extra pages, you’ll have seen that we took a little time to rest during August.

So, I thought I’d start thinking about rest and taking it easy in September. And my thoughts turned to sleep: a subject I know a lot about. Anyone who’s never had trouble sleeping cannot really understand the anxiety caused by lack of sleep and – worse than that – the frustration of trying to sleep and not being able to do that simple thing. I’ve had several struggles: I try to keep the room really dark and have resorted to wearing an eye mask at times. I have banned radio (I was getting incensed by the radio news, then sleep went out the window) and phones and devices of all sorts from the bedroom, with the exception of the times I play ‘white noise’ on my (very dimmed, set on airplane mode) phone.  I try to avoid coffee late in the day; I try to empty my mind using relaxation techniques, or, when push comes to shove, counting backwards from 100. Often, the trick is to give up trying to sleep and go downstairs for a little camomile tea and some reading.

If like me, you could do with some help sleeping, there are plenty of sites to look at to get help and advice. But keep reminding yourself of the power of sleep and the words of Shakespeare when guilty Macbeth calls it:

the innocent sleep,
Sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care,
The death of each day’s life, sore labor’s bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,
Chief nourisher in life’s feast.

Sleep does knit up that ravelled sleeve of care, is the balm of hurt minds and is a restorer in so many ways.

While I was ruminating on sleep and its power, some work came to me for the page and I was reminded that one of the powers of sleep is to restore creativity. I was delighted to receive these two pieces of writing. The first links in with my theme as Amanda Jones writes about peace, searching for peace and rest from the strains of chronic illness.

Peace In Perseverance

A never-ending cycle, turning me around.
Where is my next stop? Can it be found?
Ah! Here it is before me, searching in the dark.
Let me catch my breath, before you make a mark.

It’s the joy of chronic illness as it flares up and down.
Twisting pain throughout and making it renown.
You may be rare, my darling, but you kick a punch.
And you always find a way to avoid my every hunch.

Back to the beginning as grief wakes up ahead.
You like to remind me that I lost what I said
I’d do in life, testing each ambition.
Yet, somehow, I find plans are in fruition.

Slowly, pacing, resting lots and keeping on going.
Acceptance of my disease amongst toing and froing.
It’s key to living through you as each day ticks by;
And that is what I do now without asking why.

Allow the thoughts to be heard, then let them go.
Passing on a river, watching the water flow.
Clouds of ‘what ifs’ float beyond the foggy murk;
Back into present you as the pain relief does work.

Time becomes a different thing as it is chronic,
Where each day indicates minutes to try to pick.
My to-do list is sporadic and diary nicely spaced.
Gone are the occasions when life was to be raced.

Yet, bit by bit, I plod along and see you live with me.
There you are constantly but in peaceful proximity.
You may be incurable and I may feel very tired,
But I’ve become accustomed to the way you are wired.

I persevere through battles and self advocacy.
Changes no longer bite with absolute tenacity.
There is a space we call gratitude in this cage.
And that is where I’ll stay and gracefully age.

© Amanda Jones, 2021

Thank you, Amanda, that’s a really powerful message.

This next piece is a short story, in which E. M. Blake picks up on the idea of rest being good for creativity. In this story, Alyssa is looking for inspiration but learns (and teaches us) about recharging our creative selves.

Lily And Rose

“You stink. What have you been eating?” Rose cried.

“I smell better than you,” Lily said.

“Be quiet!” Alyssa sniffed and rubbed her wet cheeks. She was lying belly down on a patch of lawn in the backyard.

“Why do you sigh and cry?” Lily asked.

“I have to write a story for school.”

“The birds often sing about how lovely it is along the foreshore.” Lily wondered about the life of a little bird, lithe, chirping and dancing into the painted sky.

“The sound of waves,” Rose said.

“Yes, when the tide rushes in.” Lily’s mind was among wandering clouds.

“At high tide, the river can rage.”

“The weather can turn like a page.” Lily’s thoughts pirouetted in the wind.

“It’s always running, never out of breath.” Rose wished she could be a river and never worry that her time was coming to an end. She bent her head, remembering her sorrow. She had lost friends, plucked away in their prime. Others lost their head after growing pale and limp. Rose trembled and longed for the kiss of the much anticipated rain.

Darkness was approaching. Sombre shadows stole across the lawn.

“The river never eats though it has a mouth.” Lily’s laughter slipped into the evening breeze.

“Forever hungry, wanting more,” Rose murmured.

“What does all this have to do with writing a story?” Alyssa buried her head into her arms. The grass tickled her nose. There might be fat wriggling slithering worms. She should keep her mouth closed. Her eyes too. They could wiggle into her nostrils or ears. She squirmed and scrambled to her feet.

“It’s about nature. Nature is kind. She is wise and helps you to be more creative.” Lily smiled at a butterfly which fluttered to a tree and perched on a slender shiny leaf.

“I don’t want to write a story about the river.”

“The key is creativity and curiosity. Relax, rest, revel in nature’s wondrous beauty,” Rose said.

“I don’t understand.” Alyssa clenched her fists.

“Every idea begins with a seed.”

“Or a bulb.”

“Or a cutting.”

“Thanks a bunch.” Alyssa stomped to the house and didn’t bother looking back when she heard Rose and Lily shout in unison, “We’re rooting for you.”

She glowered at the fridge, television, rug, clock, table, chairs and especially at her books. They ignored her sour looks.

“Ok Google, how does nature help with creativity?”

“According to, nature helps with recharging directed-attention needed when developing ideas. Nature especially plays a role in the preparation and incubation phases of the creative process.” [1]

Perhaps Lily and Rose weren’t speaking nonsense after all. Alyssa no longer felt like banging her head against the wall.

The idea for a story began to blossom. Rose and Lily’s words made her think.

Alyssa snatched up her exercise book, opened it and scribbled: “You stink.”

[1] Trine Plambech & Cecil C. Konijnendijk van den Bosch, ‘The Impact of Nature on Creativity – A study among Danish creative professionals,’ Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 2015, 14(2), p.255 – 263,

 ©E.M. Blake, 2021

E.M. Blake’s debut children’s story, Dilly Dally Sally, about a lost duckling in London, is available on Amazon:

She also blogs about writing and creativity. You can find out more from and connect on social media here:

Instagram: @mycreativeeveryday
Twitter: @EllieMBlake1


Finally, let’s hope that, as we move from the lazy, relaxing days of summer into the bustle of back to school and back to the office, we can all get the rest we need to recharge and reconnect with our lives and our creativity. And, if you find yourself being creative and writing something, I hope you will submit to and you may be featured in our magazine!


Read the latest issue of Write On! magazine online.

Sleep does knit up that ravelled sleeve of care, is the balm of hurt minds and is a restorer in so many ways.