6 Ways to Create a Zen Workspace

For those of us who may not have the luxury of working in in a chic arctic sanctuary.  Here are some practical methods of creating a zen workspace for yourself in your home office or corporate cubicle.



Setting the tone for your working area can affect your mood and attitude of how you approach your work at the start of each day.  Here are some simple tips that help set a peaceful and positive tone for your work area throughout the day.

Keep your area organized and tidy

Every morning when I walk into my little office, I am faced with the state of how I left it the previous night.  So knowing how important it is to get off on the right foot the next morning, I prepare for the next day at the end of each previous night. 

Set aside five minutes to tidy up your work.  Put things in their place and if possible wipe down or dust off the top of the desk.  (I keep a small Swiffer duster in my desk for this quick clean-up.  It’s also quite handy for when you have snacks at your desk and forget to use a plate.)

For papers, if you are in the middle of something, put a small post-it note on top of your nicely arranged pile to remind yourself of the next thing you must do in that project.

There is nothing nicer than seeing a tidy desk; a clean slate of space to begin manifesting your creative ideas the next day.

Have a routine of staying tidy

Occasionally I’ll look up from working at my desk to see everything from folders papers, clips, lip balm, crumbs, pens, office supplies and sticky notes sprawled everywhere. 

What I try do at least once a day is, working from the right side to left side of my desk (or whichever side you prefer) I put things in their place.  File things away that I’m not using, throw little notes out of issues or calls have been dealt with.  Toss out little pieces of materials, papers or scraps.  It takes 2 minutes but it opens up the space again for new ideas and a clear happy head.


Celebrate with Tea

Keep hydrated throughout the day.  Drink water or herbal tea regularly.  Dehydration causes lethargy.  When you feel tired, you feel less enthusiastic about the work you are doing.  By keeping hydrated, you keep your metabolism going while you work.

Choose uplifting accessories like containers, mugs and cozies to hold your beverage in.  Having quaint (but not too intrusively decorated) mugs or cup holders are a functional way to add to color and texture to your workspace without taking up a lot of surface area.

Use daylight or lamp

Like the NatureBright SunTouch Plus Light and Ion Therapy Lamp.

Seasonal affective disorder is a very real thing.  When the seasons change and sunlight is sparse, it can really affect people’s moods.

Being in a closed office space may add to the negative effects of being deprived of precious sunlight and vitamin D.  One way to ward off the effects of this is to use therapeutic light lamps.  Theoretically, it should have the same affect on ones mood as if it were a sunny day.  (Now who doesn’t like sunny days?)

Use mirrors to eliminate blind spots

This idea, I have always used in my offices.  I am easily startled by people walking up behind me.  I am no Feng Shui expert, but I’ve always employed a Feng Shui technique of using mirrors to see when people are approaching me from blind spots. 

Unfortunately, the way most cubicles and office spaces are laid out, doorways are often situation at our backs so we don’t see who is behind us.  One way to alleviate the surprise of sneak-up-on-you-visitors it to place a mirror in front or beside you.  Kind of like a rear-view mirror, so that you can inconspicuously see if people are approaching you.  (This will also save your nerves.)

This little compact on my desk is one of my favorites because it looks like you just casually left your mirror open after your last touch-up.  While it serves as your mini-rear view.  Although it’s small, if you keep it in your line of sight, you can aim it for over your shoulder so you will at least see motion of anyone coming into your area.


The easiest way to set the tone for a zen atmosphere for me is music.  When I’m plugging away at spreadsheets, planning a report or working at a project.  I play meditation music.  One of my favorite composers is Dakini Mandarava.

Meditation music helps to center me and reminds me of the peaceful feeling I have when I sit down for quiet time. It may not be meditation music for you, but choosing music that elicits positive feelings is always a great way to stay energized and motivated while working. 

Make a playlist or let the entire CD of your favorite artist run while you work away.

Hope you enjoy these zen workspace ideas.  Please share your ideas, too!  I’d love to hear them!

3 Ways to Pare Down to Happiness

'Tis the gift to be simple, 
'tis the gift to be free

'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,

And when we find ourselves in the place just right, 
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd, 
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,

To turn, turn will be our delight, 
Till by turning, turning we come 'round right.
~Joseph Brackett

This was one of the first songs I learned when I first started singing lessons as a child.  It’s amazing how much truth there is in this one little folk song.

On occasion I run into personal ruts where I feel like the the direction in my life can’t be right because I feel so run down.  Often it is because of overwhelming demands inside and outside of work.  I feel like I’m just running in circles putting out fires and getting shit done.  I end up feeling stressed and feel like just curling up in my room, hiring a cook and a cleaning leaning lady and napping until I feel better. 

It is often during these periods after I’ve exhausted my employee assistance counsellor and visited my priest one too many times, I somehow find a way to book a few days vacation away from work to put things in perspective, indulge in resting, yoga, nurturing creative ideas and paring down everything.  

Sometimes it’s necessary to pare down in life to make healthy room for things that nurture yourself so you can return to feeling good, serving your purpose in life and getting back to being there for the people who need you.

Paring Down

Get rid of things you don’t need or use

Cluttered surroundings can have a negative effect on your psyche.  It’s funny how hard we work to make enough money to buy things, but when we buy too much stuff, it has a negative effect on our productivity.  We can’t find things, we bump into things, we step on things, we slow down, we get bogged down, our life feels disorganized.

By paring down clothes and trinkets around your home to what you need and use, it frees your mind from looking at it and processing it on whether or not it should be there.  If it’s not there, you don’t think about it.  Your mind becomes uncluttered and open to peace and creativity.


Pare down your activities

Too many commitments, even if they are for good causes, (it’s especially hard to pare down if they are good causes,) if they are draining on you to the point where you spend yourself to the max and all you have left for your kids and family at the end of the day is a constantly grumpy burnt out person in the house.  It’s time to pare down.

I struggled with this recently in having to leave one of the church choirs that I led.  I still miss the people and the church but to do a good job I needed to focus on one church and to not ignore my family on my weekends.  I still maintain good friendships with people in the choir that I left.  These people are the ones that that I keep in contact with.  We still emotionally support each other.

By opening up more time on my weekend for family, my children are more at ease knowing that I will have time for them.  They aren’t anxiously competing and pushing for my time because they’re scared they have so little of it.  They are free to play and come to me knowing I’m available to them.  It’s so much more relaxed and fun when we’re not rushing to accommodate my schedule.

De-complicate routines

This goes for about any process or routine we have.   We tend to complicate when we bring in more steps which we are persuaded through marketing that they will make our lives better and ultimately happier, when sometimes all they do is add to our stress and take time away from really valuable activities like giving our time to people or good causes. 

For example do you really need three steps in a skin regime on a daily basis?  I don’t mean to knock if you enjoy spending a lot of time washing your face everyday.  Some people may find this to be relaxing to spend 15 minutes doing something that really only takes about 2 minutes to do well.  But, would you rather tone and do a mask so you can “look” rested or cuddle with your child over a bedtime story and get more sleep and be rested.  Perhaps it’s both, nevertheless, find balance.  The point is, sometimes simple is happier.

We are on a constant journey.  I for one am still travelling and learning.  Feel free to share how you have pared down.

*Please note: The above skin regime example is simply an illustration of choosing what to focus on in life and may differ from individual to individual.  It is not a commentary on the importance of any particular multi-level-marketing-skin-regime.  However, I cannot stop those that are determined to be offended.  You are the product of your beliefs...May you find peace.*


Choosing Work Friends Wisely

An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind.

Frequency often begets liking.   When it comes to workplace friendships, if you spend enough time somewhere, around the same people, you’re probably going to make friends.  So when you fall into a friendly relationship at work, try to make sure they are positive people that help enhance (not limit) your life.

When forming new social relationships at work keep in mind...

Stay away from negative people

You may find it helpful to have someone you trust that you can vent to; someone who helps you work through work problems and understands the context of the situation.

I admit, a little bit of sarcastic humor sometimes helps to lighten stressful situations.  However, stay away from people who just want to bash - bash people, bash policies, bash the weather, bash everything! - It is unproductive and that kind of negative talk also decreases your productivity.  You don’t need that kind of poison running through your head.

Be more conservative when in group social settings with workmates

If you are out as a group with work mates, don’t do or say anything that you wouldn’t mind people knowing about in your workplace.  

Chances are, someone in the party may get carried away back at the office and start sharing embarrassing moments and times they consider “good laughs”, but might be professionally embarrassing to you.  These situations can easily be described out of context and could potentially affect your professional image.

Steer clear of gossipy work mates
Before you go venting about all the things you don’t like about work, be sure you can trust the person.  A persons integrity shows signs.  Does a person say uncharitable things about people that are not in the room, with people they don’t know very well.  If so, you can assume you may one day be on the receiving end of that discussion.

When choosing people to confide in only confide in people who you have observed to show that they can keep things to themselves.  It’s even more helpful if they give wise advice as well.  These people are hard to come by.


So when forming friendships, be open but wise.

The best friends are those who show integrity in their words and action.  So take your time in discovering these people because their character can only be revealed over time, and they come in all kinds of unsuspecting shapes and sizes.


5 Ways to Take a Moment and Find Creative Space

5 Ways to Take a Moment and Find Creative Space
Creativity takes courage.
~ Henri Matisse

During one of my yoga classes my instructor was guiding us to find more freedom in a leg stretch.   She said, “Find space…where you find space you will find freedom to move and then bring yourself further.”  When she said that, I though, “Gee… isn’t that the truth in so many things in life!”

By simplifying and and having less clutter and complication in our lives it is so much easier to find space to be creative and to expand.

Consider some of these ideas to find creative space in your life...


Free Yourself of Regret
I do my best to maintain positive relationships with people but there are still some relationships that I constantly struggle to resolve deep negative feelings towards them.  The only answer that I can think of is to simply do the right thing and act in a way that I would never regret.  Treat people with respect and have faith that one day the answer may present itself as to what I am supposed to learn from the relationship.


Forgiving is such a wonderful relief.  Instead of holding a grudge or anger, you forgive and get to be free.  Forget about keeping tabs on who is most right or who is “one-up”.  Who cares if someone else thinks they’ve won or that they are better than you.  Take this opportunity to strengthen your will and your sense of self and find solace in the positive person that you are.   


Purge what you don’t need
Purging your things and purging negative relationships work the same way.  Start small by only working on one section of a room or one area of your life at a time.  Like your relationships at work or one closet.  Don’t try to tackle everything at once.  Eventually that area of your life with transform to what you intend.  At least by starting, you will be on your way to finishing. 


Free yourself by limiting the amount of time you expose yourself to negative people
The benefits of this are obvious.  Negative people sap your energy and entice you into participating in their negative ideas.  The problem is, once you get into the habit of talking badly it only weighs you down.  What more, you will judge yourself in the same way.  This will feed paranoia and squash the opportunity for relationships to develop freely without judgment. If you have no choice but to have to interact with negative people, picture yourself like a river and let the ideas simply pass you.  Don’t hold onto them in and internalize them. 

Find 30 minutes a day to be quiet and not think about anything
Rest your mind and your body.  Like Deepak Chopra says, allow your body to do whatever it wants.  You may find yourself drifting off to sleep, passing some ideas or hopefully going into a peaceful meditative state.  Resting your mind give your spirit a chance to rest and (metaphorically) stretch it’s legs and connect again.  Give yourself this gift of a little bit of time.


How do you create space in your day-to-day life?


Lace: Not Just Your Grandmother's Tablecloth

Chic Lace: Not Just Your Grandmother's Tablecloth
Even if I did have, you know, a 'Sports Illustrated' body, I'd still wear elegant clothes.~Adele

I love lace.  In fact, I pretty much love any garment, accessory or jewelry that mimics nature.  That is one of the reasons I love lace; the open woven fabric has the look of climbing flowers and speaks of delicacy and elegance.

Since I tend to primarily wear basics on a day-to-day basis accented with contrasting accessories or with an interesting statement piece, I like lace for the textural and visual contrast.

Lace seems to be making quite a comeback.  Do you think it will be something you will be donning this spring?

Have a lovely March!


Being Creative Outside of Your 9 to 5 Job

Creativity is the greatest expression of liberty.
~Bryant H. McGill 
Often times employees will contact me to discuss their job.  They want to explore some kind of change in their career.  Usually, they want to find a job in the organization that gives them fulfillment, an outlet for their creativity, independence, autonomy….etc.  And the want it soon or their going to lose their wits. 

My response will usually be something in the likes of going through a career needs assessments with them to help them figure out what career or position they are best suited for...

...But the truth is, creative fulfillment doesn’t necessarily always have to come from your job.  That's great if you're fortunate enough to express all your creative mojo at your job but creative satisfaction can come from activities outside of work, too.  

In today’s labor market, it would be foolish to risk quitting a good, stable job that you like (at least most of the time) if all that really needs fulfilling is your creative outlet. 

Mind you, if you can turn your creative venture into something that generates income, more power to you!  But in the meantime, if you still need to put food on the table for yourself and perhaps your family too, then consider some of these ideas to satiate your creative desires…

Since not all of us are Martha Stewart proteges, choose a creative craft that you enjoyed as a child.  Weave bracelets, make felt purses or paper flowers if that is what you enjoy.  

My daughter wanted to take sewing lessons.   As a child I loved sewing but haven’t sewn for ages.  Since I was bringing my daughter to the class, I figured, why not work on a project while I’m waiting for her.  After a few lessons I completed a tunic that I actually wear!  

By opening up that creative outlet I picked up other creative hobbies again that I love, like crocheting.  I used to crochet a lot as a kid an even more when I was pregnant with my kids.  I forgot how fun it is to create my own patterns and get totally absorbed in creating something.

Arrange a play date with a friend.  Sometimes what we need is social interaction where we aren’t always talking shop.  But we get so busy with all the scheduling and activities, the only time we have to connect with dear friends is when our children are running around playing with each other.  Arrange a play date with a girlfriend where you can share a cup of coffee and chat a little bit while the little ones are getting their exercise.

Play a musical instrument or listen to music.   

My husband gave me a beautiful ukulele for Christmas.  Never in my life would I have dreamed that I could play a stringed instrument!  But unbelievably, I can already play a number of songs from beginning to end and sing along to my own playing.  It is so easy to play!  I basically learned to play this thing completely by watching Youtube videos.  

With all the practising that will go on, your children will naturally pick it up tooNow my 7 year old daughter can play it.  I had no idea that playing a musical instrument could be so relaxing.  I could pick it up and play for hours.  It is true that playing an instrument does something to your brain because it truly releases some kind of positive, pleasure endorphin.

Learn how to draw, knit or scrapbook...and start small.
  Don’t approach your creative hobbies like you are already planning to start a business. Sit and enjoy the process of creating.  

Appreciate the moment that you are making your project and work as slow as you want.  Take your time, make mistakes, start over, add to it, take a picture of it.   The beauty of it is, it doesn’t matter.  There  is no timeline, no deadline, no perfect goal, just enjoy it.

Do you sing, dance, cook?  What do you do express your creativity? 

Inspiration: Little Bit of Sunshine!

Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.
~James M. Barrie

We got hammered by some awesome snow fall and spent a good part of the weekend shovelling our driveway and bringing our kids out for some of the best tobogganing of the year. 

Although the drifts are beautiful and winter activities are fun, I can’t help but look forward to the spring.

Soon we’ll be seeing all the fashion and design ideas for 2013.  I have no doubt that yellow will be part of the popular themes.

Here’s a little bit of sunshine for you while we wait for spring...

Good Day Sunshine!

Unless otherwise noted I do not claim ownership to the images posted to this blog. The purpose of the images posted are simply to share style inspiration and for aesthetic appreciation. If you are the image owner and would like an image removed, crediting changed, added or modified, please kindly kensingtonpearl@gmail[dot]com. Everything is fixable.

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