• Nevin Danielson

Wood Planes are Good Soul Therapy

One of the really nice things about having so few followers is how responsive I can be to suggestions and requests. Hopefully that helps me share things that are relevant for you.

One of you early adopters is Chris. I asked Chris what he’d like me to write about. His off-the-cuff suggestion was “Wood Planes are Good Soul Therapy.”


How awesome is that! I wish I had thought of that title.

Chris had wood planes on the brain. He had just restored an old plane.

I took a woodworking course through the city once. One step in our project was making a board perfectly flat on one side — our reference side for future work — with a hand tool. I set to work with my plane, slowly shaving down the wood with a methodical, rhythmic tsssk…. tsssk.


I was hunched over like that for two glorious hours before the instructor startled me with “Time to clean up!”


That activity transported me to a different world. My chatty brain had absolutely no opportunity to remind me of other “important” things. That really was good soul therapy.

We are happier and more effective when we quiet that inner voice. We should all continually get better at separating the noise of our over-active mind from the clarity and energy that’s available to you when you aren’t dealing with distractions — especially the ones coming from your own thoughts.


You don’t have to start woodworking to achieve this effect. I have created a very incomplete list of options, below.


  • Make a distinction between what your brain is saying and what you self is feeling

  • Meditate

  • Move your to-do list to a system outside of your brain

  • Do an activity where you achieve “flow”

  • Read Pale Blue Dot or contemplate this image of our “empty” sky

  • Pay attention to your breathing

  • ExerciseTell someone how much they mean to you

  • Journal

  • Routinely acknowledge the things you’re grateful for

  • Focus on the present moment, not the past or the future

I find I can’t get enough reminders of this. I’m more at peace and focused just writing this. Thanks Chris. I also added “I establish a regular meditation routine” to my projects this morning.

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©2019 by Nevin Danielson Coaching.