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  • Writer's pictureValeria Rodriguez

40 + days

Over the past 40 days I have been off Instagram.

Life got a little overwhelming when healing journey, unmet expectations, and life collided. I felt I had no control over anything except deleting an app. It may seem silly, but it helped me feel as if I was going into my own "desert" to reflect on the type of energy I was allowing into my life and the type of energy I was putting out into the world.

Instead I used the time for other things...


One of the most precious gifts this time gave me was the switch from scrolling and reading status updates to scrolling through books and listening to the thoughts that Rick Ruben, Thomas Erikson, and Jay Shetty shared.

  • The Creative Act

    1. Where to begin with this book! I had it on Audible and ordered the physcial copy to be able to splash ink and notes all over it!

    2. I happened to stumble upon this video by Doug Neill. I have been a big fan of Doug for a few years now, but seeing this video, reminded me why creating visuals from information is not just a talent but a huge GIFT!

  • Surrounded By Idiots

    • This book helped me reflect on the different ways we see life and approach the world. I have started to see that the ways in which we approach the world are sooo different. It's not that there are RIGHT and WRONG ways but the differences make the journey challenging to tackle from our color standpoints unless we wholeheartedly look for the value in which others contribute in their own ways.

    • We live in a world plagued by misinterpretations. Learning about people’s personalities and becoming more aware of how others perceive you can help build effective communication skills and avoid misinterpretation.

    • In the book, the author introduces the reader to the basic labels of the DISC system: “Green” or “Stable,” meaning people who are introverted, calm, supportive, and avoid conflict. “Blue” or “Compliant” people react slowly, prioritize organization, are risk-averse, and avoid collaboration. “Red” or “Dominant” people react quickly, exert their control, are action-oriented, and think in the moment. Lastly, “Yellow” or “Inspiring” people react quickly, are spontaneous and collaborative, and tend to project into the future.

  • The Art of Laziness

    • This book I devoured in 2 days while with my son in the Keys!

      • Laziness is not a negative trait but an important tool to foster innovation.

      • Don't rush through life.

      • Strategic laziness means that it can be a tool to help us sort what we want to focus our energy on.

      • Do less and do the right thing at the right time.

      • slow down to speed up process

      • know when to pause, rest, and recharge

  • Think Like a Monk. According to him, monks are the calmest and happiest people in the world because they live with a sense of purpose that aligns with their true, inner selves.

    • HERE is a PDF I found.

    • The biggest take away from this book so far is: :" While you’re working through the process of cultivating a monk mindset, Shetty suggests that you remember that the people you spend your time with influence you to think and behave in specific ways. Therefore, consider how you feel when you spend time with particular individuals or groups of people—do you feel like you’re getting closer to or further away from the values you want to live by?"

These books left a lot to digest!


In this time I drew more Sketches than I have intentionally made time for in a while. I notice it is my passion to connect the dots and lines between what people share and what we "see", and yet I don't make the time for it as often as I want to.

  1. Sketched for Bruce Sullivan ( SEE POST)

  2. Listened to Author and Speaker, Kerry Siggins, and sketched her chat at the FLORIDA FOR GOOD event.

  3. Sketched at TEDx Columbus HS for incredible speakers--among them the Founder of Blue Missions, Founder of Live like Bella, and World renowned Photographer.

  4. Sketched for Ocaquatics Swim School's 30 year anniversary Celebration as well as their BIG Announcement DAY!

  5. Co-Designed a Logo for our School's Green Committee and designed 2 Field Trip shirts

  6. And set up opportunities for future sketch noting events and book projects!


  • Disconnected from what I thought was a connection point with a lot of people, but quickly noticed that people who want to connect will actively make time and not passively scroll by.

  • I connected with Blue Missions Organization and Ocaquatics to set off on an end of the year Trek- 27 Miles over 4 days to the Highest point in the Caribbean

  • Met with friends for coffee dates

  • I reconnected with that part of me that yearns to create with purpose.


  • 15 Physical Therapy sessions

  • Threw out stuff and remolded house

Could I have done all of the above in 40 days without leaving IG? Yes.

Would I have made time to do so? Who knows...

What I do know now is that I have time to do a lot of things that fill me, yet I don't always choose to spend that time in things that do so. 2024 has gotten off to a somewhat rough start in some ways and an incredible GOD-incidence way in others. I can only say that I am grateful for the healing journey my body is on and beyond elated with the path my sketches have more deliberately and unapologetically started paving for me. I am humbled that life has been allowing me to shed the energy that was holding me back and gifting me beautiful healing, and allowing passion-filled energy to re-enter into my life.

Have you ever taken a break from something? How was your break? What was your break from?

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