Everyday I engage in a variety of practices that help create the best possible future for my work. These include practical activities such as preparing for workshops and connecting with people around mutual interest. They also include self-developing activities like written reflection or letting go through meditation – both of which set me up to be more creative and open to new opportunities.
Then the weekend arrives, and I stop practicing. I stop reflecting and meditating and go on a kind of weekend auto-pilot. I’m no longer doing what’s needed to create the best work, and in fact, I’m no longer doing what’s needed to create the best life.
For a long time, I didn’t question this choice but recently I’ve started to wonder: is the weekend really so different from other days that we don’t need to keep practicing what makes work and life better?
A couple of ongoing shifts in perspective got me thinking about this question, namely:
1. I’m more readily accepting and appreciating the value of being present to whatever exists: joy, pain, anger, boredom. I’ve realized that I have so much to learn from all of my emotions and that any beliefs I had about avoiding “negative” emotions were not really my own. So if a negative emotion shows up, I’m not running away from it anymore – in fact, I’m digging in to explore it.
2. I’ve noticed a richness to my experience of life when I am present, that I miss when I “turn off” my brain on the weekend – or rather, stop practicing self-awareness through reflection and meditation. It’s a tangible quality to which I’ve grown attached, and the emptiness in its absence is shallow and undesirable.
Mindfulness blogs and tweets speak to these conditions but I don’t check them on weekends either, so I’m not even tapping into that wisdom when it’s applicable.
At the same time, I don’t want to rush to make any changes because I know there is value to rest and play during off-work hours. There’s an opportunity nonetheless calling me to re-consider how I show up on weekends, that perhaps I can incorporate some aspect of my practices that doesn’t feel like work.
I’ll choose another one of my practices to help me sort this out; planting seeds. There’s no rush to figure out an answer right away (and if it seems like there is, that’s something else to explore). Rather, I’ll plant the best questions in my mind for my subconscious to noodle around with, i.e.
- What are my weekend practices?
- How do I want them to be?
The answers will come if I’m patient and listening for them (my practice of “trusting” has taught me that).
For your own reflection:
1. What are the daily “practices” that support you in work and life? (e.g. exercise, planning ahead, socializing)
2. What happens to those practices in your downtime? What beliefs do you have about how downtime should be?
3. What do you miss most about the impact of your practices when you’re not doing them?