A Vacation from Should
Remember those endless summer days of just "hanging out" when you were a kid? (When a vacation wasn't a few days you guiltily grabbed, along with your laptop and cellphone.)
Wouldn't it be nice to escape the should's, the have to's and the ought to's of adult life for a while?
I used to think it was the demands of my big fat Execu-woman career that boxed me in. But now that I'm a "goddess-preneur," I realize it's Me.
Specifically, that voice inside my head that's always spouting off what I should be doing, thinking and saying.
I call the bossy barracuda "Edna." Even if yours doesn't have a name, you know that critical, controlling, judgmental voice I'm talking about.
Well, lately, Edna's been working overtime. So, I decided to give her a long weekend off.
The timing was perfect. My husband and son were both out of town.
And while I craved the relaxed bliss of a tropical island, I challenged myself to create my own blissful island right here at home.
Instead of filling the empty spaces on my calendar with people I should see, errands I should run and closets I should clean out, I officially gave myself a Vacation From Should.
Now, it's one thing to tune out the rest of the world when you're in a hotel room. But could I find peace and tranquility at home?.
Well, the first morning, as I poured myself a cup of coffee, Edna showed up, uninvited, with that nagging little voice of hers: "You really should be reading the paper and keeping up with the world."
Instead of robotically obeying, I took a deep breath, put my hand on my heart and asked myself: "Do you feel like reading the paper?"
Nope. I felt like leaving the bad news on the kitchen table and eating outside with the flowers, hummingbirds and butterflies.
But soon, You-Know-Who interrupted my leisurely al fresco breakfast with, "It's 10:00. You should be walking Lucky."
However, much to Edna's dismay, I felt like playing "the water game" instead. (Lucky doesn't chase balls. He chases water thrown from his bowl. Go figure.)
Talk about a win-win-win. Lucky got his exercise, the lawn got watered and I got to stay in my nightgown.
Well, that's when "the shoulds" really hit the fan.
Edna bombarded me with "You lazy, good-for-nothing. You should be clearing off your desk, writing your blog, finishing that campaign, doing a painting, planting new flowers, calling your Mom...."
But I felt like getting back into bed with a big mug of jasmine green tea and Cheryl Strayed's delicious book, Wild.
And I did. Right in the middle of the afternoon. Pure decadence.
In fact, I got rapturously lost in my book and miraculously finished it 15 minutes before Oprah interviewed the author. And yes, I enjoyed that in bed, too. (So, there, Edna.)
But I was hardly a slacker during my Vacation from Should.
Oddly enough, by following the gentle urgings of my heart, instead of the tyrannical orders of my brain, I managed to accomplish a lot. (But without coercion, pressure or guilt.)
After feeding my soul, I actually felt like cleaning out my closet, writing an article, doing a painting and making a "goddess lunch" for a couple of girlfriends.
I discovered that with breathing room, "have to's " became "want to's."
And when my husband came home from his four day golf trip with the guys, I didn't envy his tan. Or feel the least bit resentful. I felt grateful, rested and full inside.
Of course, there were still plenty of "shoulds" awaiting me on Monday morning. But after my "vacation," my to-do list felt more do-able and Edna's voice, far less oppressive.
All because I had given myself a soul-nourishing, Vacation From Should.
Here are a few tips
should you if you feel like booking one of your own:
1. Make reservations. You'll be less likely to cancel on yourself if you mark a specific time slot in your calendar. It doesn't have to be four days like mine was. Book a should-free day, afternoon or even a lunch hour. Any little bit helps.
2. Say buh-bye. If you're a habitual people-pleaser like me, it might help to tell your inner circle what you're escaping. When I told my friends that I didn't feel like making plans, the world didn't fall apart. They understood. And were actually inspired.
3. Have a loose itinerary. I jotted down some things that I wanted to do in advance. but allowed myself the freedom to be spontaneous. Whenyour Inner Edna, Ralph or Whoever, starts in with "the shoulds." take a deep breath. And let your heart be your guide.
4. Have a great trip. Relax. Rejuvenate. Rejoice. And if you feel like it, tell us what SHOULD'S you'd like to leave behind.
For over 25 years, Wendi Knox has been an award-winning Execu-Woman creating advertising for brands like Honda and Acura. She’s now on a campaign to encourage women to unzip their unique gifts into the world. (Her motto: to divine self be true.) Wendi is joyfully unzipping her gifts as a writer, artist and transformational speaker through her own brand of inspiration called Oh My Goddess. To learn more about Wendi’s blog, book, videos, and creative speaking events, go to ohmygoddess.com.