For a few months I held tickets to see a favorite radio personality (see title for details). I watched the event day draw near on the calendar. All in all, the evening would be a win; engage an interesting topic, see friends, maybe have a glass of wine afterward. But by 4:00pm the day of the event it was not feeling like a win, rather it became something I had to do. A couple of intense patient encounters had left me drained. As soon as I started thinking about Plan B (B for Bail), the trusty voices in my head began the “should-ing” process, perhaps you know the drill. “You have tickets!” “You already committed to friends you would be there.” “Don’t wimp out!” “Krista will be so disappointed.” (ok, perhaps not the last one…)
Over the preceding weeks I had decided on a spring/summer practice of saying, “No.” Not “No” to everything, but “no” to things that did not fit into a few important categories: family, friends, nature, creativity or that which draws my soul. Warm weather months would not limited by these areas rather, formed by them. So knowing I had previously determined my priorities made the decision to say, “No” to Krista easier and relatively guilt-free.
Honestly, there would have been a day, not long ago, where I obeyed the voices and trudged my way across town to the auditorium. I would have “stayed committed,” “fulfilled my obligation” AND I would have probably had a good time. I would have also ended up adding to my sense of overload.
Our busy schedules contribute to burnout. We live in a culture with wonderful opportunities: for our children, for our communities, for work, for ourselves. We often say “yes” to the good without awareness of what all the yeses are doing to us, and those around us. We unwittingly add to our burden for the sake of the “good.”
Are you feeling overloaded? If so, what is one thing to which you might say “no?” Where can you create margin in your schedule? Even five minutes… Maybe it is saying no to immediately doing the dishes after dinner, sorting the mail or the procrastination of those chores. Other times it could be declining a project at work that sounds interesting, but doesn’t align with your top priorities. Perhaps it is saying no to the guilt you feel for saying no.
Once you open space, don’t fill it up. Allow it to be, no expectations. Notice the feeling of open space.
Sometimes we forget we can often just say no. If you tend toward having a busy life, a schedule opening can trigger your mind to fill up the space with something from your to-do list. Resist. Share with a friend or colleague what you want to say “no” to. Do it in community. You are not alone. And if you want to practice “saying no” remember you can join the Facebook group ‘Sixty Six Day Practice’ for additional support.
Create the weekend you want to experience,