IMG_2067Thursday I came home from work thinking the night was going to look a certain way. I took off my work shoes that got gradually uncomfortable by the day’s end. I settled on a cotton camisole and ditched the work blouse. The weather was breezy and inspiring, reminding me of the quiet gardens I’d visited last week. I even started writing and continued to write while sitting on the bleachers at Layla’s soccer practice.  Even though I scrapped the writing without feeling much attachment, I was pleased with myself for making use of the time.

Productivity despite the angst of fat that elongates its side satisfies me. If I’m given a blank slate of time, I want to do most items on my list before I treat myself with 1/8 left on that slate. Maybe its because I suspect what I do in that time will sprinkle over the week and maybe make it smoother.  Pretty sure there is a tiny, overworked secretary in my head punch-typing and prioritizing a list of things. Time management is perplexing, isn’t it? Just the two words next to each other are funny. Managing your time indicates that you’re the boss. When the bird of this thought–“hey, you’re kind of the boss of this sometimes”–catches my eye, I feel a little free.

What I’m noticing though is that the larger your family, the more initiatives you have; the more I suspect my family needs, the more I want to push to make it happen. The more I set goals for my creative temperament, the more I have to push to make it happen. For example, that I didn’t say no to taking the kids roller skating on Saturday when I should have been working on writing the rest of the online course was totally in my control. That I write this now instead of resting in the bed and watching this guilty pleasure is a decision I’m making. Maybe its because satisfying an initiative, it is worth it to me.

Knowing that I’m the one making these choices puts me back in the boss’ seat.

My friend Katie recommended two movies lately. I watched them both in a cramped up week that should have been restful but had a different purpose.  One is about a couple traveling a continent on a renovated school bus. Their youth and simple plot line is worth the scenery and the acknowledgment that another way exists. In the spirit of self-knowledge, she also highly recommended  InnSaei: The Power of Intuition, and it quickly became a conversation piece among some friends.

Much of the argument–“of connecting within in today’s world of distraction and stress”–is like a warm mug of yoga, Mary Oliver, and this Ted Talk by Benjamin Grant about the brain effects of seeing Earth from space.

Our busy lives are making it harder to get out there and sharpen or revive whats inside. I feel we’re fighting for it back, but sometimes it seems we’re standing on thick ice as it cracks, severing us away from what it once was.

One speaker in the documentary says with confidence the following:

“The noise of the external world is muting the sound of the internal world.”

I think just as the noise of the external world messes with our intuition, the schedule that feeds the noise messes with something important that Alicia Keys summed up today in a post: “Destroy the idea that you have to be constantly working or grinding to be successful. Embrace the concept that rest, recovery, and reflection are essential parts of the progress towards a successful and ultimately happy life.”

Bless long summers for they should be mandatory for all, and I’m so thankful my profession respects this. My friend was just joking with me on Saturday. She said lovingly, “Try not to do too much shit today.” She challenged me to a weekend where the only plan is an unplan. Last year I blocked off Wednesday evenings just for family, and it was a successful step that evolved healthily. It’s now from a steady, equanimous place on the heels of a beautifully incongruent weekend of hot sun and cold rain where I’m intrigued by her challenge: I blocked out a weekend in May (okay, that wasn’t easy) to challenge myself to say absolutely no to the external and heck yes to the internal.

I’ll leave the parameters undefined and lazy– just as it should be.

Want to take an unplan challenge?