Far too many of us get our weekends wrong. We don’t rest. We try to catch up. Catch up on emails, chores, with people.
As I’ve said soooo many times before, the biggest challenge we face now is pushing back commitments. Life used to be about chasing and finding and accumulating information and ideas and commitments.
Now, the true art of living a good, full life lies in pushing back.
Creating boundaries, preserving your energy, keeping a piece of yourself for yourself. I’ve been concertedly practicing this art for a few years. It takes bravery and boldness. But as I start to master it I can see the benefits.
You might like to read this musing on the need for space, and this one on the need for rest, and this one on email boundaries.
And so it was I came across this idea of a “two commitment weekend”. I have a friend who mentioned this idea to me recently. He says yes to two things only on a weekend. The rest of the weekend has to free-flow. Years ago, my beauty editor at Cosmopolitan would not take on commitments on a Sunday. Sunday’s were for doing Whatever The F*ck I Feel Like When I Wake Up, she would say. Many Christians over the years have done the same, in not so many words.
Honestly. Really. It’s a Silly Little Life Rule. But seriously, really: these Silly Little Life Rules are what get us through. They create the boundary in the interim, the default position, until we start to just live this way without effort. You stick to a Two Commitment rule. Over time, less and less commitments bombard you.
It’s all about muscle building. Faking it ’till you make it. Training wheels.
And so it was – knock me over with a feather if it’s not divine timing – I came across this tip, from Daily OM:
There is a skill to balancing our obligations, and it starts with simply becoming aware of our schedule. We may notice that three invitations have arisen in one weekend, and we know that we will pay energetically if we attempt to fulfill all three. At this point, we can take the time to weigh the repercussions of not going to each event, considering how we will feel if we miss it and how our absence might affect other people. Most of the time, it will be clear which obligation we can most easily let go and which one we simply can’t miss.
But what to do if we upset someone when we have to pull out of something?
At times like this, reaching out with a phone call, a thoughtful card, or a gift lets people know that you are there in spirit and that your absence is by no means a result of you not caring.
Which is kind of nice. And intimate.
My tips are these:
* Accept the first two commitments that come in (and that appeal). Instead of fretting about for the best two commitments. Why? Because it’s in the spirit of “letting life come to you”. When you allow things to come to you – and when you practice this life muscle – that which is the best thing for you right now will start to flow towards you. The chaff will fall away.
* Write a list of things you like doing. Why? Because when Saturday night hits and you’re alone and commitment-less, you can refer to it in the nervy moment. Silly? Yes. But I’ve actually done it. On my list: going to the movies alone, eating boiled eggs for dinner and listening to folky CDs (Feist, Ricky Lee Jones, Gillian Welch), having a bath in the dark, sitting on the beach/in a park and reading a novel.
* Remind yourself you’re resting. And that resting is good. And that getting a bit bored and slow is good because it means you’re stocking up on energy reserves, getting a pause (which is great for creativity) and creating some “light and dark” in your life.
Perhaps this weekend is a good one for trying two commitments only, just as a Silly Little Life Experiment?