Contemplation Day or A Healthy Alternative to Being Productive
We often direct our days by obligations, goals, and lists. We’re taught from an early age to equate productivity with purpose. And yet, routines and the urgency to get things done often leave us feeling drained and stressed out.
I propose creating space in our lives to slow down and exercise doing what we want.
I've been taking a “contemplation day” every Monday (when I’m home) for 3 years. I was inspired by Julie Cameron's artist dates and 2 friends who extended those into full days. On these days, I rarely leave the house (sometimes barely leave my room) and I only use technology to talk with people long distance who I don't often make time for. Sometimes I'm silent all day. I could alternatively call them pleasure days or sensation days, because the idea is to follow my senses and try and do what I want from moment to moment.
**I am aware that it's a luxury to have a lifestyle that allows for weekly disconnection from work and other humans. Maybe you can do 3 hours per week or 1 day per month.** Whatever you can do will make life better. Replace zoning out online or an afternoon of running errands and see what happens. New sensations make room for new ideas and maybe even solutions you weren’t seeking.
Here are some suggestions I have from my delicious experience taking these days:
Supplies I like to have on-hand: lemon, leafy greens, avocado, fruit, your favorite protein, dark chocolate, a notebook and pleasing pen, music you love, an intriguing book, some seeds or plants to care for.
From the moment you open your eyes, try to feel from the inside what you'd like to do next. Be like a child following your impulses doing whatever gives you the most pleasure. If you have no idea, start with some movement. Stretch and breathe and see what catches your eye.
You might feel restless or bored or guilty about wasting time and being unproductive. Puttering and tidying can be very relaxing for your mind if there's no internal expectation to get anything done. Allow yourself get absorbed. Let yourself rest when it feels good.
And guess what - being bored is not bad for you. If big feelings of anxiousness arise grab your pen and notebook and write out exactly what's running through your mind: "I'm bored and frustrated and anxious. This feels stupid." Get all that out and perhaps other thoughts will tumble out too.
Keep that notebook close to jot things down; and keep moving along through your day. You can take action on these ideas other days. In this contemplative time, your only responsibility is moment to moment choice, allowing for the sense of freedom that comes when you use your sensations to guide your actions. Over time you'll come to appreciate what a wise and powerful guide your sensations can be