I was doing laundry and noticed the mundane pattern the task creates: wash, rinse, dry, repeat. It started me thinking about all of the other habits we form in life. Some are truly tasks which need to be handled, however many things are done out of habitual behaviors or obligations in our head, and are neither necessities nor what we really want to do!
Someone once said “Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experiences to savor, not to endure”. It resonated with me for a moment, and then the moment was gone. The great thing about such pearls of wisdom is that they tend to pop up right at the moment you need them. As I sat folding my sheets, I wondered about the other things I had planned to tackle later on. I considered what would occur if I just didn’t get to all of them. For the most part my home was in order, things were unpacked from a recent trip and the rest was just minutia. I didn’t really want to do the rest. I didn’t really have to do the rest. It was all simply the next steps of a sequence I had become accustomed to.
Simultaneously, I was invited out and I knew in my heart that I did not want to go. I felt more obligation than excitement. Instead of saying NO at the onset of the conversation, I remained non-committal as I weighed the pros and cons, debated, and wasted precious mental energy. It was exhausting, and yet I noticed the habitual response of saying YES became the front-runner of my internal dialogue.
I went to lay down on my bed for a minute which I rarely do during the day. I gave myself permission to rest, and as I drifted off I thought about savoring experiences. At that moment, with my windows wide open and the soft, rainy breeze blowing over me, I savored my experience. I woke an hour later, refreshed and rejuvenated. I sent a simple text that I would not be able to attend the party, and crossed the other insignificant tasks off of my “to do” list, although none were actually completed.
I spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing to the sound of chirping birds and the gentle rustling of leaves. I didn’t just rinse and repeat the same old cycle. I took time to carefully examine and determine what I really wanted to do. In the middle of the wash and the rinse is a lot of spinning. Don’t get caught up in it trying to determine what should be done using outdated or ineffective criteria.
Sometimes the greatest accomplishment is learning to set boundaries and say NO. Ask yourself if what you are about to engage in is something you will truly savor or simply endure. Some things we need to do are unavoidable, but for all the rest remember that NO is a complete sentence.