Holidays for 1 month: lessons learned

Of course, of course, holidays are meant to be celebrated, not picked apart to scrutinize every single, small detail. But it came naturally to me, the other day, the lessons learned of this one month holiday, off-time, me-time, vacation, if you will, during one of my morning pages sessions. I’ll share the lessons with you for some inspiration, but perhaps more so for my own recording.

Morning pages

Morning pages is an exercise from the book ‘the artist way’ by Julia Cameron. To clear your working memory, so to speak, by dumping everything onto the paper. Three pages minimum or how many you prefer, but more is better than less. Even if you don’t know what to write, just write that and keep your hand and pen moving, that is the most important thing. This is just your dump. Don’t read it afterwards, don’t let anyone else read it. You could even do a ceremony where you ceremonially burn the pages at the new moon (letting go of the old, starting fresh). I swear by these morning pages, even though i sometimes forget (which I regret later).

Step outside.

One of the first things that came to me quite naturally was the fact that I needed to step outside more. I have a tendency to stay inside, the outside world is very unpredictable and my favorite me-time things are done inside (creating art, reading and watching series/movies). But after spending four days inside, I wrote down: lesson 1, going outside and moving is important to stay healthy in my head. Even though I might be reluctant at first, I love walking in nature, a wet forest, on the dike next to the IJssel or on the heath. By myself to clear my thoughts or with someone else talking about the cycles of life.

Life is not about feeling good, it’s about feeling good.

Or should I say: life is not about feeling good. It’s about feeling good. It’s not mine, I didn’t think of this line, but it’s a line that came to me and has stuck with me ever since. As you could have read in my previous rant, I think we (as a society) are focusing primarily on feeling good, anything other is whining and definitely not taken seriously. You do you, it’s fine, but the probability that there will be times that you don’t feel good, is high. And that is fine, sometimes life sucks. You can whine, rant, cry, scream, stamp your feet or anything otherwise.

And since holidays are part of life (which, I thought, they weren’t but fine, fine), there will be times that you don’t feel well during your holidays. Even if you went outside, even if you vented, even if you have nothing to be sad about, life has a habit of getting in your way every once and awhile, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But that is when ‘feeling good’ comes in. If you really feel your emotions, really take a moment to identify them, they will go. Maybe not instantly, but definitely with much more ease than when you put them away, because ‘holidays supposed to be fun’. In that case, the feelings will return at another time and place, and do you really need those feelings when you are back at the office, trying to get back into the reality of everyday life? I. Think. Not.

Structure provides calmness.

My Dutch readers have been introduced to my ‘intuitive productivity’ concept. Again, not mine, but I loved the term and I still love the practice. The thing is however, we only have so much working memory a day. Yes, I said it, we are much like computers: when our capacity of working memory is finished (i.e. we overload ourselves with various programs, i.e. tasks and things to remember), we become so slow, it’s becomes frustrated.

So what does that mean? In terms of working on projects when it feels right to work on them, this still goes: working on projects that come naturally at that time, cost less energy than when you start working on something you really don’t want to work on right that minute. In reality it looks like this: I started my workweek with writing this blog. I felt inclined to do it and my e-mail inbox will still be there when I finish this blog.

But sometimes it’s best to do a helpful activity to start the day with and not think so much about why or how. Like going to the gym, if you say, Monday is my gym day, don’t think too much about it. Even if it’s cold, raining and basically shit outside, just go. Or, like me, you benefit from morning pages, do your morning pages, even if, like me, you feel syrupy as hell and your pen won’t move and after 5 minutes you have just written a couple of lines. Just keep going, don’t think too much about, because that will cost you a lot of processing power, you’d rather spend on writing this blog.

This structure might go against my intuitive productivity method, but it gives me enough structure to start the day positive. And maybe it is just a phase, that if I’m really in touch (100%) with my intuition, I would do those pages quite naturally or not at all, but something else helpful. But I guess, 100%, perfection, only ups and no downs is not life. It is artificial life and even computers can be overloaded.

Photo book reader by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

Photo coffee cup by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

Photo writing by Daria Shevtsova on Unsplash

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Writer | Poet | Handletterer | Constant Changener | Fuckiteer

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