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After 25 years as an
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advertising Execu-
woman I'm on a
campaign to inspire
women to unzip their
inner joy through
my writing, paintings
and transformational
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more about me
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A Vacation From Should.

Remember those endless summer days of just “hanging out” when you were a kid? (When a vacation wasn’t a few days you guiltily grabbed, along with your laptop and cellphone.)

Wouldn’t it be nice to escape the should’s, the have to’s and the ought to’s of adult life for a while?

I used to think it was the demands of my big fat Execu-woman career that boxed me in. But now that I’m a “goddess-preneur,” I realize it’s Me.

Specifically, that voice inside my head that’s always spouting off what I should be doing, thinking and saying.

I call the bossy barracuda “Edna.” (Even if yours doesn’t have a name, you know that critical, controlling, judgmental voice I’m talking about.)

Well, lately, Edna’s been working overtime. So, I decided to give her a long weekend off.

The timing was perfect. My husband and son were both out of town.

And while I craved the relaxed bliss of  a tropical island, I challenged myself to create my own blissful island right here at home.

Instead of filling the empty spaces on my calendar with people I should see, errands I should run and closets I should clean out, I officially gave myself a Vacation From Should.

Now, it’s one thing to tune out the rest of the world when you’re in a hotel room, but could I find peace and tranquility at home?.

Well, the first morning, as I poured myself a cup of coffee, Edna showed up, uninvited, with that nagging little voice of hers:

“You really should be reading  the paper and keeping up with the world.”

Instead of robotically obeying, I took a deep breath, put my hand on my heart and asked myself: “Do you feel like reading the paper?”

Nope. I felt like leaving the bad news on the kitchen table and eating outside with the flowers,hummingbirds and butterflies.

But soon, You-Know-Who interrupted my my leisurely al fresco breakfast with “It’s 10:00. You should be walking Lucky.”

However, much to Edna’s dismay, I  felt like playing “the water game” instead. (Lucky doesn’t chase balls. He chases water thrown from his bowl. Go figure.)

Talk about a win-win-win. Lucky got his exercise, the lawn got watered and I got to stay in my nightgown.

Well, that’s when “the shoulds” really hit the fan.

Edna bombarded me with “You lazy, good-for-nothing. You should be clearing off your desk, writing your blog, finishing that campaign, doing a painting, planting new flowers, calling your Mom….”

But I felt like getting back into bed with a big mug of jasmine tea and Cheryl Strayed’s delicious book, Wild.

And I did. Right in the middle of the afternoon. Pure decadence.

In fact, I got rapturously lost in my book and miraculously finished it 15 minutes before Oprah interviewed the author. And yes, I enjoyed that in bed, too. (So, there, Edna.)

But I was hardly a slacker during my Vacation from Should.

Oddly enough, by  following the gentle urgings of my heart, instead of the tyrannical orders of my brain, I managed to accomplish a lot. (But without coercion, pressure or guilt.)

After feeding my soul,  I actually felt like cleaning out my closet, writing an article, doing a painting and making a “goddess lunch” for a couple of girlfriends.

I discovered that with breathing room, “have to’s ” became “want to’s.”

And when my husband came home from his four day golf trip with the guys, I didn’t envy his tan. Or feel the least bit resentful. I felt grateful, rested and full inside.

Of course, there were still plenty of “shoulds” awaiting me on Monday morning. But after my “vacation,” my to-do list felt more do-able and Edna’s voice, far less oppressive.

All because I had given myself a soul-nourishing, Vacation From Should.

Here are a few tips should you if you feel like  booking one of your own:

1. Make reservations. You’ll be less likely to cancel on yourself if you mark a specific time slot in your calendar. It doesn’t have to be four days like mine was. Book a should-free day, afternoon or even a lunch hour. Any little bit helps.

2. Say buh-bye. If you’re a habitual people-pleaser like me, it might help to tell your inner circle what you’re up to. When I told my friends that I didn’t feel like making plans, the world didn’t fall apart. They understood. And were actually inspired.

3. Plan a loose itinerary. I jotted down some things that I wanted to do in advance but allowed myself the freedom to be spontaneous. When your Inner Edna, Ralph or Whoever, starts in with “the shoulds,” take a deep breath. And let your heart be your guide.

4. Have a great trip.And if you feel like it, tell us what SHOULD’S you’d like to leave behind.

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10 comments to A Vacation From Should.

  • Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes! YES! Did I mention Yes! This is the key to living in our feminine power! Wendi I love your naming of the process–vacation from shoulds. I’m now at the point of celebrating that I usually just observe that driving inner voice without following it. I acknowledge it, thank it and move on. Since I started taking a day off, one per week, in June, my productivity and results have soared. Some magical thing always clicks effortlessly into place on my day off now. That inner voice sounds logical on the outside but is actually connected to a deeply illogical, irrational place – usually fear right? – and now with a few months’ worth of “evidence” piling up in contrary to its assertions, it keeps getting easier to let it go. It’s the power of play, a necessary component of creativity.

    Thank you for articulating this process. The world really needs more of this.

    • Wow, that is a great response…YES it is. When these things come to me, I know that I am meant to transmit them. That, in itself, is a gift. But then, to hear such enthusiastic
      resonance from a open-hearted goddess like you, touches me deeply. And inspires me to keep speaking my truth. With love and gratitude, Wendi

  • Lainey

    Thank you. That is just so smart! You are right. A vacation from ‘should’ is indeed a true vacation.
    So creatively thoughtful!

  • I’m new here, but greatly enjoyed reading your blog! I’ve already signed up for more and look forward to some great reading! xo

    • Great to hear from you, Julia….welcome to the “goddesshood.”I’m so happy that what I wrote resonates with you. Looking forward to connecting more with you.

  • How much do I love this. And you. So much gentle counsel. Thanks, Wed.

  • fredie

    Love this blog Wen!

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