The Radical Act of Playing Hooky

When I went to bed last night we were under a Snowfall Watch. The Weather Network was predicting up to 25cm of heavy snow and high winds. As I tucked my boys into bed they were already planning their Snow Day activities; sleeping in, video games, shinny in the park, shovelling, and movie watching. They were pumped for an epic Snow Day.snow-storm-clip-art1

And, truthfully, so was I.

In anticipation of the Snow Day, I had already cleared my calendar. I ran workshops on both of last winter’s Snow Days and I was planning on really relishing this one.

I awakened at 5:30 this morning to a beautiful-looking blizzard outside my window. I decided to start the Snow Day reading in bed with a cup of tea to await the announcement of the school closures. It was supposed to snow and blow all day so the announcement was really just a formality.

Well, much to my surprise, and my children’s disappointment, at 6:30am the board Tweeted that school buses were running and all schools were open for business. Oh man! It is hard enough to get my sons moving in the morning on a regular day. This morning was something else again. If their faces had been any longer over their French Toast, they would have gone to school with maple syrup beards.

images (17)After dropping the boys, I headed to the gym for the 9:00am Kick Boxing class. As I was strapping on my running shoes I decided that even though the school board had sabotaged the Snow Day for the boys, there was no reason that I couldn’t take one.

And so, I decided that I was going to play hooky!

After my class (which almost killed me!) I headed to the local video store (do we actually still call them that…?) for the ‘chick flick’ that I have been dying to watch. We bought a big screen television for the family for Christmas and I think that I have watched it a sum total of twice. I am not a fan of TV and I don’t watch hockey, football, or play video games, so my opportunity to enjoy the new TV, and my chick flick of choice, is extremely limited. I decided that today, with my house empty of men, I would remedy my dearth of new TV time.

The only problem was, when I sat down to start my movie at 11:00 this morning, I suffered a nagging pang of self-doubt and a good dose of guilt.

download (16)Playing hooky isn’t actually as easy as it sounds. In high school, there was always an accomplice. Someone to enhance the danger and the fun. Someone to convince you that you had made the right decision to ditch school and to help make the day awesome. Ferris Bueller certainly comes to mind as the very best accomplice of all time! Today, however, I had no Ferris Bueller at my side. It was just me to take all the heat for being so rebellious and breaking the rules.

It didn’t take me long to push the nagging voices away and settle into my very weepy and completely lovely movie. And afterwards, to top it off, I indulged in a luxurious Epsom Salts bath to soak my Kick-Boxing muscles. What a shameless hedonist I am becoming!

Well, I didn’t do anything quite as epic as singing Danke Shoen from a parade float today. I did, however, manage to elude my own version of Ed Rooney. I resisted the voice in my head that was nudging me to buy into the fact that I was a bad girl. Instead, I leaned into and loved every minute of my day.

And, truly, for me, that is a Radical Act.

Maybe I’ll brush up on Danke Shoen…just in case I need it for next time!ferris-bueller-parade


A Warm Body

I am a nice person.

Actually, I am a really nice person.

I can’t stand the thought of ever hurting anyone’s feelings. I will go to great lengths to help the people in my life to feel happy. And it breaks my heart when someone is sad, lonely or hurt. When I was younger, I was a sucker for the door-to-door salesperson. I just couldn’t bear to send them away dejected. My dad would roll his eyes and cringe every time I defended my latest purchase; ‘But dad, I just can’t say no…!’ And his response every single time was; ‘Oh, Katie, that is not what a father wants to hear’.door-to-door-salespeople

My deep concern for the feelings of others is one of my greatest gifts. And, it is also one of my trickiest liabilities.

I am one of those people who gets stuck talking to ‘that person’ on a bus, a plane or a train. I simply can’t turn away, tune out, and pretend to make a call or spontaneously fall asleep. I just can’t bear to hurt their feelings.

Well…I had a breakthrough today.

After a fun and successful corporate Christmas lunch in Toronto, I boarded the GoBus armed with my e-reader and a cup of Starbucks tea. After a Christmas party last night and Christmas lunch today, the introvert in me just needed some quiet time to gently recharge.

I was deep into my book when the older man across the aisle made a comment about the slow traffic. I looked up, acknowledged what he had said and then spent the next 15 minutes trapped in a soliloquy that would have put Shakespeare to shame. I actually don’t know what he was talking about. Something about snow tires and winter driving, I think, but I’m not actually sure.

Sucking the Life OutWhat I am sure of, however, is that he was absolutely sucking the life right out of me.

Customarily, I would close my book and settle into my role as ‘really nice person and reluctant audience’. I would work to find the thread of a story line. I would nod agreeably and I would feel the frustration seething inside me that could, at any moment, start pouring out of my ears.

While ‘Snow-Tire-Guy’ was talking at me, I had an epiphany. What I realized was that he was not in the least bit interested in me. He did not care what I might have to contribute to the conversation. I was just a warm body. I was just someone with a pulse. He did not want to connect with me at all. He just wanted an audience for his senseless, and frankly, selfish, rambling.

When I realized that his emotional investment was absolutely nil, I had no trouble at all wishing him luck with his snow tires and going back to my book. And when he tried on multiple occasions to lure me back into our one-sided conversation I had no trouble smiling politely, murmuring something and diving back into my solitude.

Eventually he left me alone and when I got off the bus I wished him well and walked out of his life. And the heck of it is…he won’t miss me at all. As I walked home from the GoBus stop I realized that I had not hurt his feelings. The only way I could have hurt him is if he had tried to make an emotional connection and I had shut the door. I am still a nice person but, perhaps, I am learning to keep my needs in the equation and be nice to myself as well.

I am a connection junkie. I am not an audience of one. And the ‘Snow-Tire-Guy’ encounter today showed me that I not only have the ability but also the right to say…no thank you.

Won’t my dad be proud?Proud Dad

Radical Rest

I am all about doing, thinking, planning, organising, facilitating, producing, driving, achieving, maximising and executing. I am not someone who likes to waste time. And I have mastered the art of managing my time like a Jenga game…where every piece fits just-so. I don’t like napping, resting, being lazy or whiling away my time.  Even when I am sitting down I need to be ‘doing’ something. Jenga

Being held to such a high standard of relentless achievement can be a wee bit exhausting. If I had a boss (and thank goodness I do not) I would accuse her of driving me to collapse! So here’s the question; why am I driving myself to exhaustion? What have I got to prove? Who am I trying to impress? Where’s the finish line anyway? Hmmmmmm…

It has occurred to me lately that I am kind of tired! And my recent test results would certainly corroborate that energetic observation.

Michael has been sick with a nasty cold since last Friday. And, as any parent will attest, when your child is sick and not sleeping well, you are not sleeping well either. So, after four sleepless nights I am absolutely wiped out. When I looked at my calendar this morning I noticed that I had nothing scheduled; no workshops, no client meetings, no conference calls and no coaching clients. The only thing that I needed to accomplish toady was the design of a new workshop (and all that requires is my creativity and my laptop).

And so, I gave myself the day off. I gathered all the supplies I would need to spend an entire day on the couch; hot water bottle, fuzzy blanket, cup of tea, iPad, laptop, cell phone, home phone and Kobo. It is now 4:30 and I have successfully done very little today that required me to leave my island of Radical rest. woman-relaxing-couch-11347213

I have to admit that when my husband came home for lunch (we are still on the Clean Cleanse) it took all the willpower I had not to leap up and appear as if I had just been wildly busy and accomplishing something tangible. For anyone who knows my husband, they know that he could care less about what I do with my time…as long as I am happy doing it.

A day of Radical rest feels pretty wonderful and I don’t even feel a twinge of guilt. Maybe part of this Radical year is to learn that the time I take quietly nurturing myself is critical to my balance, fulfillment, happiness and future heli-skiing health.

And just between us…I am already looking ahead at my calendar for the next one…go figure!