I’m sat on the bus in my usual spot: front right where I’ve got the extra legroom. I use this extra space to stretch free my limbs after a day under the desk – squashed and sedated. The volume in my headphones rises and the drums sound; I’m excited that it’s Friday. I feel like a kid treated with ice cream for passing her test with an A. I feel the reward for the hard work endured. I feel the release from a week spent in suppression.
As we drive the familiar route home, passing the same shops and pubs that we pass every day, I note the Friday excitement in the strangers buying their beers, relaxing in the sunshine and metaphorically letting their hair down in whichever way pleases them best. I sense the air of freedom, the air of quiet rebellion as we weave through the streets. It’s as though everyone stepped off their platform or bus or out of their car sometime after 5pm and through the portal to another realm. In this place we pursue what feels good, whether that’s raucous or restful doesn’t matter; we let ourselves drift in the direction of pleasure, something we forbid ourselves from during the week.
It doesn’t matter what is planned for the following day: what time you must arise, how trying your day might be; it’s Friday and thus anything is possible. You will find a way to cope tomorrow with that which was done today.
The result? Empowerment. You like the challenge and as such you pursue it. You feel the sense of urgency and this pressing presence, this reminder of your mortality that makes you realise that if you do not pursue that which feels good, what else is there? What are you working so hard for each week if not to allow yourself a small release at the end of it?
From this delectable taste of freedom, chaos is born. It emerges in the form of abusing our bodies with substances, lack of sleep, and those dramas of the early hours of the morning that wouldn’t otherwise happen. When we are caged, we abide; when we are free, we spiral.
Friday becomes Saturday and Saturday, Sunday. In the blink of an eye it’s a ‘school night’ yet again and we climb back in our cages, though it does not feel good and prepare for another week ahead. In case you haven’t realised it yet, we – like any other species – were not born in a cage; we do not yearn to be placed in a cage. It is not our natural state and hinders us from doing what we came here to do. And the polarity of our mind-sets between the workweek and weekend only further remind us how bad the suppression makes us feel. Yin and yang: elation and suppression all in one week, every week.
So what is the kind thing to do? What can we do to look after ourselves? If you’ve got the money saved up to support yourself for several months without employment, leave the job you loathe and pursue that which feels good. If you don’t however – which applies to so many of us, particularly those with dependents whom must be supported – use your free time to do that which feels good and only that. Don’t be doing what you think you ‘ought’ to be doing, but do what makes you feel better. If you’re taking care of yourself, what would the best action be right now?
To put it another way: if you have a close friend of yours who is feeling suppressed in their job, they dread going to work and feel depleted when they return, what would you tell them? Think of someone you truly care about; what would you encourage they do in their free time? It would probably be something like: take a class you enjoy, cook your favourite foods, take a warm soak in the bath, pursue that hobby, and do some exercise for stress relief.
If we fill up our free time with that which feels good, this expands into all areas of our lives. It is natural progression; it is the law of attraction. This ‘taking care of ourselves’ spills into what fills the hours of 9-5pm because that’s all that can happen. Pursuing that which feels good becomes second nature, to the point where we must shape our entire lives around this value.
You have nothing to lose by giving this a go.
Photos: Nikolas Tusl via Flickr and António Alfarroba via Flickr