I’m sitting in a café about 45 minutes south of Sydney city, and I’m a happy woman. In front of me is my tablet, the device I’m using to write to you, and just beyond that, is a china pot with some of the most delicious chai I’ve ever had.
As I look around I can see Tony, the owner of the café, chatting easily with his staff. They are a motley crew of mostly young people, some awkward, some heavily made up, all friendly in their mismatch of self-chosen clothing.
Right now The Beatles plays strongly in the background, just loud enough to drown out the conversations around me, not too loud that it bothers me. The customers are also a mix; some younger than me, and others my parents’ age, there are athletes as well as overweight patrons. It seems all are welcome in this small, busy space.
Before yesterday I did not know this place existed. A stranger to ‘The Shire’, as this area is known, I moved into a housesit nearby last week, and since then I’ve been exploring. When a local girlfriend suggested ‘Left Bower’ as a place we could get gluten free breakfast, I was all ears; I love going to new places.
New places, new experiences, exploring… this is my jam.
I walked the 3km here from ‘home’ when I realised I wanted some human company. And a chai. And a new space to write. Being a Sunday I have no calls in my calendar today, so I’m playing a game I’ve been playing more and more these days. It’s called, “What do I want to do now?”.
When I first heard of this game, I was so stuck in ‘shoulds’ that, whilst I thought the idea was great, I knew it would be a while before I could bring myself to play it, even for an hour. That was more than a year ago, and now I often play it for chunks of time, between commitments, every other day.
But today, with my calendar wide open, and only two kitty cats to feed at each end of the day, it was a perfect day to play it full out.
The way this game works is you ask yourself the question, “What do I want to do now?” and then whatever you hear/feel/see that you want to do, you do it. What I love about this game is how helpful it is in identifying the ‘shoulds’; that is, the places where you are telling yourself you ‘should’ do something, that actually you don’t want to do.
The result can be surprising.
For me this morning I realised I wanted to vacuum the house because I was sick of looking at cat hair on the tile floor. Whilst I don’t love cleaning, I knew that I would feel better and be better able to create within my business, looking a cleaner house. So I spent 10 minutes vacuuming and immediately felt heaps better. Then I wanted to do three business ‘organising’ type tasks that I had been putting off.
When I asked the question again, I could hear the motor for the hot tub working away. I’d had it on for over 24 hours, slowly heating the water for me to sink my overworked, marathon training body into. The ‘greenie’ in me was telling me I ‘should’ get in the tub, enjoy the hot water, and then turn off the pump (to save electricity). But I caught the ‘should’, and so I asked the question again. And promptly found myself in the shower. Out of my pyjamas and into active wear, I was soon on my way here, to this café. To see humans. And drink chai.
It’s easy to think, as I did when I first heard of this game, that this question asked repeatedly would lead to all play and no work. But I’ve found it to be quite the opposite. I usually set the weekend as time when I don’t ‘have to’ do anything on my business, to ensure I get a break. But today I found that I wanted to write this week’s newsletter, earlier than I need to. I found I wanted to tick off several tasks I’d been putting off for days, and in some cases, weeks. And I’m now looking forward to spending a chunk of the afternoon working on my new coaching program, ‘Your Life, Your Way’.
And whether I get in the hot tub, or not, matters way less to me than following the flow of that I want.
Have you ever played this game or something similar? If you have, what did you discover about yourself?
If this is the first you’d heard of it, I wonder what would happen if you played this…?
Why not give it go! Even if you start with an hour, one day this week. You may discover some ‘shoulds’ that were running the show. And then you have the opportunity, if you wish, to let another ‘should’ go.
One less ‘should’ equals more space for whatever makes you happy (even if that’s not chai tea, served by a motley crew ;)). And you’re allowed… to live your life, your way.