HOW I SUNDAY: ISSUE 13
by Andi Scarbrough
I haven’t had a “regular job” since I worked as a receptionist when I was 18. Even then, my week didn’t end on Friday night-- I was putting myself through beauty school and working part-time at a local theater. I stole my Sundays whenever I could.
“Sunday” became loosely defined for me as any day I got to wake up without an alarm clock, or any consecutive few hours that I got to be “off leash.” I learned to make precious use of that time. I wish I could say that now that I’m a grown up, my life is all neatly outlined in a bullet journal and I don’t have to make or steal my own Sundays anymore. But that would not be true.
Being an entrepreneur is not always as instagram-able as it may seem. It’s tricky not to function like there are 24 usable hours in every day, and I often end up needing to work long hours and weekends to make the magic happen. On top of that, having the energetic component of my work, on top of the business logistics, takes this to a whole other level. I have learned, through bouts of intense anxiety, depression, and creative burnout, to regard my career path more like that of an extreme athlete. I do it for the love of the game - but all that vigor can take a toll pretty rapidly. My needs are unique to me, and I alone am responsible for keeping this machine in optimal working order.
While I make it a greater priority to have an actual Sunday on my calendar, I accept that my lifestyle and workload may always be higher volume and more fluid than others. Part of that is the value of integration over balance. The most beautiful thing about my work is there is a very blurry line between my personal and professional life. The worst part is... well, you get it. Trying to power through to the weekend in order to recuperate can burn me out, fast. Last Sunday I went to write this and my fingers literally would not move on the keyboard. My body gave me a hard NO. So, instead, I took a walk, watched the (entire) last season of the 100 on Netflix, and did a little food prep for the week ahead. Better fueled, my body would likely be more willing to participate when I asked it to give a little more.
Feeling my body’s resistance used to be met as a challenge to push through to the next achievement-- except, after an ambitious 16 years in my industry and (TBH) a pretty equally relentless 8 years of personal development, I finally realized there is no where to “get”. There is no mythical Sunday waiting to reward your hard work, performance, and good behavior with guaranteed rejuvenation. There is no end game. There is only how you feel while you play.
The truth is, I get my Sunday feels sleeping in on a Tuesday morning and making blueberry pancakes while listening to Rolling Stones records. Sunday is a seven minute mediation in my car, or blocking out my schedule to binge watch a tv show on a random Thursday evening. I find little Sundays in scheduling a “lunch meeting” that is actually an hour long foot massage or a “dinner party” that involves me sitting in my underwear staring at my wall, because that’s actually what I need to keep going. Booking flights with a long layover has become a secret ninja play-- it’s the best excuse to do nothing! I lay on the airport floor and read a smutty book and eat twizzlers.
I was raised in a southern Christian family whose motto was “Party on Saturday, Church on Sunday.” And, while my spiritual practice has remained a key part of my Sunday experience, I’ve found some of the information in that community can be a bit misleading. A spiritual practice doesn’t have to look a certain way, any more than a Sunday does. Don’t get me wrong-- sometimes my “Sundays” contain a 5 rhythms dance class, or a breathwork meditation, or a trip to the Agape or Self Actualization Spiritual Centers. Sometimes my spiritual practice is canceling plans to do those things last minute and staying home to comb my hair (literally why I created the CrystalCombs) and order a pizza. In the trend of spiritualized conversations, it’s easy to misidentify being “low-vibe” with being a human. Self-care isn’t always about a bubble bath or a tech-free day, though it can be. For me, self-care is every day of the week, and it’s about honoring the animal of this human body-- about listening to it, whatever it has to say, and honoring it as only I know how. Sometimes it’s about giving yourself permission to just not respond to a message, without the need to wait until your phone-free Sunday to give yourself a break.
For me, Sunday, whenever it comes, is a time to take inventory, update the operating system, power down and reboot. Do whatever it is that you need to keep going, as only you know how.
For me, a spiritual practice and Sunday ritual involves coming to presence... AKA SIT THE F*CK DOWN. Not just a slowing, but a full stop. Sure, that can look like sitting in a pew or in a bathtub or on a meditation pillow, but however I choose to do it that day, it means coming to stillness and getting quiet so I can hear what my body is telling me it needs.
Whatever information comes forward, revel in it. Roll around in it. Feel it fully. If it’s joy or frustration or oceans of sadness, let your body talk to you. Listen. Batting back feelings or physical needs because they aren’t convenient doesn’t make them go away. They get pressurized and usually find their way out in other, even less convenient ways. Sometimes unbridled happiness can feel as dangerous as anger, so find a place where the full spectrum of whatever is present for you can be expressed without judgement. Free-form writing exercises have been a great way for me to have a Sunday, even if I only have 20 minutes.
After you’ve given your body what it needs right now, ask this: “What does it require to keep going?” Better fuel? A shift in the schedule ahead? I recently heard Barbara Brown Taylor on Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations talking about the misunderstanding we have of our lives as a train ride on set rails. She said it is actually much more like a sailboat. We keep tacking and changing direction in order to stay on course. What needs to shift in order for you to keep going in a way that is enjoyable and sustainable for the next part of the ride?
However I chose to Sunday, I acknowledge the sh!t out of myself just for showing up for the stillness. The longer we ignore our internal world, the scarier it can be to see what’s going on in there. It has taken me a long time, several spiritual teachers, plant medicine journeys, and more than a few panic attacks to see through the seduction of perpetual motion, and I appreciate how much courage it (still) takes to seize a Sunday.