Compassion for the Sunday scaries

art journaling mindfulness nature proscrastintion self-acceptance sunday scaries Jun 11, 2023
i don't want to

I'm writing this post on Sunday evening ~ a time when many of us get that "I don't want to" feeling. The one where you procrastinate and just don't want to deal with the things you have to deal with as an adult in the world.

While it can happen anytime, Sunday evenings (or when you're returning from a vacation) are probably the most common time slot. Some call them the "Sunday scaries". When I feel this way, it looks something like this 👆  

I wonder if you know the feeling? 

I debated whether I should share this with you today. It's maybe not the best thing for a teacher and therapist to admit! 

But it felt right to share this. I know that these feelings don't define me. And if you have feelings like this, they don't define you, either. They're part of being human.

I've found that the most helpful way to cope with the "I don't want to" part of myself is to name it, make space for it and turn toward it. This disarms it so it has less power. If you're struggling with feelings like this, perhaps you can find a way to make more room for them, too.

I create space for this part of me through art journaling ~ making my experience concrete and colorful. This helps me relate to what's happening and makes it easier to remember that these feelings are a part of me; not all of me.

After making the "I don't want to" drawing, I went outside and was surprised to find a volunteer viola growing out of the cement:


a gopher sniffing the air


Finding this viola reminded me that in addition to the "I don't want to" part, there are also parts of me that do want to. Parts that want to connect and be of service in the world. Parts that are joyful and simply want to express themselves. These parts find a way to grow and bloom even in the hardest of places. And I bet you have parts like this, too.

A lot of things can be true at the same time! We can feel all kinds of ways, and we humans are not so easy to sum up. This is true for me, and it's true for you. 

In thinking about this today, I was reminded of a poem I wrote many years ago. The process of writing it helped put into words this way that nature reflects the both/and of life, how we contain multitudes, and how it's impossible to 100% know ourselves. I hope you find it supportive:

A Tree Knows How
by Lea Seigen Shinraku

I think I am air.
I think I am dirt.
When I am both.
When I am neither –
like a tree.

a tree knows how
to be solid trunk and
strong, flexible limbs.

To silently speak,
with thousands of tongues,
that reach for both sunlight and rain.

To be fed by roots
that thread between rocks
and find their place in the earth.
To grow in two directions at once.

To touch clouds
without floating in them.

To be grounded, not buried.

To never know what a tree is.

To simply be one.


watercolor heart


If you'd like to practice a bit more with this poem, try putting a hand on your heart and taking three breaths.

As you inhale, say to yourself: never knowing
As you exhale, say to yourself: simply being

When you finish, notice how you feel. ❤️


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