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September 19, 2019

Screw Hump Day—it’s Time to Discover our Peak Day.

I have a sacred relationship with Wednesdays.

Not a Sunday, Sabbath, rest-and-restore kind of sacred, but a “celebration of the peak of my week” kind of sacred.

Wednesdays have become the midweek temple at which I worship life and my relationship to it. My collaboration with it. My contribution to it. My celebration of it.

Peak Day was born at Go Adventure Co., a rad outdoor camp for youth I’ve had the honor of helping my even more rad friends lead. Leading camps is a long-time side hustle for us all, because a) we love it, and b) we believe “everything I need to know about life, I learned at camp.”

One particularly magical Wednesday, our camp leaders realized that “hump day” sounded totally lame—and was also kind of awkward trying to explain to a bunch of pre-teen campers. So from that moment on, Wednesday was officially crowned Peak Day.

We fell in love with this idea, particularly how it re-framed the energy of our week. Instead of Wednesdays having this “Finally over the hump, the week is half over” vibe, they were infused with this “Wooo hooo! Peak of the week! What kind of magic will we find today?!” kind of energy.

Peak Day left such an impression on me that I took it back to my weekday warrior, Monday-to-Friday gig. I had an incredible manager who approved my proposal of working from home (or not working at all) each Wednesday. I played with this “mid-week weekend” for the following year and fell in love with the magic that Peak Day stirred up in my life.

As a student and teacher of yoga, I believe that real yoga happens when we bring it off our mat. So I was thinking, after a vinyasa class with my favourite teacher, “What is it I love about her style and how can I bring that into my life in practical way?”

What I love about a talented vinyasa teacher is their ability to—within the journey of one class—guide us from a slow and juicy warm-up, through a series of invigorating movements that culminate at mid-class in a delicious peak-pose, right at the point I’m about to tucker out. From there, they guide us through that love-buzz, peak-pose comedown, one mindful step at a time toward the warm and welcoming ground, where we rest at the end of our practice in open, satisfied bliss.

It occurred to me I wanted to design my week this way—as a beautifully crafted vinyasa. In Sanskrit, nyasa means “to place,” and vi means “in a special way,” or described beautifully by Shiva Rea as “progressive sequences that unfold with an inherent harmony and intelligence.”

I thought:

“If this concept of vinyasa is what drives a poem, or the seasons, or my yoga class to flow so gracefully, what would happen if I applied this knowledge to the flow of my week?”

On Monday, I would set the intention for the week and move slowly and steadily toward that destination.

On Tuesday, I would continue the journey— generating momentum along the way by looking ahead to the peak and enjoying the scenery and steps taken so far.

On Wednesday, I paused—wherever I was—to fully take in and marvel at the beautiful peak of the week. My commitment to myself was this: on Wednesdays, I only do what I want, what I feel, what I crave, and what I desire. Not what I should do. Not what I think I have to do. That can all wait until Thursday.

Wednesday is sacred. Wednesday is for me. Wednesday is my Peak Day.

Sometimes Peak Day looked like rattling out a goldmine of creative work from my kitchen table in my housecoat. On others, it was turning off my phone and taking the day off: to go to yoga, to have a bath in the middle of the day for no reason, to take a day trip somewhere I’d never been, or to finally fold that mountain of laundry at the foot of my bed.

You know, I thought at first I might spend my Peak Day catching up on rest, but was pleasantly surprised that I craved the exact opposite. Without setting an alarm, I snapped out of sleep around the same time I normally woke for work. But on Wednesdays, I woke full of energy and excitement for what could be. What possible adventures lay before me? I couldn’t wait to get out of bed and find out. It was like a mini-Christmas morning, mid-week—every week.

After Peak Day inevitably came the reality check of Thursday. I thought it would be a reluctant descent back to my mundane routine. But actually, I met Thursdays with a warm embrace for the work I returned to with a fresh perspective and awe-filled heart. Without trying to accomplish something on Wednesday, I felt I had accidentally accomplished something really magical, something I needed to experience or receive, and I carried this—like a satisfied belly—into the rest of my week.

By the time Friday rolled around, I found myself crossing off to-do lists and reaching that week’s finish line with ease and energy to spare. Instead of holing up inside my house all weekend, trying to recuperate the energy that week had drained from me and store up for the next one, I had this fresh new supply of energy surging through me that was free to pour into my weekend so I could finally make the most of my days off.

I’m not a weekday warrior anymore. I live “the dream” of working flexible, remote hours—and that comes with its own set of glory days and hard slogs. But Peak Day is a practice I’ve carried into this lifestyle shift because the impacts are so nourishing to my productivity, to my creativity, to my energy, and to my soul.

I’m just all around kinder, happier, more patient, and easy to be around when Peak Day is part of my weekly practice. So in addition to feeling fabulous and accidentally accomplishing a ton of sh*t, the people in my life I get to show up for get the best of me, instead the scraps of an underfed and malnourished me.

 Through consistent practice, it became obvious that the magic of Peak Day was not just a mid-week sabbatical from day-to-day life. The real magic of Peak Day was the number of peak experiences that serendipitously started to occur on Wednesdays.

Peak experiences are a concept developed by psychologist Abraham Maslow, and believed to play an important role in experiencing self-actualization, the crowning jewel on his Hierarchy of Needs. They are also hugely helpful in inducing flowa state of heightened creativity and performance popularized by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Peak experiences are those moments in life when we are so present, so joyful, so enraptured with wonder and awe that we feel “snapped” out of ordinary reality. We feel like we’ve tapped into something really special that can leave a lasting, and often permanent, impression of positivity on our psyche.

The tricky part of peak experiences is they’re elusive. Think of them like a butterfly. If you set out to catch one, they are repelled by your eagerness and evade you. But, if you’re lucky, one might come fluttering around and land on you while you’re too busy playing to notice.

I was too busy playing with my little life experiment of Peak Day to notice how, almost exclusively, all the “big moments” of the last year happened on a Wednesday. And those moments, sewn together one by one, became this connect-the-dots kind of road map. A map where each node expanded the narrative of my life in a direction I truly wanted to go—a constellation coming into focus one star at a time and lighting up the night.

Today, Peak Day was a physical peak. I hiked to the top of White Buddha—a small, but mighty climb in my own backyard of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. I watched the autumn leaves paint the valley of mostly spruce and pine with trembling ribbons of gold, and inhaled everything I needed to walk through the rest of my week with wonder.


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