Good morning Great People!
In spite of hundreds of thousands of books, poetry, business courses and procrastinators anonymous groups that offer the final technique for overcoming ‘the curse,’ procrastination continues to be one of the most prevalent plagues amongst homo sapiens, the supposedly most sophisticated lot in creation. Perhaps we can take a clue from our “lesser” four-legged siblings by doing now what needs to be done now because there is no other time in which to do it. The challenge for us is we think too much. Otherwise, we would not procrastinate. Anyway, I want to tell you how I am converting ‘the curse’ into a guard rail to keep me aligned with my vision. But not before explaining my perception of this forbidden word… here goes.
What is procrastination?
Procrastination is an energy-draining emotion, melancholy, a feeling of dread of taking risks to be your authentic self. It is a mental retreat into mono-dialogues about long dead situations and people. Its goal is to prevent us from allowing the self to materialize its purpose. Because the moment we glimpse our vast potential, power and possibilities (only discernible in a state of awareness), we will be strongly tempted to transmute genuine longings into physical reality. During the process, we will awaken to another aspect of the self that is indestructible, fearless and limitless. We will exhibit real liberation and have an exponential influence in the advancement of humanity. But from a one-grain-of-sand perspective, this is scary.
For this reason, procrastination is disguised as preoccupations: consumerism, obsession with becoming a sex symbol, and an insatiable hunger for fame to feel special, adored and superior. It appears as irresponsible pregnancies, hypochondria or excessive entertainment. Worse are the addictions to manifesting dramas or crisis and to nosiness—overly involved in the affairs of others by way of monitoring adult children or engaged in celebrity gossip or reality shows or mean-spirited chatter about most of the others we encounter. We attempt to eradicate responsibility by mentally reconstructing the past in order to steal credit from others or by harboring morbid thoughts for hours on end.
Another word for procrastination is resistance. Here is where we flatly flip off our true but socially unacceptable feelings, preferences, gifts and talents. We risk our well-being in order to gain a few dubious compliments and invitations into the shallow elite club. But habitual hesitation—to do what we want— bores big holes in self-confidence and compromises our immune system. We grow dull, slow and ineffective. Consequently, the urge to give away our gifts and talents by practicing and developing our skills gradually recedes into oblivion. And so does our experience of love, inspiration and fulfillment—birthright luxuries that we expect to come to us rather than from us. We must give everything we have to offer in the moment in order to give more. As we give, we fling open a bottomless reservoir of gifts and talents to emerge from within us. Simultaneously, we are allowing the world to give to us exactly what we need. What a beautiful exchange! The more you give, the more of life you will experience!
Where did procrastination come from?
As far as I know, no one is born a procrastinator–babies are totally present. And so are young children before they learn to reject their natural instincts. During early childhood, we are, unfortunately, conditioned either to discard our ideas or to wait until some date in a future before we can act on inspiration—but that day, for most, never arrives. Children are too often prevented from taking minimum risk to implement a concept that might upset the cart of familiarity. Our keepers’ disciplinary tactics train us to discredit or ignore our intuitive nature, mistrust the self and to develop blind faith in folks whose comprehension of self is questionable.
Children are conditioned to submit to intimidation, scarcity beliefs and shame…and guilt, after disobeying. Fear of being ousted from home keeps rebelliousness at bay to a great extent. (By the way, getting ousted is not limited to income status.) Eventually our natural creative impulses and sense of invincibility descend deeply below the level of conscious access. So in order to earn a living, i.e., deserve to live via conformity (having the basic necessities of life and a sense of belonging), we instantly become master people pleasers, slaves of the whims and ill will of elder slaves we call family, friends and authority figures. The original plan for our life gets buried beneath inertia: the result of a habitual procrastinator.
Why do we procrastinate when we do not want to?
There is a tendency amongst adults to prefer a permanent position of receiver without contributing one iota to the motion of life. I call it adult toddler narcissism. But nature has never been stagnant. It pushes forward, upward to its fullest ever-expanding possibilities. Have you noticed how easily petit, delicate flowers push through a concrete sidewalk? They literally crack it open. Amazing! Imagine the dire consequences if these beauties had contemplated the weight of the mixture of gravel, sand, cement and water for even ten minutes. Hesitation would have killed an exquisite idea before its birth. Nothing in the universe (except you) can prevent you from bringing a clear, definite intention into physical manifestation.
I have learned from bouts of battling against it that procrastination is not some armored enemy to kill off. In fact, it is nothingness. Eventually this self-inflicted habit will lead you to abandon trendy anti-resistance strategies and simply choose to do as you sincerely want to do and need to do, in order to nurture your soul, satisfy your creative impulses and to feel more of your own aliveness. Next, you must value happiness and freedom more than playing a puppet role. Finally, you have to start doing whatever it is that you have promised yourself.
However, it is absolutely necessary that you recognize subtle masks of inertia. I am sure some of these, if not all, will ring true for you or for someone in your circle. These masks have been gleaned from my personal experience and my coaching clients.
- Avoiding the unfamiliar and giving your fear power by coddling a strong sense of unworthiness and self- contempt.
- Terrified of dying—thinking that the longer you put off doing what you intuitively know to do, you will prolong life in this body.
- Worse than the fear of dying, is the possibility of seeing the glorious self, radiating through your physical form when you give undivided attention to the present moment or now.
- Addicted to the frustration that emerges from avoiding responsibility and blaming ‘them’, racism, gender bias, the neighbor’s barking dog or your partner’s snoring.
- Refusing to accept that unfoldment is a process of coming into maturity and passing on (like clouds pushed by the winds) to give way to new experiences, which emerge from the consciousness of the individuals involved.
- Preference for laziness and shallowness; to mistake mediocrity for greatness.
- Scarcity beliefs—insufficient capacities, clients, money, opportunities, emotional support.
- Quick to justify your stinginess—refusing to give what the present moment requires of you.
- Defensive about breaking your promises to someone, which ultimately, is to yourself.
- Daydreaming the day away, keeping busy and accomplishing nothing towards your dream.
- Pretending not to see clearly what you are here on earth to be and to do.
- A lack of unity of intention and attention…”a house divided against itself”—your mind, body and actions conflict with your in-this-moment intention. Examples: (1) While listening to your party speak on the phone, you are reading and responding to e-mails, watching television or sorting laundry. (2) While doing your creative work, you interrupt yourself to listen to the news for two hours or telephone someone for a long chat or go window shopping or do maximum housecleaning or finish off 900 ml of ice cream “because I deserve it.”
- Habitually dreading doing what you have promised yourself can also reveal a lack of sincere interest in the subject. Time to examine what feels right to you… to hoot what others may think.
- Fear of making mistakes or failing and inviting ridicule; therefore, valuing the opinions of others rather than your own knowing and needs.
- Being where you are not wanted—in the cemetery of expired ideas and beliefs that fall way too short of present day requirements; or in the sanctuary of fantasy, excessive planning and inaction; or in your current reality that is contaminated by the invasion of references from the past rather than fresh pioneer ideas.
Is “feeling prohibited” procrastination?
Feeling prohibited is procrastination if you are blaming your inaction on something outside of yourself or you are ‘not in the mood’ to or ‘do not feel like’ doing it. Otherwise, this feeling of gentle hesitation, a soft pull to engage in another positive activity, could be your intuition making sure your intention unfolds with ease in divine sequence. This has happened to me countless times. My intentions did manifest easily with minimum effort.
Okay, one last word…
We are not condemned to a life of procrastination. Choice is available this second, right now. Crave to take the risk of being abandoned by relationships you value the most because you finally garnered enough self-respect to act on your behalf. Do not panic, you will always receive the support you need as you need it. Does it matter the channel that brings it to you? Crave to test drive your own potential on your private road—you have the remainder of this lifetime to do it. So do it now! What are you waiting for, your last breath of regret and self-pity?
Tell me: what are your insights, experiences? I would enjoy hearing from you.
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Shall we meet up again in a few days?
Image credit: Procrastination 101! from mdjunction.com; “… flaw that has caused… from redeemedsheep.com
Copyright © 2010-2012 Thandiwe Chappot, thefemininefeminine®. All rights reserved worldwide.