I am a procrastinator. A chronic one and it is annoying. I put things off into the future as if there is a secret pocket of time that I will desperately want to fill by doing the thing I don’t want to complete (or start) now. Nike’s slogan ‘Just do it’ is my new mantra because, yes, I do want to stop the madness. I do not like the bucket of ‘things’ hanging over my head, keeping me up at night and stealing the joy from things I am filling my life with today. Reformation is at hand.
There are three obvious reasons to procrastinate. First, you really do not want to do the thing. Second, you evaluate (even subconsciously) that it might be overcome by events (OBE) and you will never have to do it, at least in its current form. And third, you do, in some honesty, believe that there will be more time on a future day/hour to do it. Any other reason is not procrastination, it is a logical delay like not having the proper equipment, legitimate time or assistance. Do not confuse the two. Procrastination is deadly to a person’s health and well being. Possibly even relationships.
So why do we do it? Lazy? Disregard for other people? Negative attention? Passing it to another person (passive)? Those are the questions we have to ask ourselves, with total honesty. Be prepared for your inner self to have the best reasons, the strongest push back. After all, it’s worked this far with your other self, and negative habits are so difficult to turn around. So the serious question is do you care! Are you worth it?
There will always be a reason to start a diet tomorrow (that TastyKake is so delicious and the bag of chips is so small). The trash really isn’t totally full and I can run out before they collect it tomorrow. I bought the can of paint and the room will look great, but I don’t want to move the furniture out of the way so I’ll do it later.
The worst of procrastination is to begin a thing (not necessarily a project) and never return to it. You hate it being half done, you are embarrassed when someone stops in, your family hates living like that and you finally stop ‘seeing’ it. But of course, it is there. Bold. Uncompleted. Distracting. After all, an idea is not worth anything until it is completed to fruition.
It is oppressive, even when not acknowledged. It is deceptive. It is corrosive. And, yes, it does steal your joy.
That pile of books to be read (yea, right), those newspapers and magazines, the receipts, warranties and bills that you pile on the chair that nobody regularly sits in, is not clutter, it is procrastination.
The only cure for procrastination is totally honesty with yourself. Are you worth it? Are brave enough? Start today, start with the very next thing. Begin to love yourself and you will love your life.
A week ago a friend asked me if I had made any New Years resolutions. I immediately answered NO! Actually I was surprised at how quickly I answered in the negative, and said something to the extent that no one keeps them anyway. But a few days later I was haunted by how I dismissed such a lifetime habit, although I really still did not have any ‘resolutions’. I asked another friend what she would do this year if she could do anything she wanted, and she didn’t have any answer.
Now, I was stymied. It isn’t like none of us had ‘no’ hopes or dreams or plans, just not a list of new promises to ourselves. Then I saw the issue. We all had changes we would like to have in our lives, places to go, better finances, good health, happiness but we already knew all those things. So listing them was a silly exercise only to be thrown into a drawer. The real plan for any new year was to look back.
Looking back into the past year and resolve to keep those things we liked, things we treasured, things we began, things we hoped for. Not to discard the past but to keep it alive. Sort through the past year and remember the good things. Keep those promises to ourselves and our family and friends. Enjoy the job, relationship, situation – or look for another, but appreciate it as a stepping stone. Embrace the family, the growing children, the senior parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents and all the gatherings with them (and if they passed during the year, hold onto their memory). Love your pets and be grateful for their returned love.
Resolve to call people you take for granted, visit a museum on free days or join one you love, go to lectures or outdoor hikes or any other group that brings you joy. Let yourself love the things you liked in the past. Elevate yourself into being a full version of yourself. Bring those memories and experiences into this year and make it full of life – your life and those you love.
I wish you a Happy New Year filled with joy and blessings.
The trouble with writers and artists is that you learn to live in your head. This fun space is like a playground for ideas and information, much of it useless in our day-to-day world. Spiritual thoughts, historical facts, beautiful visions all jumble into a maze of colors and glimpses. This combines with the strange ability to feel the thoughts and lives of other people, animals and things in other places and times. How else could a writer or artist depict and yes, capture, people, places and things in such a way that they evoke feelings and adventure, pathoes and love, kindness or anger in strangers who read the writings or view the art. We don’t just depict, we live the stories and art while we create. We are the art, we are the story. Undefinable.
Technique can be taught and learned, often to a highly acceptable degree, but some persons live the stories and pictures basically all the time. Observing and absorbing, no, not your story, but the story, the shapes, the spiritual path of the moment. Artists capturing vignettes of a scene, writers capturing interaction and interplay – all with an emotion that is unseen, unheard and unfelt in the norm. It is the way of life, and we know no other. I once told a date that I could feel the wind under the feathers of a bird I had painted. He was so freaked out that I realized it was not a sharable concept. But thinking about it, one has to wonder how a painting or story could come to exist on paper without the life of it actually existing in the mind of the person who wrote or painted it. Another reality to be sure, but to the artist and writer is is all only one, the reality we live each moment and each day. A wonderful life, actually. Feel free to let yourself go and join us.
Undone – When everything’s perfect *except when it’s not.
You’re doing all the things expected of you. Your house is welcoming, your laundry is done, you go to work or whatever your obligation consists of, your children are at their scout meetings or games – you may even be the coach or leader. Vacations are planned and taken. Life is sometimes frantic but things seem perfect.
But some days the hole gets deeper and the abyss gets wider. If we stand on the edge we can look across and see our dreams looking back at us. Plenty of time, we say. Plenty.
We work, we give, we believe and we repeat the cycle endlessly. Then we look and the road has been washed away and we become a person with no sense of direction. And we wonder where is our rudder, where is our God.
With a world in turmoil and an American lifestyle at an all time low for people who once had a comfortable existence, there is a sadness and fear overtaking many of us. Let us be brave and believe that our God is in control and will guide us in our finances, health and relationships. Yes, let us be brave and believe. May God be present in our lives and bless us abundantly.
To Meditate or Listen
My friend Karen suggested an app for meditation when I told her I was going to begin walking every morning. It’s free. Now I’m interested. Of course it is now a whopping $4.99 since they got 5 stars and people love it. I’m sure it is worth every dollar minus one penny but I am in cheap mode and considered listening to Joyce Meyer instead. She’s free.
But then I got thinking about what is the difference in meditation vs. listening. Even if both are 5 stars on the star scale. Both have creds and both are beneficial to my spiritual side while I am working on the physical side by walking.
I realized that meditation is not the process it is the background to ‘my’ process. My thoughts and my non-thoughts. My getting in touch with myself – sometimes forcibly, for even 15 minutes. While listening invites me to participate in someone else’s thoughts and teaching and guidance. I can tune out, I can listen, I can learn, and I can change my life through it, but it is not my getting down into my own feelings and issues or gratitudes. It is borrowing someone else’s.
Which is it that I need today? I’m still in cheap mode so I will listen to Pandora. If I know the song I can sing along, or if I really know the song, I can let it transform me by playing in the background and bring me joy or solitude. I’m going with Katy Perry today. Happy walking and happy solitude everybody.
I have a friend whose home is perfect. She is not, her home is. That being said, my home is not. Her lawn is perfect down to the flowers. She is highly critical of lawns that are not [aka, not mulched, not trimmed]. I mow. I rake [eventually]. For the past few years, I have not invited her to my home. It happened gradually. Somehow it just seemed easier to catch up with her at some location in between. We talk often, and I go to her home but I avoid her coming to mine. However, I do have other friends stopping over often and we have a great time. I only realized this omission recently. What does this mean? It means I don’t want to be critiqued and judged against an obsession held by another person.
And why, you may ask, does this matter? I suppose it is a matter of perception, both of the perceiver and the perceived. It can be the lens we look through when we try to be something we invent for the world’s view. The very best people I know are friends and acquaintances who have found their ‘selves’. No, not bold self-esteem, that is awesome but can be bogus, too. I am talking about being true to ourselves. Money comes and sometimes [unfortunately] money goes. If we are fortunate, we travel, we have a home we like, we are involved with activities that bring us joy and satisfaction, and we are part of a family. But the most important thing is that we are genuine in our lives; understanding that with blessings come thankfulness, and that thankfulness is eye-opening.
We try not to judge or compartmentalize others, because others are just as clever, intelligent and hard working. No, we are each given certain situations and that becomes our personal journey. And through the journey, by using our gifts and gratitude to openly love and accept others – without the heavy load of comparison or judgment – we are free to openly receive love and gratitude from the world.
Is it clutter or just outdated possessions? Wow, what a declaration. A few years ago, I was phoned by a friend who asked me to come over to her apartment and help her clean it up. She was in trouble because it was a mess and she needed my help. I am not known for cleaning up other people’s homes, so this was a seriously strange request. I asked just how bad it was, she said ‘bad’. I said I would – how could I not, and purchased trash bags, a broom, mop and latex gloves. This was obviously serious.
It seemed that she had not paid her electric and the power had been turned off, the owner had come in for the electric company and was so horrified that he told her that she was evicted. It was the most awesome two story apartment over a fabric store in the Bainbridge area of Philly. If you love city living -it was to die for. But it was a disaster. When I walked in the door, my first words were, ‘Does the rest look like this?’ She answered, ‘Yes’. Paper plates, soda bottles, dirty clothing, a filled suitcase from her trip to UK three months prior filled the living room. Depression begets overwhelmed. Clutter begets depression. Details aside, we got it done miraculously, and it looked amazing. I threw out more possessions than many people own. She was still evicted. The owner was not impressed. That is clutter.
Outdated possessions (OPs) are things we acquired on purpose, lose track of in totes or a closet, and we are not using to enhance our life. These OPs are invading my space and suffocating my life. My search for Jubilee is starting with the boxes, totes and bags in the attic and basement. The goal of one [any one] per day is ambitious but I realize that I do want to know what I own. The trick is to allow myself the freedom to say I do not need that spare blender, pizza cutter, jeans that don’t fit, blouse I never wore, extra jacket. I do need picture albums and jewelry that was my mother’s and even those birthday cards from my grandmother. They make me smile.
But to be totally immersed in today and tomorrow, I need to remember the past, but allow it to be the past. It is not a security blanket with ragged edges and moth holes, the past is part of me but unwanted OPs are not. Goodwill is calling.
After many stops and starts, my close friend Karen declared that this year is our Jubilee year. I don’t know what spurred her on except our inactivity in moving our lives forward, but there it was. A declaration! One that I could not ignore.
Off we went, seeing where we had become stagnant in our lives. We both are both artsy and inventive. She owns a small shoppe and I am an artist. Both have degrees and both have always moved into the future with fairly clear vision – until the last year, when we both seemed to get in that famous ‘rut’. Where to go? What do we each want?
Both have been blessed to have travelled in Europe and the United States. Both have held establishment jobs [we met while working for the software division of a credit card company]. Both volunteer in community organizations. Both have families and friends. But an invisible box seemed to have formed around each of us and we were stuck.
If you are also believing that you are not all you want to be, please join us on the Jubilee journey. No guarantees or road-map, but we are in the car, have a tank of gas and are ready for an adventure!
Fall is here in the Northeast and the leaves are just beginning to change their color and drift to the ground. Piles are not along the curbs yet but the sweeper has been around to collect anyway. The earth is beginning to get that nutty smell and the air is crisping up more every day. Time to think about re-newings and endings.
Today I went into my basement [a brick foundation in a hundred year old bungelow] and looked at a table in the corner where I’ve piled books that I just didn’t know what to do with. I don’t have enough bookcases and yet, the books are art books, romance novels written by a friend that I want to keep and many books that I just have never gotten around to reading. Things I want. I started to go through them and brush off the dust. What to do with them? Keep them or give them to the library for their sale. I decided that I have to buy or build bookcases. I am giving myself one month. Anything without a place where I can enjoy them will have to go. Tough love for the books and for myself. Check one for ‘renew’.