Jan 22, 2020

Procrastination / What do you really want?

We all know this feeling of restlessness, of feeling like we have to do something, be more proactive, productive, more creative and generate more output. However, in the same context we are usually are also familiar with a feeling of being stuck, unable to ‘perform’.  We just can’t get things done and find a million excuses to focus on and take care of things further down on the priority list.

This phenomenon is often called procrastination; I however have an alternative perspective on delaying certain things.

Have you ever considered that maybe you just don’t get around to doing something, not because you are lazy or unproductive, but because it is not what you really want? It might not be the right way for you or the right moment, and deep inside you feel it.

Have you experienced that, when you really want something, you can’t wait to get to it? And don’t you think that things tend to work out better if they come from a place of inner belief and will rather than extrinsic obligation?

Eddie Stern wrote in his new book (One simple thing: A New Look at the Science of Yoga and how it Can Transform Your Life); people tend to do the things they want to do. So, if someone can’t get to doing their meditation, maybe they don’t really want to meditate, maybe it is just not for them. Or, they do actually want to meditate, but experience that it is hard for them to make time for it, so they have to learn to be more disciplined.

Looking at important life decisions, this a delicate distinction to make, since sometimes we just don’t know where to start and feel overwhelmed, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it is not for us.

How to find a clear answer? How to hear and listen to that inner voice of ours. How to know what holds us back and if in the end it is not only fear. And - isn’t it always some kind of fear that holds us back?

I don’t believe in a classical Pro-and-Con list that automatically decides for the side with more bullets on them, because mind and fear will find loads of reasons!

I do believe, however, it makes sense to write down your ideas and options, but instead of valuing factors like money, prestige, and what other people think, putting more emphasis on how these things make you feel, if you would be excited to get out of bed for them in the morning.

What do you truly feel when you write down or say these ideas out loud?

Try it, listen to your body’s reaction – where do you feel it? Are you excited in your belly, does your face get warm, do you feel a little smile on the lips? Or are you nervous, anxious, tense in the shoulders? Try not to evaluate risks and arguments, stay with the pure idea, not the possible obstacles. Sharpen your intuition and trust your instinct!

It is an unconventional and maybe a courageous way to go, but isn’t that the kind of life you would want to live? Coming from a place of true desire, courageously exploring all your options and - instead of just doing what has been planned beforehand, what is expected or just has to be done - choosing the one that inspires you, motivates you and makes it feel easy to get started.

There are so many ways to make your ideas work. There doesn’t have to be a decision between the reasonable and safe and the dream that makes you happy - it can be both.

I have made decisions like that several times in my life. I have changed cities, countries and careers and I have always found ways to make it work for me, because I put all my heart in it, and I believe in myself. I personally don’t have a formulated Plan B, because I trust, that there is always something else I could do, if my ideas don’t work out (which I don’t really accept as an option anyway!). But, if that is what you need to dare taking the leap, go for it! Have a fall back plan. Store it somewhere, so you know you are going to be ok anyway. But then forget about it and dare walking your path and going for what you really love – you will never know what could happen, if you don’t try!

If you want to get in touch with a knowing deep inside of you, here are some more practices that have helped me find out what I want and how to find the courage to go for it.

  • Stream of consciousness journaling
    This is a way to get all of the questions, thoughts, worries, and feelings out of your head onto paper. You begin with whatever is on the top of your mind, the most random thing. Just keep writing, without forcing the process, letting it flow, not paying any attention to grammar or structure. Keep going without second guessing anything that comes up and you’ll see that soon you are not curating the contents consciously any longer. You don’t want to argue or reason, but instead release and let go. You will be surprised to read what is on your paper in the end and you might find some clarity.
     
  • Write gratitude Lists
    Listing the things, you are most grateful for in your life will not only give you a wonderful blessed feeling, but also reset your focus on the things you really want in your life. You want more of the things that feel good to you. When we see thought the eyes of gratefulness and appreciation we feel taken care of, we know things have worked out for us before and we trust in life and in ourselves.
     
  • Meditation
    In the stillness we often find all the answers. The process can’t be forced, and we don’t want to sit down in stillness, to have yet another argument in our head. It is all about letting go of control and merely observing what comes up. If you are new to meditation, you may want to find a recording that guides you through the process. You could specifically look for topics like ‘Purpose Mediation’ or just a general mindfulness practices that supports you in observing your thoughts neutrally.
     
  • Travel alone or go on a (yoga) retreat
    Taking time away from daily routines and obligations often gives you the space you need to see clear! Both, spending time by yourself or in a group that specifically works with tools to soothe your mind and find clarity can be great. It depends on your personal preference.
     
  • Go for walks in nature
    This follows the same principle but needs less resources and time than the previous point. Take your bike or a train and go somewhere with space, trees, water or fields. Walk, breath, look at the beauty of nature and let the ideas and answers just flow through you.

 

I don’t believe in forcing the process. All my favored practices have to do with letting go, finding release, feeling and trusting. We need to go from ‘doing’ to ‘being’ to hear our inner voice and to know what we really want.

I hope this inspired you to look at your choices again and to take some time for yourself. May you find joy and ease!

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