To my new readers, welcome! Here’s to these words making even a tiny difference in the quality of your lives.
Today, I’ve got to use this blog for its original purpose: catharsis. Writing out the insights on a challenge I’m facing and then putting it out into the world opens up a possibility for a breakthrough for someone else.
Today’s challenge? The Neverending Waiting Game.
Many of us are in this game. Waiting for perfect conditions to take some big action that we say we want to take. It doesn’t matter what the conditions are or in which area – being debt free before taking a trip, being the right weight or having the right income or living space before going into dating, waiting until some big weekend dinner and drinks night is complete before starting a healthier diet – it’s the waiting that kills.
How many of us have been waiting for spring weather to appear in order to be “happy” with our day?
Shawn Achor, positive psychologist and author of “The Happiness Advantage”, notes that there is a very real re-wiring of the brain’s neural make-up when it comes to “success” and “happiness”: we tend to change the goal posts of what “success” is whenever we achieve it, so we never quite get there. If “happiness” requires the presence of “success”, however we define it, in our reality, then our brain never acquires the state, and thus we are never completely “happy”. Perpetually “waiting” for optimal conditions is one symptom of that effect.
In my work with Landmark, I’m experiencing first-hand the impact of my “waiting”, and this type of discovery isn’t necessarily a cause for celebration or grief: it’s just stating what is. My experience of “waiting” is such an ingrained habit that it takes repeated actions right now to re-program what, in hindsight, has been decades of conditioning ever since I was a kid. It’s a pattern inherited from my parents, who are competent, analytical, and particular individuals who prefer to wait for optimal conditions in every aspect before making a change. They have their stories for that, I’m sure, and even though a parent’s stories are not their children’s’, that doesn’t stop parents from building them into their kids by accident, just by being themselves.
I digress. The “Be-Do-Have” paradigm is old knowledge to this self-help junkie – everyone from Deepak Chopra to Bob Proctor to Neale Donald Walsch has covered it – but as with everything, a principle that is not practiced is useless: it’s just a “cool to think about” insight. Be the way you envision, then do the things that get you the results you want to have.
The breakthrough I had this morning was when I decided to take one action I’ve been putting off: meditating right out of bed, something I haven’t done all throughout the winter? Why? Because it’s cold in my bedroom at night! I was waiting for warmer weather to make it easier for me to get out of bed.
In the meditation, nothing special happened. That’s not what meditation is always about: it’s simply taking a few moments out of one’s day to focus on now. It felt great. And it killed the “waiting”.
Most importantly, for this little rant, it brought me an awareness that I was not, in that moment, actively “being” the way I envision that I want to “be” in the future possibility that I’ve created for myself. More to the point: I haven’t been living into that future. Instead, I’ve been waiting for my outstanding debts to be paid before launching a full effort into Liberati Press, which right now occupies only a third of my time and attention, compared to my full time job. I’ve been waiting to lose my midsection fat before launching into dating with confidence (although that’s just one reason).
I’ve been waiting for a lot of things, but “waiting” isn’t “creating”. It isn’t “living”. “Waiting” is “waiting”, and if I let it happen, I’ll always be waiting.
Now, this doesn’t mean you don’t pay your debts, or lose weight, or do all those practical necessities that life demands of us in order to function with integrity. It just means you do those things AND you live into whatever it is you’re creating for yourself: a healthy body, a thriving business, a romantic relationship. If you’re busy, it means you create time for that way of being, using whatever tools in the present now – a scheduled, a reminder, an accountability partner or mastermind group – to keep everything in balance (including time out for yourself, which I haven’t quite learned).
I used to visualize all the time in my meditation: what the future was, what I could become, what I could create. By stopping the meditation out of fear of getting my ass out of bed in the cold winter mornings, I also stopped living into my possibilities. The solution, then, is to re-instate the practice, starting today, which I’ve done.
Does this mean I will be doing this consistently every day from now until forever? Absolutely not. I have no idea what’s going to happen tomorrow or weeks from now: all I know for sure is my stand that I create for that possibility right now, and that I can choose to live into that.. Integrity isn’t necessarily a moral judgement, even though we use it as one in our culture’s language. Integrity is also the make-up of a support structure: take out the spokes of a bicycle wheel, and the wheel doesn’t become “evil” or “Immoral”: it just stops doing what it was designed to do. The solution in the face of a breakdown? Stop feeling guilty for losing integrity and restore integrity by just keeping going. Get back on the bike.
I’m off to work now. Even that “day job” work is something I enjoy, and is part of the possibility I’m living into if I decide it to be. Writing insights isn’t the same as taking action in real life, but having done that in this area, I want to share the insight with others, with you, in the hopes that maybe there’s something here for you.
What’s something that you’re waiting to do? What’s stopping you from doing it today?