Postponing to live
Love-letter from November 2022
Were you ready this time around when the snow covered the land and we got from autumn into winter overnight? I was almost ready. I had winter tires for my car and almost finished up all the prep work in the garden, except washing the raider and storing it for the winter. So I had to do this in the snow and in darkness as my timing inside the day was also a bit off :-)
My example seems to be normal enough and looks quite harmless as well at the first glance. If we dig deeper however it starts to show a certain behavior pattern on which I want to shed some light this time around. I call it postponing to live.
There are several ways how this behavior sneaks up on us. The one my example contains is by postponing taking action which we know has a deadline until the last minute or perhaps slightly later. A natural question would be why is this undesirable? Some think of this even as good time management, meaning that you compress time by using your currently available time for some other urgent tasks and deal with the deadline only when it has become critical. It might seem as if we can push boundaries by such actions and create in relative view more time for ourselves.
The thinking pattern that emerges from this is “I will start living once I have done XYZ”. I know I should be living today but I will postpone it because I have not yet been able to force my terms on how exactly I want to be living. By term living, I mean materializing my dreams and walking my path with the heart.
The link between these two might not be so obvious hence I will reiterate it from a different angle. We all know what it means to be busy - we have a long list of tasks that we know we need to complete since each of them takes us one step closer to having life as we would like to have it. If this would not be so then why should we even have those tasks?
If you have on your list that you need to take your kid from school to his training then it is there because you would like to be a good parent. Therefore you consider this as something you need to do. If you would not do it then you would not take care of your child the way you like and hence you would not be the parent you would like to be.
Same for changing light bulbs at home or washing your car. Our list of conditions that need to be done, so that we could be happy and satisfied with our life, is endless. Once you complete one, two pop up instead! LOL!
Our Taskmaster is always making us busy because it tells you that this way you will get what you like and hence you will have the life you would like to have - a life that exactly matches your terms. This is meant by the saying wanting life on our own terms.
Because my list of conditions is long then I will not have time to complete everything in time and I will start postponing tasks involuntarily. By this, I mean that you are busy doing something while the deadline for something else gets too close and hence you postpone taking action in time.
I was busy taking care that my fence gets finished before the winter and hence taking care of my rider naturally got postponed.
Preparing for Dreams
Now there seems to be some logical error here as I stated before that you will postpone living, that is materializing your dreams, by being busy with the tasks that once completed will give you the life you would like to have. Is this not the same as living your dream life?
Yes, well spotted - the problem is in the condition once completed! This means that we are currently preparing for our dream life. I need to complete this list of tasks related to my home, to my work, to my family, and for a little while it will be a very busy time but I know once I complete them all then I have created the life which I have dreamt about!
Have you noticed thoughts like “I will take time to read this fascinating book that my friend shared once I will complete my home renovation and I will have more time” or “I will start writing poems once my children are a bit older” or “I will kickstart a farm once I have made enough money with my current business”?
I have met so many entrepreneurs who would be doing quite a different business (if business at all) immediately if they would get 100 million today. All of this is an indication that currently we are simply preparing to live. But preparing is a far cry from actually living it right now. Preparing equals postponing.
Q: “Would you like to join me on a sailing trip next week?” A: “I would love to but I need to finish auditing my accounting for last year.”
Q: “I am doing a workshop on Emotional Mastery this Friday, are you coming?”
A: “Sounds great. However, both of my children are sick and I need to take care of them.”
We come last
Notice that it is super difficult to do something just for yourself.
There is always some other item in the tasklist that comes first or some condition like I need this money for buying new winter tires for my car instead. Car is not you and also a task like cleaning a kitchen is not you. Once I have taken care of all my duties and responsibilities then I can do something just for myself.
If you look carefully then some items in your tasklist are actually just your conditions that you need to fulfill before you can do something for yourself. For example, I will start studying computer graphics once I am not so scared to look stupid and for that, I need to read these 2 books first. In this case, it is you setting yourself conditions that need to be met before you start living your dream.
This sounds mad but we are all born into madness and started to treat this as a norm. The relationship with ourselves comes after our own conditions, set only by us to ourselves, are met. How much more difficult can we make it for ourselves? Correct! The answer is much more!
On top of all those tasks and conditions, we do not really know what our dream, our true purpose in this life is. So we are busy preparing for the dream which we do not even know what it is. It is very common to think that once I have financial independence then I will figure out what exactly I would actually love to do. Or once I will find myself a life partner I will definitely know what I should be doing and what my true passion is all about. I just need to get this done first.
Reaching a state of being
Our days are filled with tasks that lead us towards a state of being which we have set conditions for. I want to be successful and a master at my chosen profession. This is how I would like to see myself and feel once I finish all this prep-work. Hence this is some future state of being I am putting my effort into achieving.
Reaching for something is pre-supposing that this is not yet happening. This is not in the present moment. It is hopefully in some future moment. This is called living in the future. You can also live in the past if you set your conditions to depend until some past event or condition gets fulfilled. I cannot be happy before I will get over my ex.
However, life is a feeling. The feeling is happening only at this very moment. To live life is to feel. To be alive you need to feel what is going on for you right now. There are no conditions nor tasks that need to be fulfilled first in order to feel what is going on right now. Your relationship with yourself is happening now. Your life is happening right now.
Being busy and preparing for some future state is ignoring yourself as you are today. Can I just now be at peace with myself? Can I enjoy myself the way I am currently? Can I be happy with the way I have created my life? Do I accept myself exactly as I am?
Imagine for a minute that all your conditions are fulfilled and all your tasks are completed and if you know your dreams then all your dreams have been materialized. How would you feel about yourself then? Write it down. It will not be a sophisticated list of feelings. It will be a relatively short list of adjectives.
Now take one adjective and think how can you feel this right away? What action should you take right now to feel this way? Make it happen and you will live in this moment. No postponing and no playing immortal as if you have time to postpone and prepare for living forever.
Today with you, Rein
PS. Yes, yes, I know - the November love-letter is coming out on the last day! LOL! Time for me to heed my own advice. I want to feel magical. For that, I dream that this letter touches at least one person. Let me know if you are the one…
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