Procrastination, the foot soldier of avoidance and distraction, is following me around lately. It keeps me occupied with reading the news compulsively, responding to every text, email, and alert on my phone, and drinking too much caffeine. Procrastination mocks me when I think about exercising. It lets fly a high-pitched shrill of laughter at the very first sentence I attempt to put on the page. At this very moment, Procrastination is fluttering its papery bat wings and flexing its claws in preparation for the next attack.
So, what, exactly, is going on here?
“Suffering ceases to be suffering as soon as we form a clear and precise picture of it.”- Baruch Spinoza, philosopher.
If I were to take Spinoza’s advice and name, precisely, what is at the root of my avoidance, distraction, and procrastination, it’s FEAR. Fear of not being worthy, not being useful to others, of being irrelevant. That what I write or how I coach and contribute to others won’t be good enough.
Here’s the great irony of that: As long as I let that fear stop me, I will get exactly what I fear most.
What if fear is not the enemy? What if fear is my friend, come to protect and guide me?
Karla McLaren (The Language of Emotions) says this about fear:
“Fear is not cowardice; it’s the protective mechanism inside you that knows you’re not adequately prepared for whatever is coming next. Fear stops you—not to immobilize you, but to give you the time you need to gather yourself and your resources…if you trust your fear, and take time to focus yourself, it will give you those skills…”
If I let Fear help me gather my resources, focus, and lean into to my intuition, I hear this: “Take action, write and speak from what is so—warts and all.” What is true and honest for me in this moment is to speak, to write, to connect with these words. It is not mine to know if these words and thoughts are worthy or enough for you. It first must be worthy of me.