There are many reasons why we procrastinate, but the biggest of them all is that we do not feel safe doing what we are putting off. We may feel overwhelmed. “it is too big of a project!” “It’s going to take too long, and I’m going to miss out on something fun.” “It’s too hard.” “I’m not strong enough.”
We have a million reasons to put things off, but the reality is we feel unsafe at the core of those reasons.
We have an alarm that rings in the nervous system that tells us we are not safe, and it sets off hormones to assist in the body functions of fighting off an enemy or fleeing from one.
The signal shuts down digestion and restorative programs to increase the amount of energy available to run or fight.
The fight, flight, or freeze signal is going off even when the alarm is ringing, even when there is nothing to run from or to fight. The fight, flight, or freeze signal can resonate through the body simply because our report is late, the house is a mess, and our spouse will be home soon, or even because the garage is a disaster and the thought of cleaning it is overwhelming. (Freeze)
When we are faced with a simple task that signals this response system, we respond by either diving into the task to get it done (Fight), We choose to go to the movies and do this another time. (Flight) or feeling overwhelmed and paralyzed standing in the doorway feeling sick, unable to go in and get it done. (Freeze) We stand there until we think of something that needs to be done first, and we leave. (flight)
When I was a child, we took turns doing the dishes. I can remember being about 10 years old standing on a milk crate (to reach the sink) and facing a full day’s worth of dishes for six people.
Later as an adult, the sight of my kitchen being a disaster would send a shock wave through my body and I would walk away.
I learned about stoping overwhelm. The best way to resolve it was to break the project into bite-sized chunks. I now tell myself. “Wash five dishes.” For the past 12 years, I have kept my kitchen very clean (by comparison) because every time I would walk through the kitchen, I would say to myself, “Just wash five dishes.” Once I started washing them, I would feel safe enough to finish, because I have permitted myself to walk away after only five! If I felt tired, I would congratulate myself for doing what I set out to do (5 dishes) and celebrate as I walked away.
Here is a Court of Atonement to help us clean up overwhelm and unsafe feelings around those pesky projects we’ve been putting off.
Think of something that you are putting off doing and then use this call.
I, _________ place each and every level of my consciousness into a Full Court of Atonement for the purpose of correcting my thought processess about completing the task of, __________________.
I ask myself to create openness and willingness to start and finish this task.
(as I wrote this, I thought of the laundry room where our camping gear got dumped a couple of weeks ago, and I have been dreading cleaning. I did this call, and got up and went to the laundry room and cleaned it! It only took 10 minutes!!!)
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