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Posts Tagged ‘the art of living’

Yes, I am a procrastinator. While I’m embarrassed to admit it, I must confess I don’t plan to reform anytime soon. It’s in my blood, the marrow of my bones, and the pores of my skin.

I procrastinate. I do that better than anything.

I have a list of to-do’s right on the side of my calendar, tasks I could do any time I want. Some things I need to do right away. They have little boxes next to them so I can check them off. Even though I’ve actually completed a couple of these, I put off checking them off.

Some people really love checking off the boxes. Me? Not so much.

I rebel against lists. Even grocery lists. I’m famous for making a grocery list and then leaving it at home. Or making a list, putting it in my purse, and then not looking at it. Or making a list, getting it out, and not making sure I get everything.

And accountability? Don’t even mention the word. As soon as I make myself accountable, I must rebel. So if it’s something really important, I usually keep it a secret from myself, just to make sure I don’t rebel against it.

Scary, I know.

But this morning I am greatly encouraged by this essay entitled, Structured Procrastination. Go on over and read it. I love this man. He gets it. And he just might be able to help me.

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Welcome to the first meeting of Overthinkers Anonymous. My name is Phyllis and I am an overthinker.

It’s great to see so many of you here. I hope our time together will be fruitful. Remember, just being here is your first step toward freedom.

The modern age has had its way with us. Science, psychology, culture, and capitalism have wound their way into our psyche. They’ve wired our brains, shaped our existence, and left their mark on civilization. We’ve shaped our lives around the wonders of the experts, the thinkers, the runners of numbers, the beautiful, the successful, the teachers of you can too. Heady stuff, chock full of promise.

It was a great party. We drank a lot, and danced, oh yes we danced – but morning has dawned and we’re hungover.

At least I am.

And what do I have to show for it? An advanced degree, a profession dedicated to healing – while simultaneously feeding – the addiction to overthinking. Not to mention a room full of books, a history of seminars, various therapists and teachers left by the side of the road, and an empty bank account. As a bonus, I have a psyche full of angst – the sour aftertaste of an adulthood spent overthinking.

But I’ve hit bottom. Admitted my powerlessness. Turned my brain over to a higher power, and I’m on the mend. My goal is to offer a few timely antidotes along the way, so stay tuned.

Antidote Number 1: Get Grounded

If you’re going to go cold turkey, really break the power of this monkey on your back, the first thing you must do is look down. That’s right. Down to the ground.

Groundedness is job 1. And what better way to get grounded than to focus on the ground. The earth, the road, the trail: the dirt, sidewalk, avenue where you live.

Take a walk.

Notice the ground. Listen to it, smell it, feel it under your feet, revel in the sheer unthinking solidness of it. Soak in everything about it for the entire length of the time you’re out. Notice how it rises and falls, supports or tricks you, how content it is to convey you to your goal. Describe, but do not judge, the ground. Notice its being. Yes, the ground.

Resist the temptation to judge the ground, analyze the ground, fantasize about grounds past and future, or worry that the ground is in danger. This is the slippery slope to overthinking. Instead employ your senses and declare your observations:

Here’s the crunchy sound of pebbles under my feet.

I see the dust kicking up in tiny clouds before my toes.

Little bunnies share the road with me.

Green comes in many shades. The road is decorated with many a weed.

I know. You’re shocked. I can hear you: Must we fall so far from the heady heights? Must we confine our attention to the ground. Is it that bad, doctor?

Indeed it is. You’ll thank me for this – trust me.

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Hope Lesson 2: There’s a difference between hope and magical thinking.

I just don’t know what it is. I have a pink magic wand at the office. I bring it out when I need to make a point. It flashes and lights up, and it’s fun to swing around, but so far it’s not produced a single desired outcome. Magical thinking – wishing – is easy to spot. Hope is a little more subtle.

If wishes were horses then beggars would ride.

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