In my training as a Gestalt Therapist a lifetime ago, I learned about the inner world of SHOULDS.
Should, must, have to, ought to…the enormous burden these mandates carry, the stench of guilt and the depletion of joy.
Sounds dramatic, but really, how many of you are chronically suffering from not being productive enough right now when you have all this time to isolate and stay home?
Perhaps like me, it’s easier to just grab lunch and watch a movie.
I’ve got a sunny den that is a treat unto itself on a clear day to curl up and disappear from the bothersome reminders of piles of clutter that need attending, cleaning the garden, inventory to photograph, updates to the website etc.
Nope, I’d rather slip up to my sunny sanctuary and not think about anything.
But in the commercial breaks I’m aware of my avoidance. I can feel the guilt of not using my time well. I sense the pull of negative judgement on my choices.
Sometimes before bed I recall like a mantra, well I did get that done, and I did complete this thing, and figured out that solution… just to justify I didn’t waste my whole day in unproductive escapism.
That’s the state of hell living with ‘SHOULD’ brings into your life.
Today I had a revelation, because I’ve had the time to reflect on and to notice my process as I moved through the first month back from Bali, strangely unexpectedly landing into Stay Home safety directives by my government.
The first delightful insight was the realization that I can indulge my procrastination without consequence.
Even shopping for food can be delayed many days because there are lots of options in the freezer in the meantime.
Putting off the long list of work related tasks won't come back to bite me. I can say, 'yes maybe I’ll get around to that tomorrow,' and nothing bad will happen.
I’m not going to lose business, or have a harder time at a show, or not be prepared enough, because that’s all on hold. Normal, same old same old, day in and day out is on hold.
There is nothing I have to do. Nothing at all.
So putting it off till tomorrow has no negative consequence.
Unless I want to torture myself with useless thoughts about being lazy, unmotivated, a sloth, and God forbid, intentionally wasting valuable time.
Nope, nothing bad is going to happen, I’m not going to be punished, my world is not going to fall apart, my business isn’t going to fail. I sure won’t be going hungry!
At this extraordinarily challenging time worldwide, in my isolated corner, I’ve got months of space and time in which to eventually get through my TO DO lists. Unprecedented.
The second revelation was I haven’t had a vacation in years.
Certainly no significant amount of hours when I wasn’t completely preoccupied with one aspect or another of Laila Goddess.
I’m not complaining or boasting, anyone who has started a business from scratch or had a child knows this as a way of life. It’s the norm. And we do it without thought, because it’s worth it.
At this moment, because the Canadian government is willing to support those who cannot work in our usual way, I have the immeasurable good fortune to relax into the welcoming stillness of this precious break knowing my food and shelter are secure. It is an absolute privilege that I know many do not have worldwide and my appreciation for this advantage runs deep.
I don’t take it lightly.
What I’m realizing is this opportunity to not work as usual, not exhibit in shows, not have the open houses in which I share my labour of love, this time of isolation at home is actually a huge blessing of time and space to not do anything I would normally have to. There is literally no schedule. For weeks and weeks...
This FREEDOM TO BE is so much MORE valuable to me right now than the significant income I would otherwise be generating by selling at shows visited by thousands of people every weekend.
The future of my business doesn’t concern me because in my heart I know everything works out exactly as it needs to, however mysteriously, no matter the challenge. I know this for sure from experience.
So as I dillydally the days away here’s what I now understand:
There truly is another way.
Act from LOVE not should.
Act from Kindness, not pressure.
Attend to the clutter because it’s good for my soul, not out of obligatory need to be productive and therefore worthy as a human.
Let the energy flow from a loving, gentle, compassionate and oh so patient centre of my being into any action that is inspired.
As an enthusiastic maker and user of lists, this truly is a new paradigm; A most remarkable shift for intention.
Intention to act from self-love.
I have the luxury NOT to bully or push myself into the tyranny of efficiency for the sake of it.
No, rather ask myself, for example- how would I feel if I write down my insights in an article to share? And then decide.
Mindfully proceeding in the natural flow of energy that follows such thoughts. It's so much more satisfying!
By using this time at home to reinvent my relationship to Doing by the sheer indulgence of BEING, so much more pleasure and ease in my life follows.
Ease, the new norm I committed to a year ago, just got a new dress!
I invite you to take this rare gift of space and time to discover yourself.
Being present for yourself is the most important thing you can do.
It sure beats the hell out of fear. Or guilt.
You can replace the task masters of should, must and have to with EASE, compassion and gentle patience.
For the first time for many of us we have an abundance of time to do nothing but BE.
You are worth it, oh so worth it.
The energy that follows will delight you.