"Procrastination enables us to understand the true measure of our reluctance."
~ David Whyte
I have struggled with procrastination for as long as I can remember. I've examined the issue inside out and upside down. With little more than temporary clarity and not much change in behavior. I'd almost surrendered to the idea that "it's in my DNA" when, I came across this quote by poet and author, David Whyte, in Consolations:The Solace, Nourishment, and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words:
"Procrastination when studied closely can be a beautiful thing, a parallel with patience, a companionable friend, a revealer of the true pattern, already caught within us; acknowledging for instance, as a writer, that before a book (or a poem, or a letter - or a blog?) can be written, most of the ways it cannot be written must be tried first in our minds; on the blank screen, on the empty page or staring at the bedroom ceiling at four in the morning."
Procrastination, a beautiful thing? A companionable friend? Not a source of angst and self-recrimination? Even the possibility was a relief. I decided to test his assertion by specifically examining the source(s) of my reluctance to compose this posting - (which has in fact been tried out in my mind ad nauseum for months now). What's behind, lurking underneath, not what's wrong. And a bigger question - why is it such an effort to create these posts, when I easily write three to four pages in my private journal every morning?
I decided to approach my examination gently and patiently. Just to pay attention. And possible answers emerged, slowly, unexpectedly, on a walk, while journaling, while making the bed, while reading someone else's blog, at four in the morning. If you've ever struggled to write, you may recognize some of the litany that surfaced - maybe there's a better way to say this; maybe there's a better topic; I don't write as well as (supply anyone else's name!); this isn't clear enough, clever enough, good enough, important enough; a blog isn't private; what if I throw a party and no one comes, etc., etc., etc.
Finally, the "AHAs". I've been approaching blogging like a school assignment, needing to write an essay about a topic that kept changing! Wondering if I'll get a good grade. I do want to create a blog, but with the ease with which I journal and about a topic or theme I consider important, whether or not anyone else agrees.
Therefore, I have decided to terminate this blog and start afresh. With a clean slate. With a focus on the issue that is important to me and growing more important with each passing day. Just Another Candle will be about aging, not aging gracefully, or artfully, or with dignity or any of the other popular descriptors. Just aging from the vantage point of one everyday, aging, curious woman. No expert, not Jane Fonda or Andrew Weill. Observations, and questions, some insights, no advice. I'm almost ready to launch it and will post an addendum here to let you know where and when you can access it.
A final thought about procrastination - it really did provide the space and opportunity to understand the true measure of my resistance and by taking advantage of that opportunity, I could compose this post with relative ease. I look forward to Just Another Candle. I have lists of ideas for topics. So I agree with Whyte, procrastination can be a revealer of the true pattern, but we have to be willing to see it, to own it and do something about it.
Now, why do I continue to procrastinate about exercise?