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  • Writer's pictureKaren Hedley

My two friends, P&P--Procrastination and Perfectionism

Updated: Jul 27, 2020

Doing is the cure. I heard that saying recently and realized the power of it. The power of taking action. Hmmm...let me rephrase….taking action at the right time. Quitting your job, buying a new car, or deciding to have a baby -- these actions need some ducks lined up first. Of course, there is the jump off the ledge and trust that a parachute, angels, or Mary Poppins’ umbrella will appear to gently guide you down. But, I would say the smarter thing to do is to have some ducks in place before making a big move.

But once lined up, then it’s time to jump. I am a savvy procrastinator. I have honed the craft well and can say all kinds of very convincing statements to myself to justify my procrastination.

Maybe you can relate. I just have one “little” (HUGE) thing that I want to do. I want to record some meditations to put on my website. BUT first, I need the fancy microphone and something called a pop guard on it. I need to figure out GarageBand. I need a website. Ok, all doable and done.

Now comes the problem. Oh, how sugary sweet procrastination can be. Hand in hand with my good friend, Perfectionism.

These two whisper in my ear, “Who are you to do a recording? Your voice sounds terrible.” (Flashback to being called out of first grade class to go to speech class. I couldn’t pronounce R correctly, actually sounded like a New Yorker. “Hi, my name is Kawen and I have bwown haiw.”

Here’s the moment. The door of negative thinking has been open. P&P seize it. They come riding in on the magic carpet of self flagellation and whisper things like, “You need to listen to all these other meditations first, you need to read these books on meditations, you need to get another (notice that word ANOTHER) certification, you should enroll in hypnosis school, etc. etc. etc.

And then, because the party has begun, other thoughts want to join in. “And you need to get your hair done.”

And of course, the party wouldn’t be complete without the old, “And lose 20 pounds.”

That last one is always a wonderful P&P lollipop. (Remember the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang when the witch goes around the village saying, “Lollipops children. Get your lollipops!” That’s what the old “have to lose weight” in order to do anything thought is like. It will freeze you in your tracks lulled by the neon colored lollipop of waiting, not noticing the witch of “why bother”.

Now, I try not to beat myself up when P&P show up. No need for the double arrow of criticism topped with another arrow of criticizing myself for criticizing myself. Try saying that 10 times fast! I see them for what they are--my 2 old friends who want to drive my car. And I just have to tell them, “Well, hello, I see that you’ve joined the ride. Please sit in the back seat because Mommy is driving today.”

I realize that my 2 friends want to protect me. After all, if I put my work out there to the world, it may be rejected, scrutinized, criticized. Which means that I may be rejected, scrutinized, criticized (even if no one can see me recording with my extra 20 pounds--”Lollipops children!”)

My two friends want to protect me and keep me nice and safe in my little box. They want to keep me small--nice and safe in my little box. Here, in my little box, no one can hurt me. No one can leave me. No one can criticize me. Here, in my little box, I am safe and small.

At some point though, the box gets stuffy and has to be broken open At some point, I need to emerge from the box, I need to rise up like a great Viking warrior -- long, uncut, gray rooted hair flowing in the make believe wind, sword held high, ready to post, ready to put myself out there to the world. My two friends, P&P cowering in the box wreckage. I stand strong, nostrils flaring, animal skins covered with lollipop wrappers.

#Buddhism #Meditation #India

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