Saturday, July 22, 2006

Kicking the Procrastination Habit - revision

My previous post was of an article that has been very popular after it was first published in 2003. The guidance given still hold good now, but I have a different perspective on procrastination, one that doesn't treat it like a disease to be overcome with treatment.

With what I now know and have experienced with energy medicine, leads me to believe that procrastination can be a wonderful witness to assist us in our energetic detective trail. If we procrastinate over doing something or being with someone, our subconscious normally has a good reason for it, even if we are not always fully aware of it at the time.

Sapping my spirit and energy

I know that when I was working at a job that sapped my spirit and energy, getting there took longer and longer. I procrastinated over getting up and leaving the house; my spirit just didn't want to co-operate. Several years on I realised what that particular form of procrastination was telling me.

Procrastinating often means that the task (whatever it is) has become a "should" a "have to" and is usually the (often unconscious) diktat of someone else. It could be parents, teachers, peer group, colleagues, the media. Sometimes this "voice" belongs to someone who is no longer in physical form, but exerts just as great an influence over your mind, body and spirit.

Maybe the procrastination is symptomatic of a deeply held issue with very long emotional roots and attachments, that has not been identified. Whatever the reasons - and there could be a multitude of them - any tendency to procrastinate over various issues and situations is indicative of something much bigger.

Procrastination is a big energy drain

Being at war with procrastination is a very big energy drain. Because procrastination is a form of resistance. Until that resistance is eliminated, then the same situations and issues will keep on cropping up again and again with regular and frustrating frequency.

EFT offers a way to get to the core issue of why someone is procrastinating and then neutralize and eliminate the negative energies causing the procrastination. After that then it isn't a issue of "making" yourself do something, but rather removing the energetic blockages so that you can allow yourself to do it (whatever "it" is with ease and efficiency) and cease holding back on allowing abundance.

10 Ways to Kick the Procrastination Habit!

I recently read about a survey (by the University of Chicago) which suggested that those who relish challenge are more likely to live up to 10 years longer than those who spend their lives inhibited by timidity.

Trying to realize our ambitions, even if we don't always meet them, is preferable to not having the courage or motivation to take the risk. So not making any resolutions because we fear that we'll break them is having a defeatist attitude, as we allow procrastination to become an insidious habit which stops us from leading more fulfilling lives.

The following offers 10 ways to kick the procrastination habit!

1. Personal values development.

Take the time to find out what you really want in life, what your personal values are. Do you want more time, more money, better health, greater self esteem and confidence, more fulfilling relationships, a different career, set up a business? When we procrastinate it's often because what we are planning to do is not really aligned with what we truly want. We may be scared of our skills (or perceived lack of) or fear ridicule from others.

2. Make health and high energy levels a priority.

Without good health we are less likely to have the energy and dynamism needed to make positive changes in our lives and it's easier (and necessary if you're very ill) to procrastinate. So ensure that you have a nourishing diet, sleep well, exercise and meditate. Incidentally, it is thought that regular meditation helps delay the worst effects of the ageing process.

3. Visualize your life without procrastination.

See and feel the benefits in your life if you didn't procrastinate. What could you do and achieve? Begin to act as if you're not a procrastinator. Write down, draw, imagine your life as a film. Use affirmations to help you.

4. Banish the Gremlin.

That little voice which runs on auto in your head - that dismisses any idea that you might have. It says things like "I'm not in the mood" "I don't have time" "I can't do this". Stop running on auto, replace the "should's" "oughts" "have tos" with "want to" "desire". You have a choice. Acknowledge your choices and banish the Gremlin. Again, using affirmations can help you replace the Gremlin with more positive alternatives.

5. Over commitment.

Saying "yes" to everything - often leaves you feeling tired and without the energy to focus on what is most important to you. This leads to procrastination as projects and tasks are dropped. Identify what is most important to you and only focus on those areas which will make the biggest difference to your life. It will enhance your focus and motivation.

6. Set personal and professional goals.

It's hard to motivate yourself when you don't have a good idea of what you want to accomplish. So when setting goals think about what you want to achieve in the short term and long term. Techniques for doing so include the SMART strategy. S = specific M = measurable A= Action R = Realistic T = Time based. Use goal setting software to help you in goal planning and setting.

7. Prioritize Your Goals.

Develop a plan or schedule to help you reach your goals. In doing so you will begin to identify whether some elements need to be included or enhanced or dropped completely. Also remember to be flexible, revisit your goals regularly and modify or drop if appropriate. Just because a goal is written down doesn't mean that it is set in stone!

8. Divide and conquer.

Once you've prioritized your goals, divide them into smaller chunks. Sometimes we procrastinate because a project seems really large that the scale of it overwhelms us and puts us into a temporary form of paralysis - you don't know where to start, so you don't start at all! Approach each project - especially large ones - on a step by step basis.

9. Reward yourself.

Once you start to complete tasks, reward yourself by giving yourself something that you want. So instead of seeing a film before you complete a task, see it afterwards and make it a reward for you.

10. Just get started.

No excuses. Don't wait until you're "in the mood". The mood never comes! It is a clever camouflage and a delaying tactic. What you resist persists! Start with what is easiest, so that you experience immediate success, which will give you the fuel and motivation to upgrade and take on larger projects.

Do any of the above and you'll be well on your way to Kicking the Procrastination Habit. And if you're procrastinating over doing any of the above :.), then remember that life is the biggest deadline of all!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Letting Go of The Maze (aka Following Your Own Path)

Last weekend, I took a short break in Kent, south east England, commonly known as "the Garden of England". I went to Leeds Castle, which is set amongst very beautiful and extensive parkland. I really enjoyed it; I'd forgotten how beautiful the English countryside could be on a breezy summer's day.

Within the grounds is a small maze and without really thinking about whether I should go in (it normally takes me a while to get out of these places!), I walked in. It took me about a few steps to completely lose my bearing. I had the information sheet in my hand and it said that the average time to solve the maze was 20mins; I began to feel as though I'd be in there for much longer. My imagination took flight and I had visions of it being midnight and I would still be walking around alone in this maze, unable to get out.

Help was at hand though.

A man who had already reached the summit of the maze and was directing his young son ("Charles, turn left, then go right........"), so I decided to follow his son (who seemed about 7 years old) with the hope of getting to the top. I tried following him for a while, but got no closer. In the end I lost him and began to feel humiliated at the thought of being "beaten" by a 6 year old (even if he was being given fatherly directions).

I was getting extremely annoyed at myself and the situation (my ego anticipated a rather large bruising!), that in the end I completely resigned myself to being hopelessly lost and meandered aimlessly.

Before I knew it, I was on my way to the top of the maze.

What a relief.

As I looked down on the maze's exquisite patterning from the summit I realised two things:

(i) Letting go got me there

The minute I relaxed and ceased putting pressure on myself to get to the top of the maze I was practically there. I do have the pernicious habit of efforting, instead of being present and in the flow. The maze was a potent example of the power and ease of letting go and (literally) getting out of my own way.

(ii) Following my own path got me there too

In order to reach my destination, I was attempting to follow someone else's directions - the man at the summit who was directing his son, instead of my own relaxed intuitive wanderings.

And where did that get me?

Nowhere. Even more lost than ever.

The minute I'd lost the "shoulds" of someone else's directions, I was free to find my own way to the destination with ease and graciousness.

Every time I find myself struggling to achieve something or hearing the energetic heavy weight of the words "should" "ought to", I remind myself that there is another way.

I reached the summit in 15 mins.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Silence is Golden

Last week marked the end of "The Convent" - a four part series on BBC Television, which took four ordinary women out of their lives and placed them in a Convent for 40 days and nights. This programme was the female version of the "The Monastery" in which five ordinary men stayed in a monastery for 40 days and nights. The length of time is not coincidental of course; 40 days and 40 nights is the amount of time that Jesus spent in the wilderness, resisting temptation (the basis for Lent) and the number 40 is very significant in other biblical aspects as well.

The women (and I'll concentrate on The Convent, because it's fresher in my mind) are expected to devote themselves, like the Nuns do, to contemplation, silence and prayer. This means rising at 5.00am, with seven church services to attend every day. This is a very taxing schedule, especially for some of the women, who are more used to controlling their own time and are finding this an unnecessarily harsh discipline.

Predictable rebellion

Almost predictably, most of them rebel in some form; not attending meetings or services, fraternising with each other in their rooms (this is not allowed), leaving the grounds of the Convent (nuns aren't allowed to leave the Convent, although there are some exceptions to this).

The nuns, in their wisdom, expect this and whilst they voice their displeasure at the rebellion, also realise that it is a sign of fear, worry and deep insecurity. The women are finding it difficult to face themselves and their fears and so breaking the rules operates as a form of distraction.

There really is nothing like 40 days and nights in a convent to start looking at yourself, your life and watch all of your cherished assumptions, beliefs and the identity you've based your life on fall away. At the end, one of the women wonders whether the disapproving voice she always thought belonged to other people and/or authority was really her own.

Surrender to what is

What the nuns realised was that the women needed to surrender to the discipline, to the silence, the routine and the structure, rather than fighting it and then they would get much more out of the experience. It would truly be life changing.

And they did surrender. Without exception all of the women stated that their lives had been changed in a very profound way.

One of the women said at the end:

"It's been agony, it's been horrible, it's been awful; an environment I'd never choose for my has brought out something in me that I needed. Being here has basically jammed me into a mould and yet that mould has allowed me to grow more"

And on a similar theme, another woman said: ..............

"I needed to be enclosed in order to discover that I am free"

I was deeply moved by the programme; it's one of the most compelling I've viewed in years.

Silence is Golden

What it brought up for me was how little silence that we allow into our lives. Silence is troubling and unsettling for many people, which is why we turn on the TV, radio, compulsively use the Internet, shop till we drop and use any amount of distractions to drown the silence. But it is in silence that we hear the "still, small voice of God" - as the nuns know all too well.

Like the women, too many memories, issues, thoughts, ideas which we have spent a lot of time suppressing to maintain our place in the world, come to the surface when it is silent and that can be overwhelming.

At least the women were in a very safe place - probably one of the safest - because they were being supported throughout their personal journey. Most of us won't have that to hand which is one of the reasons we are scared of silence; because we are scared of what we will unearth.

Keeping busy

Maybe we keep ourselves busy because we don't want to recognise that our relationship is faltering, we don't know who our children are, we hate our jobs but can't see that there is an alternative, can't face the pain of a fractured past etc.

If we allow ourselves the silence for these memories to come up, it may cause ructions and the carefully constructed edifice of our lives will come crashing down. However, EFT does provide a very simple, painless, non invasive way of looking and dealing with our stuff and knowing this means that we are better able and more willing to face our fears and gain the support we need to do so.

Rising to the surface

Because being silent and allowing "stuff" to come to the surface, also allows it to be released And being in silence for part of the day (early morning preferably) is a massive boost to our energy system.

If I don't spend some time in silent contemplation at the beginning of the day I feel "off". However, many of us rush to the TV for our regular input of bad news, we're laced up with caffeine, depleting our energy before we leave the door to go to work!

I won't say that it's always easy, but that investment of time in silence, meditation and contemplation pays dividends in terms of clarity of thinking, increased energy and linking to the source of who you really are.

I'm not sure if you can still access The Convent on the website; if you can then watch it. It's a fascinating study of personal growth and transformation.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Energetic plumber required for England's football (soccer) team

So England's football team have been eliminated from the World Cup on penalties - again.

It's not the first time it has happened; in fact England have an inglorious tradition of going out of major competitions on penalties. And I won't go into the gory details of that.

What I am interested in is the very apparent, yet unconscious energetic resistance England have to winning major football competitions.

England didn't have the energy to win

I've begun looking at football matches from an energetic point of view. And it is very obvious which teams have the energy and spirit to win and which teams don't. You don't need to know about tactics or strategy to work that one out. Although the English media wanted us to believe otherwise, it was very clear that England didn't have the energy and the ability to focus that energy, to win the World Cup.

On paper the English team are very talented and they perform very well for their clubs, but they don't seem able to gell into a winning combination as the national team and this has been the case for 40 years.

Energetic blocks and resistance

My belief is that deep down, the English players suffer from energetic blocks and resistance to winning passed down through the generations and ghosts and mindset of previously unsuccessful English footballers.

Healers often talk about "generational imprints", whereby experiences, beliefs become encoded into our cells and situations repeat themselves throughout every successive generation (and science is beginning to discover this too). In this case It isn't genetic, but vibrationally passed down, but the effect is still the same.

These energetic blocks are nearly always unconscious, but it doesn't take too much investigation to discover what they are.

Many EFT specialists will state that one of the most common issues that their clients present is fear of success and not, as you might logically expect, fear of failure.

Fear of success

Fear of success is a huge energetic block for many people and hinders them in so many ways. If it isn't addressed or acknowledged then excuses are made for the lack of success, not enough money, time, support etc. You'll see this in the media reports of the England - Portgual match. They'll say it's because England's best striker, Wayne Rooney, was sent off. Sven Goran Eriksson, the England team manager, used the wrong formation and strategy, the weather was too hot etc.....

What they won't say is that there is a latent, unrecognized fear of success, because that would be unpatriotic wouldn't it?

As any EFT specialist knows, you have to address the benefits of a problematic situation because these are always present, otherwise there wouldn't be a problem. People are initially resistant to recognising and acknowledging this because it doesn't seem to make sense.

Carol Look, EFT Master, provides an excellent example in her must listen to podcast EFT Talk. She specialises in weight loss and addiction. One of her clients wanted to stop smoking. She asked her what the downside of stopping smoking might be. Her client said that it was the only valid reason she had for escaping from her husband and children (who hated her smoking) and having some time to herself.

Trying too hard

If this reason was unaddressed, this client would have been relying on willpower and trying really hard, usuallly to no avail. In fact trying too hard is often a sign that there are energetic blocks. I could see this last night as England ran their guts out, as if they were trying to push through some unseen obstacle, which of course they were. They were running straight into an invisible wall built by their own unconscious resistance.

One of the most common reasons for fear of success, is not being able to handle what comes with it. This could mean increased expectations because the bar has been raised. It could also mean losing contact or feeling set apart from the family or community. There are as many reasons as there are people.

Always the bridesmaid, often just the guest

There is within the English football team and footballing culture, an unacknowledged and unaddressed downside to winning a major international competition (even greater expectations perhaps?). As long as it remains unrecognized, we can expect to see England playing the bridesmaid on even more occasions as the same old situation plays round and round.

EFT offers a very effective way to discover and dispel those blocks. But is English football ready for this? Or is it better the devil you know?

And after my previous posting on EFT and sport, maybe I should contact the English Football Association....