I love completion. It makes me feel good to mark tasks upon my to-d0 list and cross them off. There have been times I have written a a completed task upon my list that wasn’t there, after I had done it, just so I could have the satisfaction of crossing it off.
When a friendship has gone astray, I must write a letter saying how I am feeling, giving space to closure. Right now I am clearing my home for an impending move to the West- and I can’t help but to beam as I look across the clutter-cleared completeness of the space. I love laundry for it’s completeness, and cleaning and organizing for this very same reason. It is like therapy for the soul, and my deep need for completion.
So, what is this about? Where, and what are it’s roots, and why does it satisfy so completely? And am I the only one who feels this way? I’m thinking not.
I overheard a co-worker talk about this very idea, and any clutter-clearing expert will tell you to rid yourself of any project that is incomplete. These projects take up much needed space in our minds, bodies and souls- and become like the clutter we see in our physical spaces.
In the book, The Mermaid Chair, by Sue Monk Kidd, the character reflects upon herself: I was an accomplished practitioner of delayed gratification….people who could delay gratifaction were highly mature. I could put off happiness for days, months, years. That’s how mature I was.
This got me thinking- I often put off happiness until all tasks are complete (have I blogged about this before? If so, I guess it’s worth repeating). I often have tasks on my to-do-list, which I can easily complete in a day, like clearing a space. This gives instant gratification, which is why like to blog. I get an idea, I write it, work it to make it better, and push “publish.” It’s off my mind, task is complete. But….there are a few tasks I have not completed, like writing and publishing several books. Yes, not just one, but several. Oh, and I’ve recently added screenplays to the list.
These books, especially “The First Chosen Three” hang over me like a dormant potato pasture. I know the potatoes are there, but I never get to see them, let alone pick them, eat them and share them (I just watched a movie called Faith Like Potatoes, so I think this is where the potato things came from). These “potatoes” whine out at me for attention, begging for air and water, but I continue to ignore them.
I guess I question my resolve in harvesting them- can I complete the harvest? What will happen if I don’t? How will I ever feel full, and fed until those potatoes are harvested (remember I’m really talking about books here)?
I scan back to the goals I used to set-
1) lose weight
2) pay off debt
3) write books
1) lose weight
2) pay off debt
3) write books
1) lose weight……….well you get the idea.
This continuous cycle of goals, have been constant reminders of my limitations; therefore my lack to believe I am fit to harvest. But if you remember from one of my last posts, I am at least committed to trusting and acting as though I am fit enough.
Recently I wrote this on my Facebook status: What is your happiness tied up in?
I have been investigating this after reading an article by Martha Beck on self-sabotage. She said our sub-conscious mind will create thoughts and scenarios, which will cause exactly what we fear, all in a furious attempt to end the constant anxiety of the feared outcome. Isn’t that helpful of our sub-conscious mind? Here, it is tirelessly assisting us toward peace and harmony.
So, in my case my fear is I won’t complete the tasks of writing my books, which in my mind means I will cease to make an impact and a difference in the world. (just for the record, goal #1 and #2 from above are coming together). To ease the anxiety of this fear, every time I am lured to the computer by the strong and joyful impulse to make my contribution, instead of writing, I do an action to help out the fear, and my enthusiasm wanes. Before I know it, I am Facebooking a status and posting a blog, or eating a piece of chocolate or organizing a drawer- all to experience some form of satisfaction and ease from the anxiety of not accomplishing the Big Kahuna of goals. And funny, I should call it the Big Kahuna, since Kahuna means one who lives with no doubt.
I choose to believe beneath all the pressure and trauma of not completing my task(s), the stable, consistent, confident and committed energy of the Kahuna is present. Because one thing I am coming to know, especially after having some success with my goals #1 and # 2, is when we continuously desire an outcome, in these cases health and financial freedom, that desire wins and everything that surfaces that looks like defeat is actually there to assist us back to equilibrium, and ultimately success.
Maybe this processing rant of my writing is boring you. But I trust not. I imagine, you, like me seek completion and closure and the thrill of crossing a task off the to-d0-list, or your to-do is to have a to-do- list. Which makes me want to go further- as long as we are living, that to-do list, whether it is in our heads or on paper, is on- going. And, if you are like me, your happiness is tied up in what’s not complete (yet). Do we really want to put off our peace and joy until then, until every task is complete?
A freind bought me a book. The title is “ You Don’t Have to Write a Book.” The minute I saw it I felt relief, and laughter sprouted out my mouth. This one sentence lifted the pressure of feeling I have to write a book in order to feel complete, therefore validated, therefore happy.
For you, it may not be a book that keeps showing up on your goal spreadsheet. Maybe it is to lose weight, or pay off debt, or find a mate. Whatever it is, you don’t have to do it.
But.. maybe you want to. And maybe you can enjoy the process of doing it. And maybe you can give up the need to be validated by doing it, and just be “fat, ” “broke,” or “non-writer.” Sit for a moment with whatever label you are already putting onto yourself, and wonder is this really what I want to keep fueling and giving energy to? Or is there something more?
Whatever you are habitually beating yourself up for, is really an indication of what you seek, and therefore what is possible for you. If it’s weight, your soul seeks resolve. Maybe its not the weight in pounds so much as you just want to feel good, and be healthy. And remember every particle, thought, cell.. is moving us toward health and healing- and in a sense completion.
For me, maybe my push to write, the “have to” I have about it, is an indicator of my soul’s purpose to express myself through writing and not because I have to anymore, but because I want to. Because I can. Because it is inside of me to do, if I choose to. For me, taking out the have to, takes off the pressure of completion, and becomes more about the journey rather then the destination.
For you, be happy now, even though you have incomplete projects, and unresolved issues (I wish someone would have told me this). Find out where your happiness is tied up in, and start untangling to unleash a new force where “I have to” turns into “I want to.”
Unleash the old, and invite the new. C’mon, I dare you. Go harvest some potatoes, or not….
The Soul Reporter