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JOURNEY  into  ENLIGHTENMENT

    Spiritual Growth and Inner Knowledge / Wisdom    
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THE  JOURNEY  WITHIN

"YOU DON'T HAVE A LIFE, YOU ARE LIFE"

Live it, share your gifts of love, and put your TRUST in the Universe.

1.Be gentle and tread lightly, Mother Earth needs gentleness too.

2.Work at listening and be patient, take the time to tune-in to your true "Self", so you can experience life fully, through all your senses.

 Do things such as:

-smell the roses

-see Nature in all it's glory eg. the amazing colours of flowers in bloom, watching animals playing, a bird flying or a dolphin gliding through the water.

-feel the cool breeze on a hot day.

-take the time to see a sunrise or sunset.

-marvel at the appearance of a rainbow.

-truly taste every mouthful of food given to us by Mother Earth.

-touch and hug, we all need connection to others.

-take the time to hug a tree, for they have great wisdom to share.

-allow Spirit in your life, to hear the inner voice.

Remember we are all inter-connected as one, like a giant web of love and light. Take the time to feel your intuition and listen to your heart, they are your Soul talking to you- your real guide and healer.

Everything is energy and the most powerful is your Consciousness. We create our world with our thoughts and actions, through our intent and the choices we make. Our behaviour reflects "where we are at". It is what we do that counts. When we are loving, we attract love into our life. When fear intrudes, negativity returns and disharmony follows.

3.Focus on the we, not "me". Being kind is being a part of mankind. Giving heals the heart of the giver, as well as the receiver.

4.Avoid the human "drama" trap, remember all events are neutral. They are neither good nor bad, they just are.

So don't add to it, they are our opportunities to grow more loving and connect with our Higher-Self.

5.Let go, don't hold on to anything, especially negative feelings or emotions. What you resists persists. Be a reed, and go with the flow.

Always remember the MIND has a mind of its own, so feel your way, don't THINK it.   

 The following lyrics are a wonderful insight into "trusting".

So now I'm here, and it wasn't so hard at all,

To become what I saw, 'cause I believed it in my heart,

And it's so much more than words-but I had to do my part,

Looking back I can recall, that the hardest part of all,

Was a risk to my whole Being,

It took so much trusting....

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PROCRASTINATION

UNDERSTANDING

If I asked you “are you a procrastinator?” you would smile at me and admit to things that you had put off in your life. Most people identify with procrastinating on certain tasks at various times in their life. In fact, studies across the U.S.,U.K. and Australia have found that around 20% of adults in the general population are chronic procrastinators, and it is much higher in school or university. The point is that procrastination is a fairly typical behaviour for a lot of people, so remember you are not alone! However, there is a difference between general procrastination, which we all do at times, and the more chronic procrastination which has taken over and stopped you from leading a good life.

Often people mistake procrastination for “laziness”. It is looked upon as a character flaw, but it has nothing to do with laziness. People use definitions such as, "putting off ",“postponing”, “delaying”, “deferring”, "leaving to the last minute” – all which are valid. Procrastination is making a decision for no valid reason to delay or not complete a task or goal you’ve committed to, and instead doing something of lesser importance despite there being negative consequences to not following through on the original task or goal.

You can see from this definition that procrastination is some way an intentional decision. It can become automatic, like a habit, so entrenched can this decision making be. Another way is that you needlessly put off or don’t complete something you made a commitment to doing. You generally substitute the task for something that is a lesser priority. The mind has distracted you from the set task and the anxiety it created, despite there being a lot of disadvantages to procrastinating. What tends to separate the general “putting off” or “delaying” from a more serious procrastination problem is how bad the negative consequences are that follow the procrastination.

Being a procrastinator doesn’t mean you are a person who puts off doing everything in life, although this may be for some. Procrastination can occur in many different areas of one’s life. It can involve tasks or goals in life areas such as work, household, study, health, financial, social, family, relationships, self-development and decision making. To help you to start to collect some information about what areas of your life you procrastinate on and what areas you follow through on, look through the list below.

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     WORK HOUSEHOLD

-Meeting deadlines                                                      -Daily chores (dishes, tidying, cooking etc)

-Making phone calls                                                     -Bigger chores ( vacuuming, washing, ironing)

-Attend meetings                                                        -Spring cleaning the house 

-Starting or finishing projects                                      -Household projects

-Being assertive with colleagues                                  -Maintenance and fixing things

-Paperwork                                                                 -Grocery shopping

-Job applications                                                         -Gardening    

-Researcher reading                                                    -Running errands

STUDY HEALTH

-Meeting deadlines                                                      -Making medical appointments

-Attending classes                                                       -Attending medical appointments

-Homework                                                                 -Changing diet

-Assignments                                                              -Starting an exercise routine

-Studying for exams                                                    -Losing weight

-Researcher reading                                                    -Quitting smoking/alcohol/drugs

-Asking questions or requesting help

FINANCIAL   SOCIAL, FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS

-Opening mail                                                              -Making phone calls

-Paying the bills                                                           -Replying to invitations

-Budgeting                                                                   -Spending time with others

-Bookkeeping                                                               -Arranging get togethers

-Tax returns                                                                 -Attending get togethers

-Paying back debts                                                       -Discussing problems

SELF-DEVELOPMENT DECISION MAKING

-Starting a course you always wanted to do                  -Making plans

-Starting a hobby                                                         -Committing to something new

-Getting involved in something spiritual                        -Choosing between options           

-Relaxation

Procrastination activities are the things you do as a diversion from or substitute for the key task or goal you need to accomplish. These can involve activities such as pleasurable tasks, lower priority tasks, socialising, daydreaming and distractions.

Below are some common diversions. Do any of these activities seem appropriate to you?

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PLEASURABLE TASKS  LOWER PRIORITY TASKS

-Movies, TV, DVDs                                                                -Exercising

-Reading books, newspapers                                                 -Paperwork

-Computer games                                                                 -Sorting things

-Surfing the Net                                                                   -Tidying

-Music                                                                                 -Other less important projects

-Shopping                                                                            -Checking emails

-Beach                                                                                 -Researching a topic or interest

-Hobbies(art, craft , etc)

SOCIALISING   DAYDREAMING

-Seeing friends, family, partner                                     -Thinking about the past or future

-Phoning friends, family, partner                                   -Imagining the task/goal is already finished

-Going out                                                                     -Imagining a better life

DISTRACTIONS  

-Sleeping

-Eating

-Smoking

-Drinking

-Drugs

It is important to become aware of the things that distract you from your task or goal. It is not that these activities are bad and should be stopped.  We all need pleasurable things in our lives, we all need a break from harder tasks by balancing these with more menial tasks, we all need social time and distractions in our lives, even some daydreaming. These activities are only a problem, when doing them is to our detriment because we don’t complete really important tasks or goals.  So the next time you are doing one of the above activities, ask yourself “Am I doing this as a way of procrastinating?” If the answer is “Yes, I am using this as a substitute for something very important”, then you have something to think about and address.

To avoid the guilt associated with procrastination, we often generate excuses for our procrastination which helps us feel justified and OK with putting things off. These excuses often imply that because of some circumstance, we are better off leaving the task to another time.

Below are some common Procrastination Excuses. It is important to become aware of the self-talk that you use to excuse your procrastination.

-“I’m too tired. I’ll do it tomorrow.”

-“I don’t have everything I need, I can’t start it now.”

-"I don’t have enough time to do it all, so I will wait until I do”

-“It is too late to start it now”

-“I won’t get much done, so I’ll leave it for now”

-“It is better to do it when I’m in the mood or feeling inspired”

-“I will miss out on the fun happening now, I can do it another time”

-“It is too nice a day to spend on this”

-“I’ve got to organise my desk/kitchen/workshed  etc first”

-“I’ve got to exercise first”

-"I am too busy to do it now”

-“I have plenty of time, so I can do it later”

-“I work better when I am stressed, so I will leave it to the last minute”

-“It might not be good enough, so why bother doing it”

-“Working on it today won’t make any difference”

Did any of these sound familiar? The thing is these excuses have some truth to them. For example, it may be true that you are tired, you don’t have everything you need, you don’t have enough time to do it all now, you aren’t in the mood or it is a nice day and so on.... The problem is that you then conclude from these truths that it is OK not to do the task now, but to leave it to another time. It is this conclusion that needs to change, so that there are no more excuses.

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CHANGING EXCUSES

As we have learned in the previous article, we often create excuses for our procrastination. These excuses justify our behaviour as reasonable and OK, thus allowing us to feel OK about putting things off, and reinforcing the behaviour so that we are more likely to procrastinate on a task or goal again. Therefore, we need to deal with the self-talk that the mind uses to excuse our procrastination, so that it is no longer OK to procrastinate. The other self-talk that needs to be dealt with, is when we become critical of ourselves for procrastinating. Of course, self-criticism just demotivates us, so let's learn ways to dismiss the destructive self-talk of making excuses and criticising yourself.

Remember, our procrastination excuses often revolve around some truth about the situation, and from this concluding we are better off delaying our task or goal to another time. For example:

THE TRUTH UNHELPFUL CONCLUSION

I am really tired.                                                  I am better off doing it after I have rested.

I don't want to do it now.                                      I may feel more like doing it tomorrow.

I will miss out on the fun happening now.              I can always wait till nothing much is on.

I don't have everything I need.                              I will wait till I do.

I have plenty of time.                                           So I don't have to start now.

I don't feel inspired.                                             I will wait till I do.

I have other things to do.                                     I will do it once those things are finished.

I don't have enough time to do it.                         I will wait till I have a lot of time to do it.

I work better under pressure.                                So I will leave it to the last moment.

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All the unhelpful conclusions ignore that going with the situation or how we feel at the time, may not actually be the best course of action for us in the long run. They also perpetuate the unrealistic notion that tomorrow will some how miraculously be a better time to get productive and follow through with things. We will be waiting a very long time for just the right time to come to get started on a task or goal. The real truth is there is no ideal time for doing something we don't feel like doing, so now is as good as any other time to start. Using unhelpful conclusions often ignore the fact that if we get started and take a step forward towards completing our task or goal, no matter how small the step, our desire to do that task or goal often increases and we can get some valuable things done. This means that by taking action first, all the other things often fall into place for us and we feel capable of continuing forward and getting the job done.

So what can we do about these unhelpful conclusions that keep us procrastinating. One way is to challenge the unhelpful conclusions, and come up with more helpful conclusions that we can tell ourselves to get us moving, doing and taking action. The other option is to test our unhelpful conclusions and see if they really hold up.

To challenge your conclusions, you need to question whether your conclusions are really valid. Are they based on fact or are your conclusions a manipulation of the truth?

See below for an example of how to use these questions to challenge your procrastination excuses.


PROCRASTINATION EXCUSE

The Truth Old Unhelpful Conclusion

I am really tired.                                                I am better off doing it after I have rested.

Answers to Challenged Questions

It is true I am tired right now and things will be more of an effort.

But, times before when I have done things even though I am tired, I have felt better for having gotten started and accomplished something, and usually I end up having more energy rather than less.

If I delay this, it will just play on my mind, I will just feel worse in the long run, and things will be harder to get done.

I guess I could make a start, maybe just 30 minutes on it.

I don't know that I will feel any better after resting, it may be the same story tomorrow.

If I make a small start I know I will feel better, and may feel like doing more.


End Result

The Truth New Helpful Conclusion

I am really tired.                                  But I can still make a small start right now and then rest.


Use this example as a template for challenging your common procrastination excuses.

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THE 'DOING' CYCLE

The procrastination cycle shows us that procrastination can be like a vicious negative spiral that we get stuck in. The good thing about a cycle/habit is that we can choose to reverse it from a negative cycle/habit to a positive cycle/habit. Initially, changing direction will require a real effort and the change, at first, will be met with resistance but with persistence it starts to get easier and eventually momentum gathers in the new direction.

As we create change and move to a more positive cycle/habit we can expect our old unhelpful rules and assumptions to be activated by the mind when faced with certain tasks or goals. These rules and assumptions have been used by ourselves for a long time, so we can't expect them to disappear overnight. The key thing is that instead of being led by these unhelpful rules and assumptions, we choose to do things differently at this point, which puts us on the path to 'doing' rather than procrastinating. Over time these unhelpful rules and assumptions will relax, and may not be as easily activated.

So when our old unhelpful rules and assumptions are activated we instead:

-Adjust our unhelpful rules and assumptions by challenging them, by creating new helpful rules and assumptions and putting them into practice.

-Practice tolerating discomfort using mindfulness techniques (being aware, watching and observing without judgement, and letting go) and gradually increasing our time sitting with discomfort.

Dismiss our procrastination excuses by challenging and testing any unhelpful conclusions we hold about being better off postponing a task or goal to another time, and instead developing more helpful conclusions that is best for us to make a start on things now.

-Use motivational self-talk rather than self-criticism to encourage ourselves to do the task.

-Put into action practical strategies to stop procrastination, such as prioritise, break the task into 'chunks' or steps, be realistic with the time required, do the most 'dreaded' task first, doing a task that you like that will energise you and without breaking do that task you have been putting off, set time limits, to create the best time and place for you without distractions, remember-then do immediately, use visual reminders and prompts, visualise, focus, plan rewards, co-ordinate free-time available in our daily timetable to do our tasks.

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Doing each of these things should then lead us to follow through with the task or goal, which will carry with it certain consequences which make us more likely to keep doing, rather than return to our old ways of procrastinating. These might include getting things done, achievement, satisfaction, belief in ourselves and our abilities, less discomfort and stress and reward for our accomplishments. The key is that by doing rather than procrastinating, our unhelpful rules and assumptions are challenged, because we see we can do these things and can cope no matter the outcome.


Finally, the key message is to keep going! Expect that changing your procrastination habit will take some time, practice, persistence and patience. You will have good days and bad. Some days you will achieve a great deal and be a 'doer', and others you will feel like you have gone backwards and become the 'procrastinator' again. Don't give up! If you are struggling, ask for help from a friend, professional, spiritual healer to support you through this period of change.


Another way to help you maintain your gains, is to recognise the changes you have made and your achievements. If we ignore these things we tend to think we haven't changed at all or that change hasn't been worth it and we will be less likely to keep going. Always recognise the positive benefits that have come from changing and how your life is so much better. So good luck in your journey of transforming yourself from a 'procrastinator' to a 'doer'.

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