Procrastination has been a strategy I have practiced most of my life. That is why this blog has been in my journal and half-finished on my computer for over two weeks. It is true that in that time new ideas have emerged, and others have dropped away. I hope it is a better blog. But I still don’t feel good when I watch myself procrastinating.

I didn’t save any money, none, until I was 45. Then I established an RRSP and created a successful saving plan. I didn’t write a will until I was sixty. I knew I should but just didn’t get around to it. The past two weeks my wife and I have reviewed our financial situation with our advisor, seen a lawyer about updating our wills, almost finished our Personal Directive and Power of Attorney forms, talked to a funeral director and pre-paid our funerals. Planning for the next stage of life has not been easy and it’s almost done, but not quite. The downside is that it will not get finished now until we return from holidays in mid-April. Hope our plane is a good one!

Ash Wednesday and Lent provided some inspiration to get me down to taking care of business. This Christian festival or tradition has always been important to me. I take it as a time for reflection on my life (mortality) and what this time of my life is all about (purpose) all in the context of God’s will and the evolving purpose of humankind. That’s a fancy way to say I intentionally think about stuff during lent.

This year I went to a pre-Lent morning retreat for clergy. The leader provided a reflection and a new pattern for Lent. Instead of sacrifice and giving up stuff he suggested we could reflect on our soul work and examine our behaviour in light of the great commandment to love God, our neighbour and our self.

The first task is to ask, “What is my wound?”Often our bad behaviour is rooted in a childhood wound that is still (at my age) keeping me from coming home to the fullness of life. It is a hurt that is not conscious, but it is still at work limiting my ability to love as I could, to forgive and let go, and to be a free as I could be.

The second task is to ask, “What is my work?” This is the inner work of identifying the wound and how it is affecting your life. One way to identify a wound is to look at behaviour that we are not proud of, and still continue to do – like procrastination for me. As I reflect on why I do that, I move deeper into what Richard Rohr calls “the true self” and I begin to see the “false self” that I present to the world. We can criticize Donald Trump for wanting to build a wall. It is so obviously wrong, a waste of time, energy and resources that could be used to improve the quality of life for millions of people. Perhaps even change a culture of racism rather than celebrate it. Yet, building a wall around our heart is a common practice — a wall to protect ourselves from hurt or outside attacks or our inner critic. Our wall is not so obvious to our own eyes but ask people who love you or who hate you. … They can see it clearly and would gladly help you to see it too.

Finally, the last question for this season of reflection, is, “What is my way?” The word “way” comes from the Old English “Wyrd” which we now call weird. But it was not meant as a negative. It was used in a positive way to mean follow your path toward happiness. Joseph Campbell coined the phrase, “follow your bliss” to indicate that we can choose our path which can lead to our fulfillment.
A Christian statement may be: “Our way is to love each other into being”. We are all unique and our way of being in the world will demonstrate our gifts.

I skipped Ash Wednesday this year because I could not reconcile my connection with the ancient tradition and the new one that I am creating for myself. I still wonder if it would have helped me put all the pieces together. However, I am journaling now and wondering about my wound and my way. We are going away on holiday in early April so I will probably put off this practice till sometime after Easter when we are back. You see how procrastination works?

Blessings for this sacred season. Do you have a practice that is important to you that makes this season meaningful?

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1 Response to Taking Care of Business

  1. Lonnie says:

    John, I am a skilled a natural procrastinator! On the flip-side, sometimes I beat that tendency into submission by jumping into something without enough thought.

    This season I am making a special effort to work on myself; specifically, I am focusing on cultivating deep presence and a contemplative stance despite all the distractions that seem to draw me out and have me forget.

    Along the lines of procrastination and doing what is important, I read this blog, just today, that was interesting and a little helpful:

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