[First Published on The Huffington Post]
One of my role models is the amazing and brilliant Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post. When I had the opportunity to meet her at Wisdom 2.0 last year (in 2013) I was beyond ecstatic and inspired. When an editor from HuffPost reached out to me a few weeks later to ask if I’d be interested in creating a meditation guide for their featured mindfulness app GPS for the Soul I was honored at the opportunity to share my mindfulness tips and tools. I agreed to provide my guide within a few weeks. But then something happened. Weeks went by and I still hadn’t submitted my guide. I emailed to let them know I had been swamped with work (my excuse) and would get it to them soon. Soon came and went and still no guide was created or submitted.
Why was I procrastinating on something I was so excited and honored to do?!
Life gets busy and there’s always something else on the list that takes priority but for the most part we fall back on the procrastinators’ favorite adage “there’s always tomorrow”. For me, tomorrow continued to come and go, and my to do list grew longer and longer. I tried to shrink it by crossing off things that just were not going to get done. But this “to do” was important enough to me that it never fell of the list. However, as time continued to pass I was almost embarrassed to “do it” because it was already so late. It’s kind of like when you tell someone you’re going to call them and then you don’t and then months go by and you feel like you can’t call anymore.
The truth is you can call. Regardless of how much time has passed you can always call or do that lingering task as long as you check your ego at the door and let go of the fear. What I realized about my procrastination was underneath it were subtle little (loud) voices saying, “Who are you to publish something about mindfulness? You have a monkey mind,” and another voice saying “It’s too late, you’re going to embarrass yourself” and then the justifying voice chiming in with “There’s no time right now, do it tomorrow.” For awhile I let these voices win. I continued to procrastinate and watch the time pass as this “to-do” held on to the bottom of my list. But then something changed, actually three things changed and taught me big lessons on how to move from procrastination to production.
1. Press pause.
I spent five days in silence at a Vipassana retreat contemplating responsibility. What am I responsible for in my life and what do I take responsibility for. The reality is I am responsible for all of my intentions, actions, and words. If something doesn’t get done it’s not because of time or busyness it’s because I didn’t want to get it done bad enough. I remembered a saying I heard often while growing up: “Where there is a will, there is a way.”
This was the perfect pause to create space for inspiration. When you take a moment to stop what we are doing and thinking and brewing in our minds we are able to focus and actually do what it is we were thinking about.
2. If you don’t do it, it won’t get done.
I was at yoga and psyche conference and walked away with this one powerful message imprinted on my brain “If you don’t do it, it won’t get done.” Whoa! That’s spot-on true when you think about it. Sure someone else can write a meditation guide or create a company or whatever else it is you’re passionate about, but it will never be done the way you would do it, because you are unique.
3. Hope does not disappoint.
The final and biggest change was my grandfather passed away, a man with 96 years of wisdom oozing out of every word and the pauses between words. I was fortunate to have shared so much time with him. I was always in awe of his stories and the vibrant life he lived and wondered how he did it. The answer came to me while reading through his memoirs. His story was one of love, hope, and perseverance. He embraced hope and lived fearlessly in every moment regardless of the obstacles that came his way.
We are all fearless. We just don’t know it.
In the busyness of our lives it’s easy to forget that we are all fearless, unique, brilliant individuals here to create something that only we can create. Our obstacles, big and small, get in the way and bring us to a slow crawl even a halt.
They say there is always a light at the end of every tunnel. It’s often hard to see or even imagine this light during difficult times or when things aren’t quite going the way you want them to, or when your plate is full.
It’s during these times, when you’re moving aimlessly, you just have to “press pause” stop what you are doing and take a breath. This short pause is all it takes to reset and refocus the mind so you can continue to play in this fast-paced world.
So here I am a year later with my first published meditation guide on The Huffington Post, inspired by my journey over the last year! I’m honored and humbled to have the opportunity to share my advice on living well and be featured amongst writers I admire. And I am grateful for the experiences in my life that remind me to “press pause” and follow my dreams!
Check out my ultimate GPS guide for “Taking a Pause” on The Huffington Post featuring an inspirational quote from my Grandfather and photography from my personal collection.
Mindfulness doesn’t require 5 days in silence or hours under a banyan tree. Sign up to get a free “Press Pause” audio meditation to add a dose of mindfulness to your well being journey in less than five minutes.