Patience, Procrastination, Guilt, Getting Stuff Done, and Reverence

I thought I’d share an article I was invited to write a couple of years ago, in case any of you ever struggle with things like procrastination, guilt, and not getting the stuff you think you should be getting done, done.  I wrote it for a wonderful blog written by Eileen Pardini, who has devoted her life to the exploration and practice of “Reverence for a meaningful life.”  

If you feel resonant with the concept and practice of Reverence, I have a feeling you’ll be touched by Eileen Pardini’s wise, inspiring, beauty-rich and nature-infused perspective on the subject… not to mention her wonderful (and free!) e-book, 10 Daily Practices of Reverence.

In the mean time, I share with you the completely unadulterated article:

Eileen Pardini invited me to share my thoughts on Reverence quite some time ago (an embarrassing amount of time ago, actually). Given my reverence for Eileen and the concept/practice of Reverence itself, I immediately felt excited and inspired by the invitation.

At first, images and memories of reverent moments from my life cascaded into my awareness like a rippling river:

·       my peacefully sleeping daughter, curled up with her leopard stuffy

·       the proud oak tree in our back yard

·       the surreal dance of a flock of Starlings

·       the wise gaze of a Blue Whale’s eye

·       the contagious giggle of a baby discovering her toes

·       the exhilarating breeze of a summer’s bike ride

·       a soft pair of puppy paws

·       kale-lime juice with a hint of mint

·       being so entirely swept up by a piece of music that not-dancing becomes a sheer impossibility

But then… after the flow of inspiration… came the overwhelm.

And then the pressure to write something intelligent and meaningful.

And then, of course, the all-too-familiar ‘writer’s block’.

How could I succinctly capture my thoughts on Reverence and its relevance to the world today? What hadn’t already been written on the subject by Eileen, and others like her, far more eloquent and poetic than me?

After about 43 ‘false starts’, I grew impatient. Why was this taking so long? Couldn’t I just whip something up?  Did it have to be such a big deal? Eileen actually asked for something ‘brief’. How long could I keep her waiting? In relation to this article, I was feeling anything but Reverent.

That’s when I had a realization. (Perhaps not a new one, but one in need of ‘re-realizing’.)

There are places in our lives where Reverence comes easy.  Who wouldn’t take a look at a sleeping child, for example, or at a glorious flower, or a magnificent sunset, and not experience at least a moment of heart-opening, breath-taking and awe-inspiring appreciation?

But then there are those ‘other places’.

Like when we’re spending time with relatives who aren’t necessarily withholding their opinions or spreading the love.

Or when we’re interacting (or sharing the planet) with people whose world views, values and behaviors are so different from our own.

Or when we’re looking in the mirror at our own gloriously, imperfectly human reflection.

Or when we’re engaged in a creative process (like the writing of this article, or the manifestation of our life purpose!), and things aren’t going quite as smoothly, quickly or neatly as our minds would like.

How hard it can be during times like these to practice the kind of joyful presence, respect and gratitude for life so beautifully captured by the state of Reverence.

With this re-realization, I became less interested in answering the question, “What is Reverence, and how can I write intelligibly about it?” and much more interested in, “How can I practice Reverence right now in relation to what my mind is calling – and judging to be – ‘writer’s block’? Is that even possible? And how might this experimental line of inquiry become my heartfelt service to Eileen, and her readers?”

Mind you, my ultimate goal here was not to cultivate Mindfulness — the ability to be with and witness my experience from a place of peaceful neutrality.

I wanted to know if I could actually experience Reverence towards my situation and self. Could I move from feeling upset and judgmental about ‘what was’, to feeling genuinely grateful for ‘what was’?

While Mindfulness might not have been the desired destination, it was certainly an essential bridge.

There was no way a genuine experience of Reverence would or could emerge for me, as long as I was holding myself hostage by hurry, or judging everything I was thinking, feeling, doing or not doing according to some unrealistic, unfair and unhelpful expectation.

Breathing deeply, relaxing, witnessing, letting go of judgments and time pressure were all crucial ingredients to my evolving process. Without Mindfulness and an attitude of kindness towards myself, I couldn’t have possibly created conditions ripe enough for Reverence to emerge on its own, as it tends to do.

After months of allowing, watching and loving-myself-through whatever was happening, or not happening, and as I allowed the article to drift into the periphery of my productivity priority list, I found myself meandering through one of my favorite books.

The book is called The Gene Keys, and it is written by a teacher/poet/philosopher I deeply admire, named Richard Rudd. To my delight, I stumbled upon a passage that I would love to share with you here.

Something about its message helped me transition from the peaceful acceptance of neutral mindfulness to the awe-filled realm of Reverence.

“To begin anything, you must first have a clear intention. The more selfless your intention, the more power it will have. If you begin with the right intention, then everything will follow, but you must resist the temptation to interfere with the process out of fear. The intention is the seed, and the seed contains all the necessary ingredients and properties that will be needed in the journey ahead. The seed even contains the specific fragrances that will attract the right allies at the right times.

It is also true to say that the greater the power, the longer it takes to germinate. The seed of a yew tree and the seed of a sunflower are similar in size. However, whilst the sunflower will grow to its full size within the space of a few months, the yew tree has depth and complexity and will begin at a different pace and follow its own timing.  It may take 10 years just to reach the height of the sunflower, but it may live as long as 5,000 years.  So it is with all human ideas and actions… We humans cannot see the details of the journey ahead; we have to trust in the direction that our intention takes, even if it does not make sense to us at the time. This is the power of Restraint (and REVERENCE!) – to allow your life to unfold without urgent demand.”

In my everyday work as a Spiritual Counselor, Blossoming Coach and Human Design enthusiast, there are few things I cherish more than opportunities to empower people who yearn to embrace and trust themselves as the uniquely gifted, sensitive and wholly intelligent & beautiful beings that they are… even when it’s difficult. Even when they’re under tremendous internal or external pressure to be someone else, do something else, or do it more quickly.

I often use the metaphor of the flower to reflect (and evoke a state of Reverence for) each person’s unique beauty and innate sense of timing. (A fun little video my husband and I created) 

One of my all-time favorite quotes by Anais Nin is, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

This quote speaks so beautifully to the fear that so often holds us back from allowing ourselves to bloom. Whether we are afraid of not being good enough, or of our own success, our fear can easily cloak itself in tendencies towards Procrastination and Perfectionism.  So, we must be alert to these sneaky “P’s”, and be willing to ‘push through’ our resistance (fear) out of reverence for our gifts and our soul’s desire to express and share those gifts with others.

But sometimes (and this is a delicate dance) the biggest gift we can give ourselves is patience.

And trust.

And a profound Reverence for the natural timing of our own growth process.  A willingness to get out of the way, to sit back and watch –- in wonder and awe — at the pure intelligence guiding each and every (visible and invisible) step of our process.

And an openness to the probability that our own flower’s process is mysteriously – synchronistically — connected to the processes of our ‘garden mates’.

It was precisely this reminder that gave me the readiness and courage to receive my writing breakthrough, to take a risk and allow some words to blossom on the page.

So this is my three-fold invitation to you – a way to practice Reverence towards yourself, and your own (creative/life) process, especially when it feels difficult.

Start with a little intention seed check-up. Make sure that there’s a good chunk of love at the core of your seed. See if there’s a way you can make it (whatever ‘it’ is) less about you (i.e. whether you’re good enough or not), and more about the people/beings you just might help if you get out of your own way & share your gifts. (Remember, it’s not about being perfect!)

Embrace your ‘inner yew tree’. Remind yourself, often, that as long as you’re planting seeds that have been sincerely sprinkled with love, there is an intelligence at work, in you, and all around you.

This intelligence is permeating every situation, guiding, gathering and patiently setting the pace behind the scenes. It is creating just the right conditions for your full and glorious unfoldment. Trust that this is happening, whether you know it or not, understand it or not, or feel like you have any control over it or not.

Then take a deep breath and let go. (Who knows? Your little seed might be growing something entirely different than you imagine, yet something equally magnificent. Seeds can be delightfully tricky that way!)

Chances are; you’ll know when it’s time to take a risk and bloom, because you won’t be able not to (even if you’re scared). The right time will have arrived, and your whole being will be perfectly primed to meet it.

Click on this image below to receive Eileen Pardini’s free e-book!


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