This is it. This is the week that I change my ways. I have been making myself miserable with my brand of extreme procrastination for way, way too long. On Wednesday, I had one of those days. I just couldn't move. I sat bleary eyed in front of the computer all day, doing absolutely nothing. A couple times I forced myself to get up and take the dog for a walk, anything to get me away from the computer and the leaden, miserable feeling that it gives me. Then I'd come back and end up right back on it, wretched and dead inside again.
But for the first time in my life, I see what this is. It's not an unchangeable character flaw. It's just a coping strategy — it's my way of running away from fear. I have a fear of failure that surrounds my work, and I am afraid that if I try, my worst fears will be confirmed: I will try my best and still fail. The organization I'm running won't be a success, or my career won't be a success, or other people will think I'm incompetent, or I will realize that I'm on the completely wrong path and be back at square one again. My strategy for dealing with that fear is to not try. I let myself sink into absolute paralysis. This procrastination method has become an addiction, just like alcohol or drugs. It's an escape from my problems that causes more problems.
I think seeing it for what it is is the first step to kicking this addiction. The second step is learning to be with the fear, rather than running from it. When I feel that nervous rumble in my belly, that tightness in my chest that often comes when I think about starting work, I'm going to breathe in that feeling. I'm going to allow it to be there, but try not to get caught up in all the stories and scenarios that go with it. Just feel the fear, and then get started anyway. When I feel my urge to run (otherwise known as the urge to check Bloglines or Facebook or Twitter) I'm going to breathe that in too. Feel the urge, allow it, but don't act on it. As my new hero Pema Chodron would say, I'm going to stay, I'm going to hold my seat, and see the fear for what it is, a passing memory, a phantom made of nothing but air and thoughts and clenched muscles.
I know there will be days when I fail in this. But I'm starting to see how I'm creating my own suffering by constantly running away. And if there is a way to never feel again the way I did on Wednesday, I want to give it my best try.