Friday, October 17, 2008

Why do we wait so long to do what we know we need to do?


A friend and I were discussing this question recently, because I have noticed that there are times when I say a prayer asking for guidance, receive the guidance, and then seem to wait to put anything into action. Now I have been known to argue with the guidance I have received and that has consistently ended up being a big waste of time. But, this is different. This question came up because I realize I get the guidance, and I’m not arguing—I’m just not acting.

I know that sometimes I need to receive the guidance three or four times from various sources before I realize that it is indeed guidance. That is understandable. Sometimes the concept is new enough or subtle enough in its delivery that it isn’t obvious, so I need my spiritual shoulder to be shaken a few times before I realize my guidance is waking me up.

I’m talking about those moments when I know I have received guidance and it is clear to me, yet I put off taking any action. I’m not alone out here with this phenomenon am I?

A question like this haunts me until I address it, so I kept exploring. “Why do I procrastinate when I have received the guidance I ask for?” I mused with my friend “Ok, sometimes I need confirmation. The concept is so new; I want to be really sure. And sometimes I’m darned afraid. Other times, I know I need partners and I’m watching for them. Still other times, the guidance requires action I’ve got to fit in to my schedule. Or I’m waiting for some miraculous occurrence that launches me into action. I’m also aware of the marketing guideline that most people need to receive a message nine times before they are likely to take action. I recognize these reasons for inaction, and I have ways for addressing them. Yet, there are times, I address the concerns, fears and limits and I’m still procrastinating. What is it?”

In my conversation with my friend I had a flash of insight about living on planet earth. One of the gifts of living on earth is that there is time between the moment we have a creative thought and its full implementation in becoming reality. For example, when I decided I wanted to become a Special Education teacher many years ago, first I had the inspiration, second I talked to a college counselor, and then I talked to my parents about helping me apply for a scholarship. I researched colleges, filled out and submitted applications……. You know the rest of the story. It was years before I was certified and teaching my first students. The process took time.

Is it possible that we are conditioned for things to take time? Time between inspiration and creation can be good. As a parent, pregnancy gives you time to prepare. If you are angry with someone and you wish them ill, there is time to recant that thought and replace it with something more compassionate. Have you ever had a reactive thought you wish you hadn’t? Here on earth, we have time here to get really clear. In fact, we frequently find ourselves needing to reinforce the clarity and passion of our desires so that the universe knows we mean it.

Sometimes, I think I’m just waiting to see if the action my guidance is suggesting feels like it will be worth the effort I sense it will take. And here is the irony. If I act immediately on the guidance I receive, the process usually takes less effort. My wondering and pondering if I have the energy and courage to do it is taking up precious energy and making it the effort I’m concerned it will be. If I just do it, less energy is required! So guess who is listening and acting immediately now?