“Dear Leonard,

Congrats on your new show! I can’ wait to hear it on Mondays. I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I have a problem that has plagued me for all my entire life, procrastination. My home is strewn with the debris of half-completed tasks, books taken off the shelves to be sorted, alphabetised, dusted, and put back on the shelf, are stacked in piles on my living room floor, half-painted bedside pedestals, are in place and being used as is because I have not had the time to paint the second coat. My Christmas cards from 2003 have not been written and sent yet and there are so many friends and family whom I’ve been meaning to get in touch with, who have not yet heard from me for months.

In other areas, which I know are crucial to maintain, I’m ordered and methodical, bank statements checked and filed, all bulls logged and paid up to date, washing done, cat food in plentiful supply. If I can get this right, why is the rest of my life in such chaos? The only action I’ve managed to take is a firm commitment to stop procrastinating! One day, maybe starting tomorrow, thanks.”

Well, the question that I have to ask you listener is, “What are you waiting for? When is your life actually going to start?” Interesting to notice that if you start with your second paragraph, which is about “in other areas, which are crucial to maintain, I’m ordered and methodical,” you see that where you don’t procrastinate are the areas that involve other people. In other words, when it comes to fulfilling other peoples agendas, you are very active, very committed, very reliable, and so your area of procrastination, is all the things that have to do with you, your life, your living space, your relationships. And so, you can see implicit in your own question, is the fact that your procrastination problem has got something to do with your relationship with yourself. Also, you can see from your question that your procrastination creates a situation where you are not living fully in the here and now. You have not taken ownership of your life, everything that’s important to you, everything that would make your life comfortable for you, everything that would help you to feel that yo fully earned your life and your relationships and your power, are the things you procrastinate with. So, the question that I have to ask you is, “What are you waiting for and why are you waiting?” my guess is that what you would answer me is that, you’re afraid of something, and so I ask you, “What are you afraid of? Are you afraid of your power? What do you think will happen if you really step into your power?” If you took ownership of your power, of your resources, of you wishes and dreams, what would happen? Do you feel that your power, your wishes, your dreams are just too big for you? and it’s too scary to own them? Or do you feel that maybe if you really stepped into your power, if you really took control of your life, you’d threaten other people and they wouldn’t love you as much? Or they’d think that you don’t need them and they’d stop looking after you? Do you think that maybe if you really stepped into your true agendas, if you really acknowledged who you are and what you want to be, in other words, to get back to the theme that I was talking about earlier, if you really really self-remembered, do you think that maybe you’d be disappointed? Do you think that maybe life wouldn’t be as great as it is when you can procrastinate, put off starting the real things and just fantasize about how wonderful they could be? If you had to boil down all the fear and found out at the core what you really afraid of, you probably find that what you’re afraid of is being alone.

Many people are scared of taking control of their lives, taking control of their power, because they fear that if they stop needing others or if others stop needing them, then they would be alone. You know the saying, “It’s lonely at the top,” somehow when you reach the top, when you’re in your full power, it appears as if everybody relies on you, but you have no one to rely on, no one to fall back on, and that could appear like a very lonely place to be, and so in a sense by not taking control of your life, you keep yourself unconsciously in a dependent position and your unconscious fantasy is that because you’re still needy, because you still have areas where you are not whole, someone else will come into your life and rescue you or complete you, or help you to feel whole, and of course, this is an illusion, because you’re relationships might change depending on how much power you take in your life that when you take power in your life, when you take ownership in your life, when you express your true potential, your relationships change for the better in the sense that you might lose the people who are uncomfortable with you

having your power, but you’ll start to attract to you people who really support your growing power, people who really support the potential of you becoming who you truly are in essence.

Now, to go back on a practical level to dealing with your problem of procrastination, in terms of what I said about fear, look at each task that you’re not completing. Let’s start with books. Now, you’ve spoken about the books not being alphabetised and dusted and sorted, my question to you is, have your books been read? Because alphabetising them and sorting them could also be a way of procrastinating, actually reading them, could be a way of in the sense tending to your books without opening them and taking from them what you need to take from them. People often buy books because they intend to read them in the future and buying book is like buying a hope of having the knowledge if you don’t really intend to read the book immediately. It’s like having a shelf full of hope of all the knowledge that you could acquire eventually. So, when you find yourself buying books as a way of buying hope to have knowledge, you first need to ask yourself why you’re not reading the books now, if you really need the books, but also on a deeper level, maybe you actually do have knowledge within you that you’re not using. Maybe you’re not fully acknowledging the wisdom and the knowledge that you have until you buy books as an external representation of the wisdom and he knowledge you have within. So, ending procrastination on this level is also about owning wisdom and knowledge and taking control of the wisdom and knowledge that you still want to acquire by actually reading the books now and not being so worried about whether they’re in their right order or whether they’re dusty or not.

If you look at the issue of having half-painted bedside pedestals in place being used as is, “because I haven’t had time to paint them a second coat,” your bedside tables, your bed, your bedroom, your home, is so representative of you. I wonder if you haven’t painted your bedside tables, in what other ways do you neglect yourself? Have you neglected your health? Have you neglected your grooming? Because your bedside table is in a sense are very close to you in the sense that they’re physically close, they’re part of where you sleep, they’re intimate part of your world, you space, and I wonder if you’re really taking care of the other intimate parts of yourself like your physical health, like your fitness.

If we take the issue of your Christmas cards, which haven’t been written or sent yet, and these are from 2003 and we’re already in April 2004, I have to ask you how you’re procrastinating in your relationships in general? In what other areas of your relationships are you putting things off? Are you not tending to your relationships in the way you should? And the question is again, what are you waiting for? Are you waiting for those people to come to you? are they relationships that maybe are redundant that you no longer want to maintain? What is it that’s stopping you from tending to your relationships and in what way is that also a form of self-neglect, because maybe you’re depriving yourself of the warmth, the support, the love the feedback, that you could be getting from those relationships as well as what you’re not giving to others that you could be giving as an expression of yourself? So what I suggest you do is think of doing each of these tasks one by one and then just think about doing the task. Sit down and meditate on the task and become aware of exactly what feelings come up for you in contemplating each task and be very aware of what feelings are evoked at the though of doing the task, because those feelings will guide you to what you’re avoiding by procrastinating with those tasks and once you’ve got to what you’re avoiding through your procrastination on your tasks, look at what you’re avoiding within your relationship with yourself. In what ways are you actually being dishonest with yourself by avoiding doing what would be very important to you in the here and now by avoiding taking control of your life and expressing your full potential and stepping into being the person that you really deep down know that you could become? To come back to my theme of self-forgetting, what you can see from our answer to this email is that any behaviour we engage in that does not reflect our true purpose, that does not conform with out true will, is in a sense manifestation of self-forgetting, because such behaviours are just mindless robotic repetitive way that we do things that actually help us to avoid fully living in the here and now, being true to ourselves, owning our needs, our feelings, our intentions, our goals in the moment. And so, any behaviour that is not a reflection of our true purpose is a manifestation of self-forgetting and therefore to overcome that particular behaviour, what we need to do is try and analyse what we’re avoiding by engaging in that behaviour and in analysing what we are avoiding through that behaviour, we start to wake up to our true self, to our true purpose, which we can then hopefully step into and fully take ownership of our lives, of our own personal power and effectiveness.

After this break, we’re going to return to you and talk about the issue of whether to invest or not in a relationship that doesn’t promise to be a sustained one.

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