By Suma Varughese June 2013 Is procrastination a reflection of an uneasy relationship with life and the self? asks Suma Varughese Suma Varughese is a thinker, writer, seeker, latent crusader and Editor-in-Chief of Life Positive. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org One of the biggest battles I have waged and am still waging has been with time. I have always had a very contentious relationship with this entity. Having been a habitual procrastinator, I found myself putting off things until time turned tyrant and forced me to speed my pace. I would then put together whatever task I was supposed to do – write an article, pay the bills, file returns, or have a difficult talk with someone – as quickly as I could with little regard to quality, and finally spend more time redoing it. It seems to me that most of us who put off things are, in effect, putting off life. Do we perhaps have an ambiguous relationship with life? Perhaps the reluctance to get on with our responsibilities hinges on an existential reluctance to take up the reins of life? And digging deeper, perhaps it has to do with a less than perfect faith and confidence in ourselves? The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that this makes sense. Those who respond to every demand on their time or energy with alacrity, are generally those who have an unalloyed relationship with themselves. They are fine with who they are. They do not question their ability to perform the tasks given them nor do they spend time worrying about who they are. They are mercifully free of any concern with their own selves. That being so, they can invest the full weight of their energy and focus on living life. My mother was one such person. It seems to me that most of us who put off things are, in effect, putting off life. I never saw her less than fully invested in life – no matter what it brought – preparing a meal for 10 people, entertaining guests, reading her Bible, praying, or toting up her accounts. Everything was performed with a natural ease and order. Without any ostensible effort, the meal was cooked on time, was always delicious, and the guests were entertained. Drama was conspicuous by its absence. My own approach would have included considerable foaming in the mouth and fretting. Of course, my relationship with time has been markedly improving through the work I have done on myself, which also means that my relationship with myself and life are on the mend. I had ended my last column wondering whether a life that included physical suffering was worth living. It is true that an unconditional love and embrace of life has so far eluded me. I often look at the street children on the road or even at their parents and marvel at their resilience and capacity to embrace life. Of course, for all I know, in the secret recesses of their soul, they too may have existential doubts and fears but what is evident to the naked eye is their gusto and engagement with life. Perhaps they, grounded to Mother Earth by their searingly hard life, are at peace with themselves and therefore with life. Of late, I have been afforded an opening into a state of mind that can make even physical suffering acceptable. And that opening is through love of self. I was going through one of my difficult health phases and as usual, frustration, hopelessness and despair visited me. This time, instead of being overwhelmed by them, I was able to give them space and loving acceptance. Eventually, I worked my way through them and retained my equanimity. Pain may have been there but suffering at least was averted. And if I could continue in this vein, I was willing to accept life as is. So, yes, perhaps my battle with time may end with my winning the war!
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