IF NOT NOW THEN WHEN
If not now, then when?
If not today, then
why make your promises?
A love declared for days to come
is as good as none.
These immortal words from Tracy Chapman permeated my childhood as my mother and sisters listened to her album in our small cottage in rural England. They reminded me of how to keep going towards something I wanted, no matter what seemed to be happening in the immediate world around me.
They got me up and off the sofa on the days when I felt too lazy to take positive action.
They helped me find new ways to solve the challenges in my life when everything seemed stacked against me.
They kept me coming back again and again with renewed optimism to tackle the really, truly important dreams in my life. Even when these dreams took years and even decades to achieve.
If not now, then when?
This is a question worth us all asking ourselves on a daily basis. It is a pivot question that sounds simple on the surface of it. Trite and cliché even. But if you really stop and ponder what is stopping you from creating the life you crave, then they can open the door to an epiphany.
In my experience, there are three major categories of holding patterns that, as humans, we fall into. These categories are temporally arranged and each of us has a particular preference for stagnation based on our inner story. If you are reading this, take a deep breath and see how each one feels as you take it in. Which one hurts the most with the truth it carries for your life?
Past protection – Habits formed from history.
Every one of us has experienced tests and challenges in our past. Some of us more extreme than others, but we all carry pain of some kind or another. Most of us have experienced shame, guilt, grief and trauma at multiple points in our history and very few of us ever wish to relive these events and emotions. The resistance to a repetition of past pain has a more potent and powerful hold over our inner psyche than many of us would care to admit. Many of us avoid even thinking about our past and form protective habits in our thinking, feeling and acting that defend us from a repeat of past attacks. Unfortunately, ignoring things never works. It only holds us back from jumping back into life situations that may hold the keys to our inner liberation.
How much are you ignoring?
Present procrastination – Excuses and Energy.
How do you use your energy on a daily basis? How much of your time is spent engaged in doing things that you want to do and being the person you want to be? How many excuses do you have to make to yourself to simply get yourself through another busy, frenetic, distracted day? Lots huh? Welcome to the human family. It is rare to find an individual who has created balance in their life between being and doing. Between authentic passions and social expectations. Are you one of the lucky few? Maybe. Almost all of us still fall into the trap of wasting our precious energy and time being someone we are not and doing things for others out of a sense of misplaced duty.
How many excuses have you told yourself today already?
How many will you tell yourself tomorrow?
Future fantasy – Pipe Dreams and Promises
Then there are those of us who are constantly dreaming of a future that is better than the life we are living today. A time and place (that is always ‘coming’) where we will be happy, prosperous, healthy, loved, at peace – whatever your personal brand of fantasy is, it’s coming in the future. You can imagine it. You can almost taste it right? Possibly. In my experience dreams are the first step of creation. In order to bring these future visions into reality, they need to be coupled with long term, sustained, effort. Dreams need to be more than just promises. They need positive, tenacious, gritty, concentrated, repeated effort again and again and again. They need commitment which is something very few people have the stamina to give.
Do you regularly fall off the wagon of your dreams?
Are you willing to let go of present comfort to create future passion?
The most powerful storyhackers and manifestors I know, combine creativity with commitment. They also have a healthy sense of compassion for themselves when they inevitably fall off the wagon of their restorying journey and have to pick themselves up to move forwards once again.
They don’t let past experiences hold them back, they rarely make excuses for long and they create their future dreams now with positive action taken in the present.
Their studio is their life and they practice getting better at transforming it each and every day.
Where is your life studio?
Are committed to practicing the story of your dreams?
If not now, then when?