photo by liv lane

Oh, brother. I did it again. Got so carried away with the other aspects of my life that I lost track of time – and overlooked the date of my scheduled post here at Your Heart Makes a Difference. Last month, I flew right past the date, only realizing my error days later. And now, here I am typing away on my laptop late at night, having realized the post is past-due. Gulp.

So, I figure I have two choices: panic or be present.

I’m not gonna lie. I first chose Door #1: panic. I wracked my brain for ideas to write under pressure. But waves of guilt combined with tired yawns kept distracting me, making me feel worse. And that sent me into a downward spiral of self-loathing, beating myself up and imagining how deeply I’ve disappointed Louise and my fellow contributors. Within minutes, I was in full-title panic mode – with not an ounce of productivity in sight.

That’s when I decided to back up and choose again: this time, to be present. I took some deep breaths, closed my eyes, and focused not on the deadline, but on releasing the stress from my head…my neck…my shoulders….my clenched teeth. I focused on the sound of my breath and the relief I felt with each exhale.

When I opened my eyes, I felt more whole. More clear. More capable. The missed deadline no longer felt like failure, but like an invitation to engage, to spend my energy writing something heart-based vs. fear-based. To share this process with you; my missteps and how I got grounded again. Perhaps it will help you, too, the next time a deadline whizzes by or stress grabs you by the tail. Letting it eat away at us leaves less of us to give to others.

As I write this, I’m reminded of some artwork I created a couple of years ago, with a message that felt like it came through me, delivered from someplace else:

I am more creative, more productive, more reliable when I am present-minded. Panic gets me nowhere, fast. Thank goodness there’s another choice.