The death of deadlines

new moon

I apologise, guys.  My deadlines are officially dead.

I had promised to deliver my first newsletter on the New Moon, 23 July, and the beta test of my first ever e-course today, Thursday 27th.  There’s no specific reason for that: only that it was the first Thursday after the New Moon, and I like Thursdays.

My Sacred Calendar starts each week on a Thursday, because I like the feeling that Saturday and Sunday are in the middle of the week with everything else organised around them.  Instead of something which screams out that work is the meaning of life and everything else is an afterthought, we have…a beautiful balance of work, rest and play.  (At least in theory…)

But I’m getting off the subject already.  I was talking about the death of my deadlines.

It’s not an unusual occurrence.  This is exactly what I do, when I’m starting to freak out at the crazy promises I’ve made to myself and the world: I tie them to even crazier deadlines.  Mailing list?  Consider it done.  Newsletter?  It’ll be in your inbox next Thursday, I promise (even though I haven’t actually figured out how to do it yet).  Build a global movement to transform education, and redesign it to optimise mental well-being, rather than academic achievement?  I’ll have it sorted by May.  No, make that March.

What I usually end up doing is procrastinating right up until the last minute, and then doing one of two things.

If it’s an external deadline, like a presentation for a conference that’s happening tomorrow, a funding bid that’s about to close, or a piece of consultancy work that I have to deliver NOW in order to get paid, I work for half the night (or even all night) to make the deadline…and then collapse with exhaustion.

If it’s a self-imposed deadline, I generally end up ignoring it.  And it happens:  I break my promise.  Again.

Breaking a promise, as we all know from childhood fairy tales, is one of the worst things you can ever do.  If you don’t keep your word to the old witch in the woods, who’s actually a beautiful princess in disguise (ooh, I could write a whole blog series on that Goddess symbolism… oh, wait, I was talking about deadlines…) you’re toast.  Or a frog.  Or something worse.

The more I promise, and the more people I promise it to, the worse it feels.  If I’m a promise-breaker on THAT scale, I’m a terrible person, and nobody will ever want to hear from me again.  Right?   So I don’t need to do that scary thing after all.  It’s too late now anyway.  Right??

Err…wrong, I hope.  Because, now I come to think of it, one of the principles of sacred calendar work is allowing ourselves to surrender to Divine Timing.  It isn’t a question of ‘better late than never’, because it isn’t even ‘late’: it’s Divine Timing.

If I’d written my newsletter on Sunday, I wouldn’t have had last night’s dream.  I can’t even remember what it was about, but I woke up with this line:

We experience life as beautiful when we learn to get out of our heads and re-embody Goddess.

That kind of feels as though it was worth waiting for.

So that’s broadly what my newsletter will be about, when it’s ready.  So will the e-course, Doing the Groundwork: Getting Ready for Major Life Changes.

When will that be?

The newsletter: as soon as I figure out the technical side.  Hopefully in the next few days.

The e-course: I’m aiming for Autumn Equinox, or Spring Equinox for those of you in the southern hemisphere.  But I’m not going to promise anything at this point.

I’ve learned that one way to stop breaking promises is not to make them in the first place…

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About Gemma Burford

I've travelled to many places, and tried on a lot of different 'hats' - academic, designer, teacher, artist, safari guide, holistic healer, NGO director, life coach, writer... But whatever label you put on it, my passion is helping people to evaluate what's going well and what needs to change, envision a future that lights them up inside, and evolve to fulfil the new vision. As CEO of Green Spiral Consulting, my aim is to help your organisation exceed everyone's expectations - especially your own!

Posted on July 27, 2017, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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