I call it ‘spinning plate syndrome’ – where everything we know ought to be on our ‘to do’ list, but isn’t, becomes a low-level energy drain. It’s like a load of plates on sticks, that we have to keep spinning in the background, constantly, mentally tending to them, to stop them falling off. Yet never quite ready to pick the plate up, deal with it and put it away.
We all have our own carefully crafted avoidance strategies, when it comes to avoiding doing something we don’t want to do – or are even dreading doing!
The problem is that they tend to wear us out and they never really fix anything. The great news is that there’s a secret – a simple solution to all this plate spinning.
Who’s Running The Show?
When we put something off – when we avoid thinking about it or doing it – we might believe that we are still running the show. But the reality is that we have handed our power over to that ‘something else’.
If we think about it, we probably feel guilty about avoiding it – or stressed.
So we have given ‘it’ the power to change our emotions – to knock us off our equilibrium.
To justify this, we might tell ourselves stories about how difficult a task it really is, about how unpleasant it will be, about how much we are dreading it, about how unnecessary it really is. So although we’re not actually doing the thing, we’re still giving it plenty of attention.
The secret to stopping the plate from spinning is to take action.
When we’re telling ourselves these stories and secretly spinning that plate, we’re stuck in the elements of our experience that are based on thinking and feeling – we’re out of balance. We can go round and round in circles, but nothing ever changes without action.
That action might be as simple as changing a thought or as tangible as actually doing the thing we had been putting off.
All our thinking and feeling – even worrying – becomes like a huge dragon, ready to breathe fire and fear into our day. It’s no wonder, when built up to such a level, that we put off doing whatever it was we were avoiding!
Here’s a 3-point strategy for breaking the cycle.
- Answer – honestly – “what is it about this task that I am really avoiding?”
This might surprise you. Be honest. You’re not looking for ‘why’ or justifications. You’re looking to identify what your block is.
- Answer – again, honestly – “no matter what I have been avoiding, will I feel relief when the task is done?”
Almost always it’s a yes.
- Then choose whether or not to do the job.
If you choose to do it, take the first baby step now, so that the actions are in motion, breaking the thinking / feeling cycle.
If you choose not to do it, assuming that is an option for you, it’s important to cut the energetic ties you had to the task. Imagine a cord, connecting you and the task. Gently, but firmly, cut it. Allow the two ends of the cord to be filled with light, to dissolve any fear. Then allow the task to disappear away from you.
We all have things we avoid doing. Even this morning I answered an email that I had been avoiding for weeks!
But you know what?
Answering the email took 10 minutes and was actually quite simple, in the end. Spinning that plate had been waking me up at 3 a.m. for longer than I care to admit! And it felt such a relief, to have it done.
None of us is perfect.
And spotting our mind’s games can add to the fun of life.
Is it time for you to get back in the driving seat on this one and get ‘doing’, instead of ‘stressing’?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic – questions, ideas, experiences, suggestions – via the comments box!