The Tao of Not Right Now

There’s always that something we need to get on with around the corner, or under the carpet, possibly tomorrow or maybe a little bit later? Somewhere, to the back of your mind, scribbled on a yellow post-it note is a message to yourself saying something important. There’s a short buzz as a wasp flies by and then maybe we go back to scrolling through Facebook for a bit. Time passes. Maybe we’re a year older. What did we achieve? How did we spend our precious life currency i.e. our time and attention? What have we learned?

If you’re highly motivated, setting goals and ambitiously working to achieve them, then this might not strike you as a familiar experience. For some of us this is disturbingly familiar, potentially evoking a deep sense of helplessness. A great many books today focus on the idea of being in flow. Yet, for the most part they focus on the kind of flow you experience when you are living your purpose at the edge of your abilities. Another kind of flow, written about a great deal less, is the one that comes with the art of procrastination. It actually takes a considerable amount of creativity and unconscious mastery to become a Pro-Crastinator: one who is skilled in the Tao of Not Right Now.

Anyone seeking the true Tao of Not Right Now needs to completely set aside having a purpose in life. Definitely do not make it bright and clear in your mind. At all costs it must never be rooted in anything like your deepest passion or anywhere that causes deep excitement in your body and mind. Never, ever imagine what it would be like one year from now in full cinematic clarity, being where you want to be, as the person you wish to become. If you are successful in avoiding all these things, then you can relax into having your attention scrolled and consumed for another year. And what was on that post-it note anyway? And what have we learned?

What I’ve learned as a coach and a business owner over the last 15 years is that there is huge value to both paths: ‘The Now’ & ‘The Not Right Now’. The way they are both useful is through raising to consciousness and owning what is on our yellow post-it notes by putting them out in front of us. This enables us to have conscious choices as to whether we are about to engage our energies fully in an activity, be it business, sports, parenting or otherwise. Or whether our energies will be channeled inwards, to refresh ourselves and increase the quality of our minds and therefore our presence in the world.

On reflection it appears to me that we have two kinds of Purpose, one that takes us out into the World, and one that takes us inwards. Both support the other and both are served by finding our flow in this life more consciously. In doing so we are much more ready to face the challenges of our inner and outer worlds, and also to enjoy more fully their fruits before they pass us by.