by Gabriele Conrad, Goonellabah, Australia
I had an amazing experience yesterday: I was editing a text and I could feel how I wanted it to be finished before I went to my day job. Nothing new really, but I was intrigued and wanted to find out more. As usual, I even checked ahead to see how full the remaining pages were and how much text there was on the last page especially – the less text, the quicker I would be able to get it done and send it off.
So I checked to see how much more there was to do. I had already realised over time what a bad habit the counting of pages and checking ahead was, but it was such a strong pattern it seemed hard to crack. Okay, three more pages left in this Word document and I could feel how my head, and mind especially, just about elongated themselves towards the screen and seemingly into the document itself; everything in my head felt like it had come to a very pointy and narrow place outside my body and that this point was hovering just in front of the text and felt very sharp and intense. All my focus was directed along a narrow line leading into the very near future towards an arbitrary endpoint that, if I only reached it, would somehow make me feel better or satisfy something in me. I had told myself many times how silly the checking ahead was and how one document finished really only meant that there were more to come – so why have this endpoint at all, and how could I work without checking ahead? And what was it really doing to me?
Well, I decided to do it differently this time: I finished when it felt right to finish and went on to do something else. Big deal? Well, yes… there were only two and a half pages to go! What about getting things done, the tick in the box and the brief satisfaction of having something lined up in front of me taken care of and moved out of the way?
I could feel how leaving the document at that point and moving on to something else felt great in my body. Shortly after, I went upstairs and I could feel that I felt different. At first I called it floaty because I had no other reference point. Floaty? Was that good or bad? Oh, I realised floaty was the wrong word… it felt light and my body felt light. Then I could feel an expansiveness across my upper back and the freedom of movement and the ease in my body.
All that from leaving a text two and a half pages within sight of the finish line? Yes, one small choice, or call it a scientific experiment – and all that loveliness and spaciousness in my body and the clarity and stillness in my head to follow.
154 thoughts on “Stopping Within Sight of the Finish Line”
It is a big temptation to push through to finish off something, but as you are pointing out Gabriele – we are completing something in a very functional way but not really completing it with the quality the activity deserves. In fact, we are perpetuating an old pattern of measuring what we are doing in a time based lineal way, while ignoring that we have put our bodies into drive in the process and lost the opportunity to enjoy what can happen when we attune ourselves to space.
“I finished when it felt right to finish and went on to do something else”, is a gorgeous feeling without the end goal in mind. We tend to do things with goal orientated or key performance indicators or an end product and that’s how the world functions. In that, we then become tired and exhausted in our bodies. That’s how we are bought up and in that we become consumed in time. Time then becomes the leader when instead, our bodies need to lead with that knowing of when and when not to.
When we are in the flow of things, life is so much simpler than when we are in the doing of things. It only takes a choice to keep things simple, that is it.
I love this, this ‘tick in the box’ thing we often do, satisfies us temporarily, but also someone else, yet the list to tick continues anyway, its forever there.
When we move away from lists, and just move to what is next, it flows and flows, it’s kind of saying, we can give our all to this one thing, and the space is ready for the next, and in that we are not lost in time and in the doing.
Much to ponder of this science…
The world is run by ticking boxes, it is designed in that way to keep us busy and simply separated from our bodies. When we are connected to our bodies, life is different and we allow ourselves to work in and from a different place, space. Now wouldn’t that be a different world to live in and from…
Being in connection to my body allows me to feel when it’s time to stop, revise, appreciate and breath, opening myself to the next stage in a cycle that has no end.
Big difference when we connect to our bodies more and more, and really learning to stop and saying no, is respecting and honouring of the body. It will serve you well, when we respect and loving it, that’s an experiment worth trying!..
When we are not used to feeling spacious, when we are not used to letting go of being governed by the mind and its constraints, then this can feel strange and unfamiliar even though it is our natural and normal way of being. I have much to learn in surrendering to this way of being and returning to my true ‘normal’.
The mind can condition us to do things a certain way, but this may not be what nor how the body is asking to do things. It is important to be aware of this for it can make the world of a difference to the body and how we feel.
Ah Gabriele, a perfect blog for me to read and remind me of the fact that it is OK to leave things before we have hit the finish line so long as the moment feels complete in itself.
Floaty seems the exact opposite to a dead line and as you have shared Gabriele, when we honour our bodies and not our heads we open up to the expansive light that is always available and more.
I am finding so much more satisfying and harmonious when I move from one activity and another as I feel the impulse to do so rather than when the activity is completed. However, if the impulse is not true then the harmony is lost, which provides an opportunity to discover a deeper level of connection.
Completion is not the ending of some ‘thing’, instead it is when the energy changes.
Thank you Gabriele for so eloquently showing how the correct ‘time’ is one that feels true and not one determined by our mind.
Love how the body and the mind know what completion is in totally different ways. This is a great example of how everything in life can be totally redefined when we start letting the body take the lead.
Feeling what is true for us isn’t always logical, but if we follow through our body can feel quite delightful, like it’s in a flow, spacious and beautiful to move in…. imagine a whole, day, week, year, or life living this way!
Yes, our body does know what is best for us, ‘I could feel how leaving the document at that point and moving on to something else felt great in my body.’
Life offers us plenty points to pass by. They are as much important as the movement we are in when we go about them because it is no so much about a specific point but what comes thereafter.
This makes total sense, and I have clocked that there is a difference from when I should put something down as to when I push myself to finish things. This, in particular, happens when I am writing an essay or doing online studying. There is a pointy focus feeling, which compels me to finish to the end even when my body is saying no it’s had enough.
There is a strange kind of superficial satisfaction when we have pushed ourselves to finish something and it is more often than not founded on the anxiety of what the next day might bring in terms of more work. Completion however leaves us free to enjoy the space that has been created and the knowing that time is but a convention and a measurement, not something we need to compete with.
Completion to me has changed recently and this blog has made me stop and consider that. Completion for me has been, pushing through no matter what until whatever I am doing is complete… even if that means my body is aching, I’m exhausted, haven’t eaten properly or gone to the toilet. I’ve had a lot of pictures around what completion means and looks like and how much pressure that puts on me. Now I see completion can mean that something is complete for that time or day and that completing things without compromising myself supports not only myself but everyone around me.
Completion is completion for the day or the moment and not a linear push to get to a finishing line.
‘Yes, one small choice, or call it a scientific experiment – and all that loveliness and spaciousness in my body and the clarity and stillness in my head to follow.’ So God is in the detail. My body always lets me know loud and clear in what quality to do things, a perfect barometer.
Things don’t flow very well or can get quite complicated when I try and rush things, also I feel quite anxious and that affects the quality of everything I am doing then.
We move within the confines of time when we rush and everything feels squeezed and pressured. Things are done to get them done and there is no joy in doing them, only the momentary elation of an illusive achievement.
You describe so aptly what happens when we want something and that something only. It keeps us in a very narrow and compressing line leaving all else out and only this one thing seems to be existing, all the while we are still on the same planet with many many other people around us in the vastness of the universe.
Esther, this is well said – for when we are too focused on the task rather than the body and those around us, then we can be too much like a bull and push ahead leaving damage in its wake.
It’s amazing how one small choice changes everything in how we feel in us and in our space, it shows that details matter, every little one.
When all that we care about is ourselves, we try to save time we work for others. If we care for all, you make sure that the quality of what you deliver is the one that is needed.
Such a good point – what is this delineation anyway, working for ourselves or for others? Could it be a falsity that takes us further away from ourselves and can never truly deliver for self, or others?
I really love this – letting the body decide where the endpoint is, let that be the leader and not the head, for a change.
The wisdom of knowing when we have done enough regardless of how close we are to the so-called finish line is what the power of completion is all about.
And then every moment offers the possibility of completion and there is no kidney drain.
As I write this I deeply sense how in not honouring our body we begin to drive it to go/do what it is not at that moment prepared for. Could the choice to live against what our body feels be behind the level of exhaustion we have in our world today?
Love your reflections here Leigh – I certainly feel that living against what our body feels is a large contribution to the exhaustion we feel in our world today and how rampant exhaustion is in general in our society.
How often we confuse a push to ‘get something done’ as meaning completion when, if we have a sense of the truth of the word ‘completion’, it is so very different.
Great point, the understanding of the term ‘completion’ – we tend to race ahead and consider completion to be the tick box end of something whereas it is the completion of a moment, however long and irrespective of whether a project, assignment or task completes or not.Completion is energetic first before it is a result.
But this is how we are taught….to visualise the finish line and push yourself just that little bit further to get that dangling carrot. But what ‘they’ never tell you, is that, it’s a damn carrot….it’s not even cake or something exciting. This I find significant…as we trick ourselves into believing this dangling carrot is going to give us some level of satisfaction. But have you ever noticed how insatiable we are with that kind of satisfaction? we knock one thing over only to look for the next challenge, and on and on it goes. I’ve tried and tested this experiment myself where I have stopped something so close to the finish line, because I realised how much drama I was playing into by finishing it. Sure, completion is super important but not when it comes at a cost like for example, if I’m running late because I couldn’t stop what I was doing, and then usually as a result, I realise I haven’t made my lunch for work or I have no petrol and need to stop on the way etc, all of that has a huge impact on my day as I’m rushing from the get go. This is hugely draining, and allows no space at all to feel satisfied with the job completed earlier, because now there are several other things all waiting in line. Where as, if I just did what I could within the time I had allocated and then moved on to my next task and so on without all the pressure, my day would look and feel completely different and chances are I’d still have some energy in the evening after work to finish what I started.
This is very insightful and reflects to a T what happens when we chase the dangling carrot of finishing something at all costs – and these costs can be very high.
There is a big difference between driving ourselves to finish and feeling when something is complete for now, it might not be complete on the temporal level (there may be more to do) however I get a sense of when something is complete for now… until I return.
This kind of organic and body-felt completion is very different to the mind-full one which has us believe that we need to reach a certain point, no matter the cost to our health and wellbeing.
I can really relate to wanting to get forms filled in as quickly as possible, and I love how you just put it away with only a couple of pages left to do, when we continue with things just to get them done do we ever stop to feel the quality in which we are doing them, really great how you knew when to stop.
This is common amongst so many people, and is a pattern I am learning to let go off, wanting to get the ‘job’ done and complete, ‘All my focus was directed along a narrow line leading into the very near future towards an arbitrary endpoint that, if I only reached it, would somehow make me feel better or satisfy something in me.’ I love the detail you have explored this with in the blog.
What a feeling Gabriele! A very extreme difference and a scientific experiment that should be journaled for if we all take note, the simplicity being presented here in trying to do too much and the difference between being overwhelmed or feeling expansiveness – a lesson in choice from the body or the sharp-pointed mind.
Great summary of what we allow to happen to the body and our quality when we have these set and mission-driven expectations of how much we need/expect to get done in a certain time frame. It’s a killer of joy and true engagement and presence, with our ourselves and whatever we are working on.
I so appreciate your observations and learnings from life experience on this blog site Gabriele…
I am still ‘unravelling’ myself from what I would call a deep layer of nervous energy that gets involved when there is something to complete and be done – especially within a particular time-frame (when ‘time’ already appears to be uber-full…).
We have so much to learn from ourselves in the way we respond to life, what is asked of us, and what we say yes to.
There is a huge message here for us all, and a question for us each to ask of ourselves as to how often we push through to ‘finish something’?
I’ve just noticed how much control can be wrapped up in needing to have something completed. I can see where I’ve pushed myself and pushed others to hurry up under my time frame to complete something. I am learning to allow things to unfold and complete in their own rhythm instead of me getting in the way.
We are trying to control time which is not possible at all as there is, in truth, no thing such as time other than the movement that marks our circles around the sun.
Maybe things are only ever truly complete when we bring the all we are to it, as there is a completeness to ourselves, a wholeness that we rarely tap into which is what the world really needs to feel and see. Once we all can live the all we are we complete being here. Yes, we must honour the requirements of temporal life but for how many thousands of years have we been finishing things, yet now find ourselves no different in an evolutionary sense?
Great point – we keep on finishing things going nowhere and driving ourselves deeper into the quagmire of exhaustion and discontentment.
Oh how I can relate! I love this blog post Gabriele. ‘…one document finished really only meant that there were more to come…’ This is an awesome realisation for me…of course the sooner we finish something, the sooner the next thing is there, ready and waiting. It never ends, so why on earth am I always rushing?! Much to ponder here.
I can so relate to your blog Gabriele. I am often driven by the finish line, ignoring how my body feels and the quality of what I do is then compromised. You inspire me to listen more to what feels true and follow my body’s cues to allow space for appreciation and expansion.
I know this narrow feeling with a complete focus on getting the job done, as if there is no way out possible.
Getting yourself out of this position needs a movement, a movement to honour the body and I agree just this one small choice gives back space and openness, it brings you back to you, something to deeply appreciate.
Interesting that your comment arrived just this morning when I felt to apply the same principle to my workout in the gym; I slowed down and didn’t go for speed and number of repetitions but stayed at an even pace. I can now feel that my body has actually ‘worked out’ at a deeper level and that there is a sense of fullness and completion about the whole experience.
That’s was lovely to read, I too get myself caught up in the finish line. Its so true whenever I try and get ahead of us, it only causes me more delay and tension in the body. But when I just allow and listen to the flow, without any agenda to finish, time seems to expand and my body feels space and expansion.
Loved re-reading what you have here Gabriele. It is empowering to realise that whenever we invest in an agenda, be it to finish something at a certain time or otherwise, we instantly forgo being led by the quality of our Soul and being in rhythm with our universality, and as such moving in honor of our essence. When we forgo this and instead are focused on the outcome, we reduce ourselves to be a linear projection of our mind through which we move in a way that is contracted and hardened and far from who we are, resulting in the anxiousness we feel. Thank you for this powerful and supportive reminder of how honoring and being guided by our connection within is where our power truly lies.
Great summary – being agenda driven renders us totally powerless and sells us short.
Amazing! I love your comment Carola, what you have shared is deeply inspiring and an antidote to anxiety. Beautifully expressed from your soul.
Agreed Gabriele. Carola this is an astute observation. For how often do we find ourselves losing ourselves in a particular task or area of our lives – losing our steady centre, and ability to actually respond from that centre with what is needed for the task, communication or activity at hand? It may be in our work, a particular job, our family life, relationships… but there are areas where we reduce ourselves, and it is here that our awareness deserves to be brought in life – as to why it is that we find ourselves driven, in heightened nervous energy, anxiousness, or any such thing, when it has such an impact upon the state of our being.
Very astute observations and well worth pondering on as the impacts of raciness and a jack of presence affect our mental and physical health.
I love that when you let go of allowing yourself to be controlled by the constructs of time you were embraced by an expansiveness to confirm that being a prisoner of time and targets is not the true way to move through life…. and that the choice is always ours to make. Very cool.
This is great to read and feel that it sometimes is just okay to stop early, I feel often when I stop before something is finished that I am not doing it right. But it is in observing what happens in our body that brings the trust in having this feeling, it is okay to stop early when it feels right in our body. We are not less, but more honouring of our true rythm.
I agree, we are certainly not less when we stop when the body tells us so; quite on the contrary really. And what quality do we work in when we keep pushing ourselves to finish something anyway?
I know that too, that feeling of wanting to complete or finish something while my body tells me in clear signs that I have to STOP. To me it is a habit I have been taught when I was young, “come on, you have to complete your work before you can go out and play, you can do it!”. It is like that I have learned that I need to earn that moment for myself and that it is not naturally there for me to choose it.
That feels like a veritable trap – having to earn a STOP moment by pushing ahead, way past the body’s natural impulse. In my experience that STOP moment then gets easily put off and put off some more because enough is never quite enough and there is always more to do.
Exactly Gabriele, then it is never enough and can always be better as in that mode of being there is never a satisfaction from within but instead we are to the mercy of the tap on the shoulder or approval of somebody else.
I know this feeling very well that you describe here Gabriele as I know this pattern too of creating a goal to reach and then feeling great having completed it, but the body becomes tight, it is like all the particles are being focussed in a more condensed way and I feel rushed, which means anxiousness comes in whether I will manage in time. It is very limiting and worth practicing to come out of as it takes the joy and lightness away from me.
I just loved what you have shared Gabriele, it can be applied to any task when the need to get to the finishing line is there, it was great what you presented yourself with in your observation ” Yes, one small choice, or call it a scientific experiment – and all that loveliness and spaciousness in my body and the clarity and stillness in my head to follow.” beautiful to feel thank you.
Totally agree – when it’s about getting to the finish line, we lose ourselves and create a vacancy in the body
Gabriele I am so used to pushing through even if I can feel how exhausting this is. Your amazing blog is such a wonderful reminder for me that it is more self loving to stop this very strong self harming pattern.
It really is a struggle when we push on and through – and all to momentarily satisfy a mentally based need that is founded on the ideal of having to finish things by a certain cut-off time, utterly self-imposed of course.
“Yes, one small choice, or call it a scientific experiment – and all that loveliness and spaciousness in my body and the clarity and stillness in my head to follow.” Gorgeous Gabriele. I did this yesterday, nearly completing my tax return information – (not my favourite task!) – but then deciding to leave it for awhile. But I felt so much better than struggling on to finish it, whereas today I am fresh and will finish it more easily. Love the synchronicity of re-reading your blog today……
Reading this made me laugh. I had just a few days ago decided that always working to the finishing line, put unnecessary pressure on myself and for no reason. It occurred to me to do it differently and put time limits on specific projects and move on to something else. Perhaps, if I do I’ll get that lovely floaty feeling you had.
‘All that from leaving a text two and a half pages within sight of the finish line?’ Wow when you put like that Gabriele, it really is a no brainer – I will bear that in mind next time I find myself in a push to override my body …
Gabriele, what a fabulous experiment, and one I can so appreciate. I can be the queen of task completion, yet the questions I’ve often felt and your blog poses, is what is actually needed right now and how is the quality of my body – the expansiveness you speak of on leaving where you felt to leave off is huge, despite almost being done, well done for doing this and it’s a huge lesson for me to see and feel once again that it’s about quality first and not the end product. We always come back to the body and how it feels and what is enough in this moment, not what is enough to complete it now, and on seeing this I can feel in this approach how we let go of pictures of how we think it should be and instead feel and allow what is there in that moment. Simple and yet quite profound, I will be experimenting some.
This is such a revealing blog Gabrielle and highlights the pressure we daily put on ourselves!
All loving choices are actually that simple Gabriele, they give us that great feeling of freedom and relief in the body while at the same time we let go of the old habits that are not supportive to our being at all, as we allowed them to become part of our lives because we got some recognition or reward from it in the past.
Wow, I love this, thank you Gabriele. This is a great observation and you describe it so perfectly what happens if I try to finish something, it is like being sucked into a narrow tunnel where only the light at the end can make me happy. But this is not true, it is actually agony in the body to be squashed into this narrowness. And how simple it is to just stop and to decide to not go this way but take another path that allows me to breathe.
I completely agree. Many things need a little break before they are wrapped up. That break is very supportive. It is the opposite of procrastination or going into delay when we are almost finished, which is very harmful.
When I push myself to finish something just to squeeze it into the time-frame I have allotted it, then invariably the quality of the task is diminished – and oft times I have to go back and do it again.
Gabriele, I love what you have shared in your blog and in your replies. I am just as inspired by your process. The level of attention and awareness to the details is incredible, your reading what “checking ahead” means and then to move to experiment and come to a realization and feel what it means in your body. Changing an old way/pattern by the authority and wisdom of your body. This part I love the most…. Blessing us with the transparency to share this. So we too can be blessed with the many lessons this unfolds in all of us.
I love the comment above about not just striving to tick the box, but understanding the potential of what that box offered. It feels to me like we can spend the day ticking boxes, or we can spend the day experimenting, and discovering what evolution is there for us in each thing we need to do… and perhaps that means learning to leave things unfinished!
Rather than saying that I am leaving something unfinished I feel it is more about taking something as far as it needs to be taken at a particular time, knowing that I will come back to it.
When we get things done with only the tick box mentality in mind it boxes us in to the mere specifications and expectations listed on the outside of that particular box which is more often than not well short of the potential that box holds inside if actually opened and understood.
I had never thought of it in that way – to open and understand what the box holds rather than just ticking it and rushing off.
This decision-making we do in relation to arbitrary cut-off points and targets reminds me of what half the planet fixates about in the run up to Christmas and New Year – getting things done and dusted by a year-end date that seems convenient, but may not necessarily be in line with the natural flow and order of things. This ‘end-of-year-itis’ is a case of mind over nature and something that causes us tension in our bodies when our imposed expectations aren’t met.
Great point – arbitrary cut-off points that might satisfy the mind momentarily but totally go against our nature and any semblance of a healthy rhythm.
Love this blog which I can very much relate to. Setting myself a goal and then the need to complete the task even when that means overriding how I truly feel. This has given me an ‘ouch’ moment and a wake-up call to how much disregard I am in by doing this. Thank-you, Gabriele.
It is as though we consider all the push and drive as a normal way to be and even though it may be ‘normal’ nowadays because we are more or less all doing it, it is definitely not natural at all and also goes against our body.
When I had watched TV before I went to bed, 10 plus years ago, if I was tired I would just turn off what ever I was watching and go to bed regardless of how much time was left till the end of what I was watching. Today that pattern is well ingrained with everything I do, I can only think of life or death moments that can over ride the ‘it has to be done to the end now at all costs’. By not being tied to the end… the space always seems to be made available for everything that is needed.
That is amazing and such a loving and supportive discipline – I have always been driven by the need to finish things and tick them off my list whereas you had that insight and knowing a long time ago and have been acting on it ever since; very inspiring indeed.
This is AMAZING, so many times I push just a little bit further to cross over a finish line. It never ever feels great – I’m absolutely going to have to give this a go 🙂
This is a science experiment worth trying Gabriele, to not keep pushing yourself even when the finish line is within sight, which can impact on the body and also reduce the quality of the work your completing. Thanks for this beautiful and simple reminder – I shall enjoy trying this for myself.
Wow thank you Gabriele you have described this so well – I can really relate to going into my head and pushing to get something done and ticked off rather than allowing my body to show me when the right time to stop is and feel the spaciousness that comes from this. I am inspired to experiment today and see where I end up…
Your sharing has brought me a different kind of ‘completion’. It doesn’t have to be a task in hand to be finished and marked off – I, my body could feel and tell when it has had enough and call it a completion – for now.
Yes, and that creates a totally different rhythm and a lot of space in any one day.
I love your science experiment Gabrielle. With the finish line in site sometimes you just need to stop and catch your breath before beginning again and completing a task – and that goes for any task we do.
I agree – just because a finish line is in sight doesn’t mean we need to lose the sight and feel of ourselves and make that finish line more important than our body-mindedness.
So simple and beautiful. “I could feel how my head, and mind especially, just about elongated themselves towards the screen and seemingly into the document itself; everything in my head felt like it had come to a very pointy and narrow place outside my body and that this point was hovering just in front of the text and felt very sharp and intense” – This really made me laugh as it feels so familiar to me!
Me too Fumiyo she paints such a great picture of a familiar scenario.
I also get days like that where I look at the end time when I am writing in the morning, in fact I am doing this one right now but it is early so there is not a real end time looming. There are some days that when the sand has almost run out of the hour glass the quality can suffer. Now, I have found if the space I have allocated to my writing has been altered because my body required an extra half hour of sleep I have allowed for other opportunities in my day to make some space if I need it. After a lifetime of not truly expressing anything, I am finding I a lot to express… I will make the space to express and not express only in the space allowed.
Hurrying along because ‘time is nearly up’ (crazy in itself because time doesn’t really go anywhere) is a trap I also repeatedly fall into; the result is always that I have to alter, edit, amend or correct what I was doing later because it was more important to finish the job than focus on the quality I was doing the job in.
This is also my experience Gabriele. When ‘I have my eye on the prize’ so to speak, thats literally where my focus is, I not only lose sight of the bigger picture but, the expansive beauty and grace offered by my choice of quality in every moment also disappears.
There’s something so wholesome about your approach and dedication to making space to write and express Steve – I really like it 🙂
I definitely have to try this myself – it shifts the focus from judging ourselves by the tasks we have achieved rather than the energy we choose to do them in. Great insight, Gabriele.
It is definitely worth a try: rather than being driven and enslaved by yet another task and its enforced trajectory, the steadiness and presence to keep feeling what is truly going on and when it is time to stop, continue or move on to something else. We are made to work, but the quality we work in is more important than the quantity; the latter will take care of itself when the former is being attended to.
‘It shifts the focus from judging ourselves by the tasks we have achieved rather than the energy we choose to do them in.’ What a totally different way to look at life, if at the end of the day I consider the quality I lived it in rather than what I did and what I achieved, I wonder whether my daily reflections would alter.
Thank you Gabriele, I really loved what you have written.It brought tears to my eyes how this one small choice, to stop when the body wanted to stop, brought so much love and joy in your body.
A small choice it might have been, stopping in sight of the finish line, but also a huge shift away from ignoring the signals and pushing on and pushing through – and what for when the simplicity of the body is always available and continually communicating.
Gabriele, I just love your example here of ‘finishing’ versus ‘completing’ and the spaciousness that this creates in the body. Feels wonderful. You show us that when the only thing that ‘rules’ us is an inner trust or impulse that is honouring of our body, as opposed the usual tick box that drives us to abuse it through push, tiring or exhaustion, then we break free from the chains of being owned.
That is a great point, contrasting ‘finishing something, no matter what’ and ‘completing something by listening to how that truly feels’ and then tracking the difference that makes by how it feels in the body.
I like that Zofia.. Finishing versus completing.
Gabriele I can absolutely relate to what you have written in your amazing blog. I had learned from my parents to finish things before I can start a new project and this learning was somehow ingrained in my body. To leave something not finished was hardly possible. But since a couple of weeks now I have noticed that I do exactly that – leaving things unfinished and I have to say that this is a great joy for me to do so. It is like I have left a prison in which I was trapped for so long.
That’s such a big lesson that so many parents teach their kids ‘ to finish one thing before you begin another.’ Where did this lesson come from? And is it really true?
I agree – if finishing something means that we have to drive ourselves hard, it is not worth it, no matter how much the world might applaud us for it. Things need completing, that is another matter altogether and will happen so much more easily and joyfully when we don’t push through regardless of how we truly feel.
This following part of your sentences got me Gabriele: “. . . if finishing something means that we have to drive ourselves hard . . . ” as this “driving ourselves hard” was exactly what was important for my parents and then for myself, as this was the assumed feeling that we did a good job! That is so ridiculous and I am so glad that I have exposed this very abusive behavior.
Thanks Gabriele, you have challenged the long held belief I have stored away that by leaving things that I am ‘doing’ completed, leaves room at the end. By living this old belief meant that I would have time for me! What you have shared proves that by listening to our body and trusting that, using your example, meant there was an feeling of ‘Space’ at the end, openness, true connection and presence. Our body ‘rules’. The offer of ‘respite’ at the finish line is a myth.
I know this one so well! Thinking there will be time for me at the very end and then of course, there never is. It just doesn’t work when we override how we are feeling.
This is really lovely Gabriele. I relate very much to that push to get to the finishing line just to tick something off the list. It can feel like I’m pushing myself away when I do this and a sense of overwhelm. I’ve found going on to something else can be helpful too. Thank you for sharing.
Moving on to something else can be helpful especially if it is something tactile like doing some housework is what I have found also. Anything to break that intense momentum.
I love this Gabriele, I can relate to exactly what you are sharing. Chasing the finish line with all the tension that it invites into the body to achieve this result, as this has been a strong pattern of mine as well. This is such a great question –‘so why have this endpoint at all’? – why not just be with the point that we are at, as this is everything and where, in fact, we are. I am learning and realising that there is no end or beginning, just the moment we are with. And when we choose to be with this in full I have also experienced, as you described so beautifully, that – ‘all that loveliness and spaciousness in my body and the clarity and stillness in my head to follow.’ – feels so natural.
After reading this blog yesterday I went for a walk and started to notice myself thinking about the end point of my walk and what there was to do after that. I pulled myself up on this and at that moment our dog stopped in his tracks and would not walk any further; most unusual when the walk had just not long begun. I stopped too and felt into what this meant. I re routed our walk and the energy shifted too, telling me that my thoughts and the actions that they propel have a far greater impact than I am aware of. Everything matters is not a throwaway line, it is one of the most fundamental truths.
Yes, it shows that everything does matter, no matter how much it might suit us to think that it doesn’t. Just makes me wonder what your dog innately knows and could feel so clearly that it made him stop. This is definitely a different kind of intelligence to the version of intelligence we are used to from the mind.
I’m still feeling the impact of the end point tension Gabriele, it has stayed with me and been supportive over the past day; much appreciated reflection for me!
This is a great learning for me as I feel myself striving for a finish line often. Thank you for sharing your experience when you just stop when you feel to.
Yes, there comes a very defined and clear moment when it is time to stop, either stop completely or move on to something else; and when I override it, I feel exhausted and drained as a consequence.
This is awesome Gabriele. I find myself sometimes pushing to finish things as if that will satisfy something in me, when like you said, it will only be replaced by what is next. It’s ridiculous. This is a beautiful reminder of the gorgeousness I can feel from letting ticking boxes and the need to complete things go.
Yes, when the need to complete things is at the expense of the gorgeousness, then there is something wrong with our rhythm and the way we apply ourselves to what is needed.
Beautiful Gabriele! It is not always easy to stop before the end when the end is in sight. But you are totally right, it is not about finishing something but about keeping the connection with your self and your body first and foremost.
And keeping the connection and being present also means that I honour what I am doing and do it in the quality that it deserves to be done in – otherwise, why do it at all? And this is certainly a work in progress requiring ever more fine-tuning and dedication.
Definitely, I really appreciate these two comments above. They presume a lot. It is surprising to see and difficult to accept how our entire society is focused completely on the end result, the goal, getting the thing done…it’s so linear…as long as you get it done, no matter how it was done, and if you nearly sabotaged yourself in the process. And the whole of humanity is doing things like this; it is accepted and what is desired, and who cares, as long as you finish the work? I feel so much more needs to be shared about this fine-tuning and dedication. To me it was a blessing to read these two comments this morning. Thank you.
This made me smile Gabriele, as it reminded me of how often I seem to “race” myself through life. Everything at times has been about getting something done in the quickest way, or before someone else and it’s amazing to stop and feel how much I have pushed myself in life. Reading your blog has reaffirmed what I have been feeling for a while, that perhaps doing things differently, not racing or ticking those boxes but actually honouring myself and being in the moment is a truer way of being. Now that is something worth committing to.
The power in such simple choices is amazing, thank you for sharing this experiment. I can relate to that intense, heavy, straight lined sight (Like those eye flap things people sometimes put on horses to only see in front, called Blinders) Getting caught up (Blinded even!) in reaching that end point and only then can I rest. I tend to have a constant running to do list but after reading this blog I am inspired to give this a go!
There is true magic in allocating a certain amount of time to a particular task and then leaving it for the next assigned opportunity; it creates a lot of space and honours that everything has been done that needed to be done. And it stops any self-condemnation and bashing in its tracks.
You are right: wearing blinkers does make us blind to what is truly going on, they allow us to keep going thinking that everything is okay when in truth it is not and while the body is telling us otherwise.
Everyday experiments…I love this, why not try something different and see how it feels?
Awesome, Gabriele I agree it is amazing how little everyday choices can have such a massive impact on our bodies, thanks for sharing…
This is great – thank you very much Gabriele.
Loved this insightful sharing Gabriele, will apply it and test it for myself… thank you.
Yes, that’s been my experience as well. Anytime I stop feeling it exhausts me, and having a target certainly does that.
Great point you make Gabriele – ha ha.
Thank you for taking the time to share such a ‘small’ thing that feels momentous for your body and the state of being you were left with as a result of choosing to stop short of the finish line.
Thank you Gabriele, I have been telling myself this so often, that I don’t need to finish each thing that I am doing. That listening to my body first is what allows the body to be free to choose and not the mind. As soon as my mind comes in to override this first impulse… just as you say there is this narrowing down to this point to finish. The way you have written it has allowed me to feel it to another level. Every time I start overriding my body and let my mind take over to finish something I will come back to your very clear words.
Thanks Alison, I love your reply it really resonates with me.
This is a very clear and great description of something I experiment with quite often when I am in a ‘drive’ mode, that is, when I am not in stagnation / procrastination / dullness… It is when I get so focused on something that I KNOW is hurting me in many ways… but I insist, insist. I have always identified it with an issue of ‘letting go’… at the end, when my body is exhausted… I ask myself… Why I am doing this to myself? Why I am so stubbornly addicted to get something done, when I am in the drive mode? It gives me a ‘high’ feeling, and something that my mind can go back over and over again so I can have a reason to like myself more (a secret recognition), and that also gives some meaning to my ‘doing’ in life, crazy! But then you put it so simply: just a ‘small choice’, and all the hardness, lovelessness can fade away… We too are empowered. Lovely! I will remember your experience / words. Thank you.
You describe so well how damaging and tight the driving force is that tries to make us persevere when we know only too well that it is to time to stop and either have a break or move on to something else.
Thank you Gabriele for your words of wisdom. Methinks it’s time to conduct some similar scientific experiments on myself (however I won’t put that on a list of things to do and tick off).
Lovely blog Gabriele. This is the loving discipline in play. I appreciate the way your piece demonstrates how ‘you’, and the energy you are in, are more important than the ‘task’ at hand. Then, it naturally follows, the quality of the task will be so light and expanded. What you have written also highlights the truth that we are going around in circles (and not in a line), and that, as you have written, there will just be another text after that one is finished. So why not bring all of us all the time to all that is there to be done (which I know you are saying). I have been experimenting with this same thing, especially around the endless form-filling out that is happening in my life at the moment. This presence has re-routed me from the path of overwhelm and frustration and getting it done. Instead my forms will be an imprint of love. Thank you Gabriele.
Yes Lyndy, I can connect with the same feeling in my body about finishing or getting to the end point. Your point about going around in circles, felt reassuring because in truth we are going nowhere so today I am going to practice bringing all of me to all there is to be done, beginning with completing this comment! Awesome reflection from Gabrielle and your self.
Hahaha – I am so busted and totally relate to this. I have started to do the same thing though and allocate a certain time that feels right to work on any of the many projects and then stop when the time is up – as unfinished as it may be – to take it up again at a different place in the cycle. I noticed this helps me too to not clamp down and to create a flow with all of what is asking to be attended to. THANK YOU again for this very insightful article.
I love it Gabriele, I use the term ‘pointy headed’ when describing the exact same thing. l’ve never heard it described so precisely… thank you. 🙂
Great reminder to us all Gabriele about how it is so easy to go into getting things done, ticking the boxes as you made reference to. I am going to experiment with this today, especially at my day job and get a better sense of just how much listening I may or may not be doing with my body so thank you.
Thank you for the reminder and the support it is to share these small but by no means insignificant daily observations Gabriele.
Yes, in a world “where everything is everything” (Serge Benhayon), every little detail counts and adds either to an ill or a great rhythm.
Dear Gabriele, I can sooooo relate to this blog… from the pointy feeling when focusing on finishing a written project to the spaciousness when allowing a gentle moment of choice to change my experience. I could never have captured it in words – probably never even attempted it – so thank you for sharing your words, as they also then become mine.