Vulnerability check: anyone who knows me, knows I am historically and reliably 10 minutes late to nearly everything. This is not a new quality or trait, it has always been part of my make up. There is just simply too much to do. Or maybe, sometimes I just wanted a little extra lay-in that day. Anyway, whatever the case, it is something I have been working on. It has definitely been the source of tension with friends, and I’m sure I heard a family member grumbling (or maybe laughing) at it on more than a few occasions. And yes, it historically had come up as a sore spot with work. It has even been clear that my lateness was showing up in the timelines and deadlines I set for myself. For example, this website was a beast to build, and while I did everything in my power to have it up and live by June 29, 2019, low and behold I even showed up late to that, rolling in a few days later (which I guess in minute to day ratio is like being 10 minutes late to an appointment). Yikes!
Up until very recently, this pattern had a thread of shame that ran through me, which then in certain situations actually exacerbated the lateness factor to 20 minutes. But you know what, to be honest, I’m finding more recently that the moments when I can Let Go of my fear and shame of being late, and lean-in to the fact that this lateness is reliable, predictable, and often not of much consequence, it has become much easier to actually own the fact that this is part of my make up…and then something really awesome happened.
First, I began to find silly ways to let people know (who did already know) to expect me to be reliably 10 minutes late, “Just a little vulnerability about me: I’m punctually 10 minutes late to nearly everything.” This opened an opportunity for folks to mention their needs such as only having 30 minutes to share with me, meaning if I am 10 minutes late I’ll be missing out on 1/3 of our time together.
Next, I began to find that in the places where it really mattered such as work, for example, as I began to soften the harshness towards myself and lean-in to the silliness of it, I found more often than not that slowly but surely my lateness less of a factor. In fact, it became easier to arrive on time to those meetings. It even built up my confidence when I would tell folks that I am reliably 10 minutes late, but what a surprise it was when I arrived right on time!
And so now, what on earth does this have to do with birth, grief, and death? Great question! Well, nothing specifically, but everything generally. What it comes down to is vulnerability. It comes down to finding those places where you feel sore and raw and don’t want anyone to see–but yet everyone sees (or at least you are fairly sure everyone sees). If it is you, so it is you. I’ll say it again: If it is you, so it is you. That means all of it. Yep, all of it. If the thing is problematic and you want to change it, shame will often exacerbate your stress response to the thing making it even more apparent. Finding your way to hold the thing, honor it, revere it, align with it, and simply let it be while also noticing how to better engage with it, will free up the needed space in your mind-body-spirit to do with it what you wish.
And so while the jury is still out about my being late to my own death, what one can surmise about my world today is that as I honor, hold and radically accept the things about myself that often feel like raw and embarrassing spots, that practice actually makes the process of tending to those things–and ultimately shifting away from some of them–much more accessible. The medicine is in finding in what ways you care to hold on to, and what ways you can open yourself to just Letting Go. So maybe or maybe not late to my death, but still late to launching this website. But you know what, that’s okay. And I still love myself all the more.