Spring is a time of beginnings. I love beginnings. I love the creative potential living in beginnings.
And, I have a certain uneasiness, maybe sometimes a terror, of completion. This is probably because I confuse completion with ending, death, nevermore, impossible to alter or evolve, ultimate separation.
So I feel I am overwhelmed with incompletions. Paradoxically, this is hardly true as my life is full of completions. I get things done and done well. Yet, I seem to avoid looking at and recognizing the completions and closures that abound in my life.
I am going to use this post as a way to explore my feelings. From my experience as a counselor I am aware many people have similar issues. If you are one of those lucky individuals with a clear sense of process – of beginning, middle and end – I would ask you to post your words of wisdom to share with the rest of us.
What is a way I can reframe “completion” so that I feel safe and alive?
I just looked up the definition and the etymological root of completion. I could write a book on each of the definitions.
From the Latin root I get the picture of “fulfill.”
The dictionary offers several definitions:
- Collected together – ordered.
- Run its course – finished, done.
- Entire, full, to the greatest extent.
- Successfully throw to a receiver – boy, this is important for me as I am a message maker and need to get the message to my audience. If I have difficulty completing I will never fulfill my life’s purpose.
- Make whole or perfect – I am so stuck with not feeling whole or loveable/perfect that I project it on to my life and my work.
There is an insight forming in my soul as I write. It is about hope. Hope keeps me from being aware of all my “completions.” Hope keeps me focused on the future. Completion is a focus on what has been done in the past.
My painful childhood developed in me such a strong sense of hope and an strong identity with hope. Hope was my survival. To survive I needed to endure and hope. I hoped for rescue. I did not plan an escape. Rescue is wishful and passive. Escape is intentional and active. I did not have a plan! I did not have benchmarks of accomplishment. I had hope.
Like Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, I thought sleep (even with all the nightmares) was the way to pass the time until the rescuing kiss touched my lips. Hope kept telling me all I had to do was go to sleep and dream. I did not need to have a plan of action with a beginning, a middle, and an end.
My identification with hope as the path to fulfillment was so powerful that all that I was actually doing to shape my life (when I wasn’t just hoping) seemed like a vague disembodied dream. I couldn’t experience process or completion. I only felt real and my life only felt real when I was hoping.
Hope can be addictive. From a neurochemical perspective, hope triggers the release of dopamine, the pleasure reward neurotransmitter that is the root of addiction. We call addictive, dopamine-producing drugs, dope. My dope has been hope.
How can I give up hope? Hope has been such a good friend. I could whisper to hope all my dreams. Hope just listens and smiles. Yes, the smiles gave me comfort, but what I really needed was courage and a plan. Hope doesn’t change things and doesn’t complete things. Hope does not get things done. Hope just produces more hope or fades and sends me crashing into despair. Hope is my dope.
Now I need to face hope withdrawal. I need to be conscious of process and completion. I need to no longer look at completion as death mere evidence that “my dreams have come true, my wishes have been fulfilled.” Damn! Dreams and wishes just call forth hope. Now I must set intentions for results, take action and live without hope. I can have a life of completions or I can have a life of hope. This should not be a hard choice, but hope feels so good and so familiar, can I really live without it. Yes!!!
My life going forward is shaped by completion consciousness. Each day is filled with getting things done and building more and more awareness of what was completed, what benchmarks were met, what I did. Noting how I move toward completion is an accounting system. I manage my will/intention/completion accounts each day.
Now I understand why taking a course on Conscious Bookkeeping included homework on completion. (I took this teleseminar in February) I wanted to give up hoping I would have enough money and learn how to keep a complete accounting of my financial life so I would know how much money I had. The warmth, sensitivity, and practical wisdom of Bari Tessler-Linden, who designed Conscious Bookkeeping, and the rest of the group on the teleseminar, created an opportunity for me to begin look at my financial challenges from a new perspective – my relationship to completion. Working with completion in this post has led me to the key obstacle to my sense of my daily accomplishments, my addiction to hope.
I am giving up hope and becoming accountable for past, present and future. Learning the art and science of accounting is clearly changing my approach, not just to money, but to counting up and counting on my completions in life.
All the books I have read and all the coaching I have received on being productive and living the life I want, ever included guidance on giving up hope. No wonder I never got results.
I just found this quote from the writer, Rita Mae Brown:
Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts.
And never hope more than you work.
If you are addicted to hope, please write a comment about your addiction and the possibility of giving up hope.
I am so excited by being hopeless, I am going to give complimentary 40 minute consultations to the first five people who email me.