What a deadline is for

  1. Every phenomenon in the material world serves a dual spiritual function.
  2. One meets a deadline in order to respect a contract and a relationship, to secure payment, keep a job/ advance a career.
  3. However, there may be a more urgent spiritual need that harnesses the function of the deadline for other purposes.
  4. To meet a deadline might bring a sense of achievement; whether this is, truly, desirable depends on how achievement has previously functioned in one’s life.
  5. Was achievement celebrated as a complement to one’s inherent value (which is unconditional and not contingent on one’s being “good”); was it celebrated above everything else? Did it function to secure love? Did it threaten the loss of love by triggering others’ painful awareness of their “failures” to achieve their own ambitions, those of their soul, or ambitions they also pursued, in vain, to secure love? Was one’s achievement maligned, belittled or appropriated?
  6. Then there may be a need to prove, through blowing through the deadline, that one is not a threat.
  7. I don’t like the usage of the term self-sabotage. It doesn’t help; all it does is generate more harm, more guilt.
  8. These patterns were forged in the logics of securing love.
  9. When one is dealing with this, the best feeling days are the days when the extension is offered, when the editor writes to say, “How are you doing? Do you need more time? If you are agonizing, please don’t.”*
  10. This is not enticement to exploit kindness, but to explore what is happening there, i.e. is there is a kind of redemptive trigger that one can pull only by missing the deadline?
  11. There is a possibility that this brings only shame and pain and results in loss of resources and a broken relationship, a reinforcing of a particular homeostasis: one in which I am a “failure,” where failure is a safety lock against something worse.
  12. There is also a possibility that one will be met with kindness in spite of one’s failure. This is an enactment of a kind of unconditional love/ divine redemption. Look, I have NOT been good, but I have value, I can be loved, nonetheless.
  13. The unpredictability itself — not knowing whether one will be rejected or embraced — might also be a spiritual need more urgent than the material one.
  14. The work I have to do, now that I know all of this, is to find a way to address the narrative within myself rather than externally through the function of the deadline.

*actual recent message from a kind editor