Issue 6: March 2012
Welcome to the 6th edition of Perspectives. This month’s article is one I started many months ago, sparked by an overheard comment. I love those moments where something I see or hear gets my internal wheels turning and takes me places I was not expecting to go.
I have that experience a lot in my coaching groups and workshops, and I also see participants lighting up again and again as something someone else in the group shares gives them a new way of looking at something, a new sense of possibility, or a new idea they can use. If you’d like to get your internal wheels turning, I invite you to consider joining a coaching group or attending a workshop. You’ll find listings in my current newsletter, and on this website.
I Fell Asleep Waiting…
Walking down the street recently, I overheard someone say, “I fell asleep waiting…” I missed what they were waiting for as a bus went by, but the phrase stayed in my mind.
I’ve never been very good at waiting. Either I get impatient, or I just feel depressed and low energy. I get stuck in perceiving myself as a victim of someone, or something, else’s priorities, incompetency, inattentiveness, or (insert random judgment word here). Or I get stuck thinking I can’t commit myself to something else because I might be interrupted at any time by whatever it is I am waiting for (which leaves me feeling very cranky indeed).
In the past couple of years, I’ve begun to see into this pattern, to notice how much power I am giving away by choosing to be waiting.
Waiting puts us to sleep to what is here now. We get focused on what we are waiting for, and forget to look around at what exists in the present moment.
One day last October, I was impatiently waiting for my husband, Shawn, to finish up what he was doing on the computer and get his shoes on so we could go run an errand. I was hanging around in the dining room feeling frustrated that I’d stopped the work I was doing and now was just waiting for him, when I noticed that the sun had come out and was shining on the dahlias in my garden. I called over my shoulder, “I’ll wait for you outside,” and went out to admire the yellow flowers against the dark-purpley leaves. As soon as I stepped through the door, I could smell that wonderful after-rain smell, and I noticed a hummingbird visiting the small, red dianthus adjacent to the dahlias, whizzing energetically from blossom to blossom. I walked a bit closer, and spotted an actual pepper (still green, but a real pepper) on the yellow pepper plant I put in months ago in a moment of wild optimism. Then I noticed I was smiling.
Shawn came out a minute or so later, apologizing for keeping me waiting, and I happily assured him that I hadn’t been, and got in the car quite cheerfully to go run that errand.
Waiting is a choice we make, not a circumstance.
We always have a choice about where we focus our minds, hearts, and energy. Whether we are in a bank line, or in traffic, whether we need something to come to us before we can move forward on a project, or can’t leave for an appointment until someone else shows up, we can decide whether to focus on what’s not present, or what is.
What if those “waiting” moments were little sanctuaries — moments of stillness and quiet in our otherwise over-full days? What if they were a chance to look around, or inside, to see what’s present in the moment?
And it isn’t just those little moments, either. Sometimes we spend days, weeks, years, waiting for Mr. or Ms. Right, for the promotion we want, for the right moment to say what we need to say, for some situation to change so we can change.
What if we didn’t have to wait? What if we made a choice to start becoming who we want to be, right now, regardless of what might be “missing” from our lives?
I invite you to take a moment and notice:
What are you waiting for?
What else is here now?
. . . . . .
[There was more to this newsletter — workshop announcements, etc. — but I’ve omitted them since they are no longer timely.]
© Tasha Harmon, March 2012. All rights reserved. You are invited to share this article with friends and colleagues as long as it stays intact, with all acknowledgements and contact information in place. If you’d like permission to reprint this or others of my articles, written permission is required. Please do contact me about this if you are interested. Thank you.