You’re standing in line at the grocery store, and once again, you managed to pick the slowest one. You tap your foot, check the time, look behind you and worry about other lines moving more quickly than yours. You’re stuck waiting and there’s nothing you can do. “Arrghh! Just my luck!”, you mutter.
Once in a blue moon, you luck out. You hear the announcement, “No waiting in Line 1.” Yes!!! And now you’re so happy!
With just the tiniest shift in perspective, you could experience this same ‘no waiting’ bliss, anytime, anywhere.
But, first, consider how much of your time is spent waiting.
There are the little things that happen every day. We wait:
- for the bus
- in line at the store
- for a light to change
- for the bell to ring
- for break time
- for a friend to arrive
- for someone to leave
The feeling of waiting is usually drenched in frustration, irritation and berating ourselves and others. This feeling of being ‘stuck’ is not pleasant!
But, if you are already there, and if Being is the most important thing, what is ‘waiting’? You are somewhere… Being, always.
Waiting is not a less valuable time than any other time. It presents us with all the opportunities to challenge ourselves, accept reality and be peaceful and compassionate…with ourselves or others.
And while your days are dotted with tiny waiting events, a lifetime may appear to be gouged with chunks of months or years of waiting.
It’s no wonder that “waiting” is so deeply ingrained in our perspective. We’ve been doing this since we were small children.
Wow, I can’t wait! Life will be great when…
- I can ride the bus to school!
- I get to play on the big kids playground!
- I’m tall enough to ride the roller coaster!
- I can drive!
- I graduate from high school!
Aha, what about right now? Aren’t these those days you were waiting for, not too long ago!
So, what are you waiting for now? A job? A new love? A child to be born? A child to move out? A project to be completed? Or started? Better friends? A promotion? A better schedule? Someone to notice your achievements?
Now is Good Enough for Me
The feeling of waiting is based on deciding that now is somehow not good enough, and that some time in the future will be better. Waiting only happens when there is a lack of gratitude for the present.
Every day is good enough. Every day is filled with challenges and frustrations, amazingly beautiful easy moments and confusing, difficult puzzles. That’s life! Don’t wait for it to change!
Now is the Perfect Time
If you’re ready to stop waiting, consider how can you transform these days into precious moments of Being. Of Being something special. Finish the sentence:
“Now is the perfect time to…”
For example, if you are waiting for a child in your life, this is a good time to do no-kid things like work strange hours, travel and go out at night!
If you’re waiting for a kid to grow up, this is a good time to do kid things. Think about it. You’re going to look creepy going to KiddieLand, riding the little boats and ringing the bell if you’re alone! So enjoy it with your little kids.
Instead of feeling like you’re waiting for something, remember that you are already here! You have already arrived! Do now, what you’d been waiting to do! Be now, what you’ve been waiting to be!
If you are alone and waiting for a partner to come into your life, use this time to tune in to your inner state. Pour on the gratitude and feel yourself filled with peace. Take bubble baths. Crank up the music you love! Now is the time to take that art class, start an exercise program or catch up on your reading. Find ways to enjoy being yourself, without relying on others to cheer you up.
If your life is overflowing with the demands of others, now is the time to bask in their company. Soon enough, this situation will change. Consider how you can be compassionate, joyful, and peaceful in your interactions. What creative solutions can I bring to how I relate to others? Now is the perfect time to develop the skills of managing the balance between nurturing self and others in a hectic situation.
Making a Mini-Oasis
In 2010, I was teaching English to adults in Korea. Most of the teachers and students rushed to arrive just before the 6:50 am starting time. One month, my classroom changed so as I ran to class, I’d pass the classroom of my friend and fellow teacher, Eun Ha.
She taught beginners that were taking their first timid step into conversational English class. Instead of arriving in the nick of time, Eun Ha arrived early so she had about 15 minutes of free time before class.
She spent that time sitting in her class with any students that arrived early. She asked them their music preferences, and searched for tunes that she and her students liked. She and the students could be heard chatting and laughing, with music in the background most mornings.
On our way rushing up the stairs, other teachers and I found it irresistible to pass the room without stopping in. I’d greet teacher and students, and bounce off to class energized. Later I found out that many of her students had rarely if ever talked to a ‘foreigner’ before.
Her carefully designed 15-minutes prior to class helped instill confidence in her beginner speakers, helped her enjoy her morning, and boosted the spirits of all of us who passed.
This is a masterful way to transform the few minutes before class into the ‘no waiting’ bliss of Being!!
- Tomorrow, notice how many times you feel that you are stuck waiting for a few minutes here and there. Make a list of these times. Then consider how you can shift your perspective to fully enjoy these moments. Can you transform a few minutes delay into a mini-vacation?
- Past: “I’m waiting for…” Big Things List
The next day, think about the Big Things in your past. Make a list of all those things that you now have or do…things that you once waited for. Review your list. Consider, did these things make your life happier or easier? If yes, then you can be grateful. If no, then is it wise to pin your future happiness on other similar goals?
- Current: “I’m waiting for” Big Things List
The next day, make a list of the things you are now waiting for in the bigger scheme of life. For each item on the list, consider, did any of these items have similar versions in the past, that you have already completed?
The fourth day, ask yourself, is it possible to view this period as that ‘perfect time’ in your life? Is there something unique about this time, that allows you to Be alone or with others in a special way? Brainstorm ways that you can feel blissful about this time of your life.
“It’s not uncommon for people to spend their whole life
waiting to start living.”
- Eckhart Tolle