When Is Waiting What You Need, And When Is It Stalling?

redlightAs I write this, my daughter’s first day of kindergarten is tomorrow. It’s a day we’ve been waiting for for a loooong time now. Over the summer, my husband and I were waiting for a date to close on the apartment in Brooklyn that we had been in contract on since April. And in my conversations with prospective clients, I’ve been hearing a lot of “I just need to wait until…” I’ve got waiting on the brain.

Something I tell my kids all the time is, “Sometimes we have to wait.” (I say it at red lights, in line at the grocery store, or when all the swings are full and my kids want to know why?? Why can’t we go where we want to go or do what we want to do right at this moment?)

There is no escaping waiting. You can be patient or impatient when it happens, but still, the waiting is there.

There are a few ways waiting can play out in your life: On one end of the spectrum you’ve got a total standstill while you wait. On the other, you go in to a frenzy of making plans just so you can feel in control of something, and all that activity that’s done as a result of trying to push away uncomfortable feelings (of needing to wait)  will only need to be changed once X comes to pass.

The problem with having something that is reality-changing being about to happen is that waiting for it can seep into other parts of your life. You can put off all kinds of decisions until that one thing comes to pass. It puts you into a state of waiting for circumstances to dictate your actions. And that is not an empowered place to be, my friends.

That is being a victim.

There, I said it. =)

(And hey, I’ve done my time in victim-land. It has its perks – you get to feel all noble and martyr-y, for instance. But nothing beats being a creator of your own circumstances.)

Here’s a phrase to look for, to see if waiting for someone or something besides you to make decisions for you:

“As soon as X happens, I’ll….”

When you catch yourself saying that, alert! Alert! You’re on a fast train to apathy town.

Here are my best tips for walking that middle path – where you can trust that your desired outcome is materializing, which is my definition of patience, because you’re taking solid steps to add more good into your life and the world at large.

3 Questions to Ask for Empowered Waiting

Take a few moments to get quiet (which means, step away from the computer, the phone, the TV, the radio and either sit quietly or do something absorbing) and ask, what’s true about where I am right now?

Then ask, what can I start or keep going on today, that will benefit me and others no matter what changes when the waiting is over?

Then ask, what about my current situation can I savor or indulge in? Truly appreciating where you are is a recipe for moving up to something even better.

Boom, you’ll have plenty of great information to act on. And you’ll have shifted your focus to where you are, not where you’re waiting to be. And when you fully inhabit where you are, all good things happen. Because (and this is a Tweetable – click the link to post it on your Twitter feed):

“When we take good care of the present moment, we take good care of the future.” – Thich Nhat Hanh via @KateHan 

What are you waiting on in your own life? And what answer(s) do you get when you ask any of the 3 Questions to Ask for Empowered Waiting? I’d love to hear, and so would your fellow readers! Comment below.


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