NANCY G. SHAPIRO

FINDING CALM IN THE MIDST OF CHANGE

The Art of Waiting

June 6, 2015

 

The artistry of waiting lies in discerning actions and non-actions. Imagine sitting on a lavender-blue bench in the late afternoon sun under magenta bougainvillea.

 

You are waiting. Doing your best to back away, to stop pushing toward a wanted result—though the result looms immense and necessary in its urgency, a giant billboard with Now! Now! Now! flashing in neon lights. How dare things not fall into place!

 

Your anxious belly and hamster-wheel brain don’t like this not knowing, not knowing why a situation is stalled or taking its time. It’s so easy to fall into the pit of believing the world revolves around our individual “I”— easy to forget the fact that other people have lives that are filled with impossible-to-know details and unknowns. That organizations and governments and the florist around the corner consist of people living lives full of the galloping momentum of unpredictability.

 

Yet today you remain seated on the lavender-blue bench. A magenta petal flutters down and settles on your knee.

 

Something has shifted inside of you. Barely sensing the beauty of handing this situation over to time and powers beyond your control, you simultaneously know you’ve done everything you possibly could. This is when the skill of thinking outside the box helps immensely.

 

It’s possible that you’re learning the art of intuitive ‘enough already.’ (I like the way it sounds in Spanish—‘ya basta.’)

 

Faith grows stronger each time you whisper to yourself, “It’s okay not to know. Trust expands exponentially each time you imagine a situation that resolves itself more elegantly than what you originally planned.

 

What is better? To push, fret, blame and rage? To become an impatient, whiny, sleep-deprived ogre only focused on what is wrong? (The English have a word—whingy—even better than whiny.)

 

Or to know you’ve done your very best, gifting the situation with strong intention from now on out and honoring the perfection of things beyond your to-do list?

 

For waiting is also a fierce self-care practice that takes infinite forms: walking somewhere instead of driving, erasing everything off your calendar on a usually jam-packed weekend, cooking with a friend, mailing a handwritten thank-you note instead of emailing, or studying that dream subject for a few minutes a day. The possibilities are endless, the insights surprising—the energy, clarity and calmness gained will generate a refreshed readiness and willingness to implement entirely new actions and non-actions when needed.

 

All because you took the time to be quiet and still in the warmth of the sun while sitting on a lavender-blue bench pondering the softness of a magenta petal on your knee—deeply comfortable in the artistry of waiting.

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