How To Wait

So many things in life take so much time to resolve themselves, don’t they?

There’s so much waiting involved.

Before our work can bear any fruit in the Fall of life (and way before it can show of its colorful petals in the Summer of life) it must first bloom in Spring of life. But even before it blooms in the Spring, it must first take on the shape of a bud.

And, there, beside that bud, you must wait for your dream to bloom.

You must wait. You must wait. You must wait.

Your dreams, your hopes, your aspirations, your plans for the future–all of them must begin with a bud; and, at this “bud stage,” your job is simply to wait.

This is an important part of the process, because if you rush ahead at any moment, foolishly led astray by your impatience, you could miss the moment of blossoming. And what a betrayal to yourself that would be: you’ve spent so many years in the darkness, pondering what kind of fruit your work would yield (sometimes questioning whether it would yield any fruit at all) so it would incredibly unfair to you if, at this very moment, you grew impatient and turned away just as the gorgeous petals of your dreams revealed themselves to you.

Yes, there is a time for action. There is a time for debate. There is a time to move forward. But there is also a time to wait.

This is that time.

Wait. Wait. Wait.

Keep vigilant. Because any moment now… yes… the petals will finally show. The bud of your dream will break open at any moment.

No, you don’t want to miss it, so that’s why you better wait. Keep guard. Keep close. Keep paying attention.

Any day now….

The Waiting Game

Is life just one big waiting game?

We’re always waiting. Waiting. Waiting…

Waiting for the webpage to load. Waiting for highway traffic to go down. Waiting for the waiter to serve you your dinner. Waiting for the test results. Waiting for the train. Waiting for him to call you back after the last date. Waiting for the movers. Waiting for him to propose. Waiting for the bus. Waiting for the acceptance letter. Waiting for the right time to have the baby. Waiting for the laundry to be ready. Waiting for the mechanic to finish servicing your car. Waiting for your parents to come around and finally accept you for being you. Waiting to see if the promotion happens. Waiting for the next job opportunity. Waiting for this economy to finally turn around. Waiting for feedback. Waiting for inspiration. Waiting for the right idea to finally pop into your head.

Waiting for the work to be done already.

Waiting for success. Waiting for failure.

Waiting for the world to end. Waiting for a new age to begin.

Waiting for all this waiting to be over.

How To Wait

Recently, I was thinking about waiting and I started to wonder if I didn’t have it all wrong:

I’ve spent so much of my life waiting for life to catch up to me–to where I wanted to be–that I never stopped to consider that maybe it isn’t life’s job to catch up to me: maybe it’s my job to catch up to life.

So, instead of playing “The Waiting Game” for once I started to do something different: whenever I felt as if I had to wait for something to happen, instead of just “waiting,” I looked around and I’d ask myself:

“Where is life right now?”

Then, finding out where life was currently situated, I quickly ran to catch up to life—wherever it was.

Sometimes life was at shoe store, where I was buying a new pair of sandals. Sometimes life was at my kitchen, where I was drinking a hot cup of chocolate. Sometimes life was at the park where I would catch a glimpse of another cream-colored cloud tumbling across the azure blue sky, a shot of white hot sunlight piercing through its belly. Sometimes life was in my car, where I was stuck in traffic, worried and anxious. Sometimes life was with a friend, who was going through a very hard time and needed me to listen. Sometimes life was hearing about some tragic news on television.

Yes, it’s true: life was not always where I wanted it to be. But as long as I kept reminding myself that it wasn’t life’s job to catch up to me, but my job to catch up to life, waiting around for things to happen wasn’t such a terrible thing.

In fact, I would often forget about The Waiting Game for a moment and I would just live. Suddenly, I wouldn’t be so stressed anymore. I wouldn’t be so frustrated, annoyed, or impatient anymore…

This is how you wait:

You stop waiting for life to catch up to you and, instead, you look around and ask yourself:

“Where is life right now?”

Then you go rushing to catch up to life, wherever it is.

When you catch up to life, you may not always be happy about the situations it puts you in, but at least you will no longer be a desperate, anxious player of The Waiting Game.

Today’s Courage Exercise

Try this: put on a piece of music with a slow and deliberate tempo. Then, begin to write in your journal. It doesn’t matter what you write, just don’t rush it: take your time with every single letter, even if it takes you a full hour to write out a single sentence. Your intention in this exercise is not to finish the sentence. No: it’s to sit with every single letter as it develops organically from “within.”

If you don’t know what to write in your journal, try writing:

“I am The Waiting.

I am not waiting for life to catch up to me; life is waiting for me to catch up to It.

I am The Waiting.”

Try this exercise for 15-30 minutes. Afterwards, you might notice how neat and beautiful your writing appears. The sentences may appear more clear and deliberate. See this as a metaphor for life: if you sit with each passing moment that unfolds in your life, your life will come out neat, beautiful, clear, and deliberate, and, subsequently, The Waiting Game won’t drive you as crazy as it has.

 >>> Blog Updates:

1. As you can see, I’m back with new C2C posts. C2C will be featuring new posts until Spring Break. Hope you all had a wonderful holiday and a Happy New Year!

2. A few months back I took a survey and found at that the vast majority of my readers prefer two blog posts a week. So, I’m changing C2C’s schedule (hopefully for the last time): new posts will only roll out on Mondays and Wednesday’s every week. C2C’s Friday post will be dropped for good.

3. Now that we’re switching to two posts a week on the blog, Words On My Radar will no longer be a weekly series, but a monthly series. So tune in to a new issue of WOMR on the last Wednesday of every month this year!

4. Finally, for those who asked, I want to make it clear: no, unfortunately I did not finish the 3rd draft of my novel by my self-imposed deadline of January 1, 2013. This is because I am still waiting to recieve feedback on my 2nd draft, so I’m afraid I’ll have to recalibrate for the new year. I know, it’s a bit anti-climactic since I traditionally announce progress on my novel goals at the end of every year. But I guess we’ll both just have to wait a little longer for me to reach my next goal. ;)

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21 comments on “How To Wait

  1. kari says:

    Welcome Back! Happy New Year! I really appreciated this post. Thank you.

  2. Nice to have you Back, Ollin. Wish you good luck on your novel. Love your blog!

  3. writebraintrust says:

    WriteBrainTrust has nominated you for a blogging award, the Lovely Blog Award. See http://writebraintrust.wordpress.com/2013/01/07/one-lovely-blog-award-and-passing-it-on/
    We appreciate all you do to on your site to promote creativity, marketing, and publishing in a digital world. Thank you.

  4. taborarts says:

    This is a great modern metaphor for being mindful, thank you for sharing it!

    • Ollin says:

      You’re welcome! I always practiced mindfulness, but not until I saw it this way did I really get what mindfulness truly means.

      I think this is less a description of mindfulness and more a strategy to “trick” yourself into being more mindful. If you can see that life is to be followed and not the other way around, it’s a lot easier to wait.

  5. feralbulb says:

    Dear Ollin,
    Happy New Year to you and thanks for sharing your sheer optimistic outlook on life and providing truly inspiring moments reading your blogs.
    Feralbulb & Rosie

  6. Beautiful metaphor. It’s so true that we get too caught up in getting some place that we forget to look around. I like the exercise too. I’ve found it’s moments where I just write and don’t worry so much that my best writing shows up. Thanks for the metaphor=)

  7. Douglas R. says:

    Haha! Guess you have to WAIT for that feedback. BEAUTIFUL POST!

  8. ilona fried says:

    Thanks for the reminder that life is always where it needs to be…and it is us that need to “catch up” (or slow down) to keep pace with it.

  9. inkspeare says:

    Happy New Year! I enjoyed it much :)

  10. What a lovely post and what wonderful ideas for catching up to where life is right now. Reading it made me sit back midway and take a very deep breath. I think at that moment I was with life. It always feel good! That writing exercise reminds me of a writing guru (I cannot think of her name now, and I don’t have my books with me) who said that first she walked 5 miles in the morning – not fast – and then she would come home and sit with her notebook and pen and write ever so slowly, when a word came she would write it down. (When I think of her name I’ll write back to you!) Thanks, Ollin, and welcome back. I hope your new year of 2013 is wonderfully full of life…and no waiting. -Dana

  11. Sandra says:

    A lovely way to put staying present, in this moment, the only one there is or ever will be, and it is all and enuf. But, of course challenging for time-based mortals.

    Thanks.

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