Thursday, November 17, 2005

What are you waiting for?

We experience life as a series of fluid states rather than as discrete bits of information, so that certain patterns of physical response are coded into our memories as the sensory correlates of a particular state. When we experience a particular pattern, we make connections to other times we have had the same experience, and often give the state a label. Waiting is a label.

When do we wait? Sometimes we wait when we want something that the world is not yet prepared to give us: we wait in lines, and waiting rooms, and for the mail or email that will bring us a resource or an outcome. At other times, we wait for ourselves: we know what we want and we know that we need to develop a resource or capability in order to achieve it. This is what most of our growing-up years entail: we wait to get bigger, we wait to get more mature, to find answers both outside ourselves and within ourselves.

Do you ever catch yourself waiting? November is a good time to notice waiting: it is no longer what we enjoy thinking of as fall, and we are in no hurry (most of us) for it to be winter. The world is both waiting and getting ready for the long wait until spring brings new growth. Do you know what has you waiting?

It's worth finding out why we notice a certain feeling that reminds us of waiting. Sometimes we are waiting for someone else and sometimes we are waiting until certain pieces fall into place within us. We need to know the difference if we are to move through waiting to doing. At the same time, we need to learn whether this is a time to respect timelines and the need to wait, or a time to break through inertia to action.

If you're not sure what you are waiting for, try this. Think of a time you were waiting for someone else. Notice how that feels. Think of a time you were waiting for something to change within yourself. Notice how that feels. Now ask yourself, which is it this time?

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