Friday, September 09, 2011

A Time of Waiting

This summer, I have posted metaphors and stories in a effort to condition myself to be more intentional about trusting my stories to communicate what I need to say.  I will continue to create and tell stories in my blogs, but as fall begins (everyone knows that Labour Day is really the final day of summer), I am going to add some more direct discussion of both what works and what stops us.

In eight days, we will hold NLP Canada Training's biggest single event of the year: The HOPE Symposium.  The week before the symposium is a killer: the conceptual planning is done. There are, of course, a million practical details to look after.  But mostly there are two questions:
1) What will the speakers actually do?
2) Now that I've built it, will the audience come?

The only really way to answer these questions is to live in uncertainty until the 17th of September. I can create clever campaigns to promote what I want, and I will have indications, but I won't actually know until the 17th.  This is a time of waiting.

At the same time, I am waiting for my sister's first baby to decide it is time to be born.  I am in favour of babies choosing their own time to come into the world: but that doesn't make waiting any easier.  We are all beginning to jump when the phone rings.

All of us encounter times when what we have to do is wait.  The question is not how to shorten those times: some things are better when they arrive in their own time.  The question is how to live through those times in the way that satisfies us best.

I wish I knew the answer.  Or perhaps I wish I didn't know.

The key, I think, is to be intentional about waiting, to notice that we are doing it and the impact it has on us. I do not merely mean that we need to be mindful (the noticing part) but that we need to wait on purpose. When waiting becomes something we do and not something that is happening to us, we can put some boundaries on it.  This is important, because waiting can seem like a condition that spreads like wildfire, paralyzing us in lots of unrelated areas just because we are so deeply engaged in waiting.

When you wait intentionally, you can be productive in other areas.  Please don't think this means that you will necessarily be distracted or comfortable.  It might mean that: sometimes we can escape into worthwhile activity while we are waiting. But sometimes being intentional about waiting means that we will feel the way we feel while waiting - without letting it stop us from being productive in other ways.

And notice that as you wait actively - with determination if not with patience - all that effort you put into waiting makes sense.  The heightened sensory acuity (some people call it jumpiness), the muscles tensed and ready for action, the urge to move.  These are all parts of how you do waiting.  When you check in with them, you can notice that you are following through on your intention to wait and since you are on track, you can get back to doing something productive.

Like writing a blog post.


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