We’re always waiting . . . waiting for that job promotion and pay raise, waiting for that big break, waiting for the weekend to come, waiting for the summer weather to arrive, waiting for the test results from doctor, waiting for our divorce to go through, waiting in line at the supermarket, patiently waiting to get home as we sit in bad traffic, waiting for the kettle to boil, waiting for our ankle to heal, waiting for retirement, waiting for everything to get done so that we can settled down and relax.
And then the thinking. . . thinking about what we have to do next while we’re showering in the morning, worrying about the company meeting while driving to work, anticipating our lunch break, chatting away with a work cohort through-out lunch, watching the clock at our desk, pushing ourselves at the gym, thinking about what to have for dinner on the drive home, wolfing down our dinner while watching TV, checking our emails for long-awaited replies. Yes, we have our schedule, our routine, our work-out regimen, our plans, and our goals. We’re on top of things. We read the latest self-help books to learn, to improve ourselves, to become better at time management and visualizing our dreams. We have places to go, people to see, and things to do.
Indeed, many of us possess a lot of energy, we live with a sense of urgency, a restlessness, we have a lot to do and so little time. Some say, “I’ll rest when I’m dead.” They have things to accomplish, dreams to fulfill, money to make, and things to buy. They are waiting until they’re dead to rest. That’s when they’ll relax.
I recently relearned a lesson. I found myself waiting for the many people involved in the selling of my apartment and the purchasing of a new place. Many, many things need to be done. There are the lawyers, realtors, banks, coop boards, building managers, and on and on. . . . I started to turn impatient, one month led to another and to another. I found myself waiting; waiting for the emails, phone calls, approvals, closings; waiting to move into my new apartment so I can settle in. Fortunately, I caught myself pretty quickly. And I did so, long before I went off the deep-end, long before any damage was done. Oh yes, the old me would have lost it. “What’s taking so long?! You said July, then August, then September, now November; this is outrageous!” I would have annoyingly complained about it to every person in my life. “Do you believe it, I still haven’t moved. These friggin’ coop boards and lawyers, I mean, c’mon!” Yes, anger would have taken me for a ride. But, as I said, I caught myself. “Carl, what are you doing? Where is your trust in things, in the Universe? Stop waiting. Just be.” Yes, the opposite of waiting is being. Now, I’m just being. Which is my practice. One day at a time. Stay in moment. Be present. Be fully engaged in the now.
But you see, I must be vigilant. I must watchful of my thoughts, words, and actions. And I need to be reminded of that, because I have a built-in forgetter. And so life reminds me now and again, thankfully. But I have to be open to feel the nudge, open enough to hear the whispering message. In the past, it took a loud scream for me to hear the call. Life had to beat me up. Of course by then, it was too late. The damage was done. But my hearing has improved. And I also have methods and tools. For one, I don’t play the blame game, rather, I look at myself. I look on the inside, not on the outside. When my body feels uneasy, when my head gets noisy, it’s an indicator, it’s a signal, it’s my body telling me something’s wrong. Of course, Yoga, meditation, and a connection to a Power greater than myself, give me this ability. I can feel the subtle messages in my body. And as long as I stay connected, there’s a knowing.
Still, I can’t rest on my laurels. I must stay open to learn the lessons. And I can only do that by looking at myself, not looking at externals. “Are these people incompetent? What’s the problem, why is everything taking so long? I’m tired of waiting on these people.” No, I must look at myself. “Why am I being impatient? What’s the hurry, what’s the rush?” See, most of the time, if not all of the time, we’re the problem. And the only way to learn and grow from our experiences is by honestly looking at ourselves.
Sure, I know that we need to get things done, but we also need to relax and be in the moment. We need to be more present, breathe mindfully, and slow down; we’ll be able to think more clearly when we do so. And when we’re present and fully engaged in what we’re doing, we are more likely to achieve what we’re set out to do anyway. More than that, our lives can change dramatically at any moment. In fact, today could be our last day. So, stop waiting. Live life now. Stop waiting for life to settle down in order to relax. Relax now. Get into your body, out of your head, and into the present moment. That’s where life is, where your family is, where your friends are, where love is; right here, right now. So stop waiting for anything or anyone, be in the now.
I strongly encourage my readers to share their thoughts and add to the conversation. Don’t be shy, leave your comments below.