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What Are You Waiting For?

17 November 2009 No Comment

How much time do you spend waiting? For people, for appointments, for trains, planes or buses. Or maybe you wait for things to get better (or worse), for time to pass, for a lucky break, for the right moment, the right person … for many things.

Some years ago I was late for a business meeting. As I rushed into the room I apologised and thanked him for waiting. His reply stays with me to this day.

I wasn’t waiting,” he said. “I never wait. I always have something to do. Something to think about, a problem to mull over, an idea to contemplate, reading to catch up. And if I don’t, I just quietly watch the world go by and enjoy the moment.

Whenever I waited I used to get frustrated with the waste of time or bored with the emptiness. Either that or I’d blame what I was waiting for or blame myself for waiting.

Waiting is a choice

People are late for many reasons.

Trains leave when they leave.

Things will get better (or worse) when they do.

Time will pass with or without me.

I don’t believe in lucky breaks.

The right moment is now and the right person is whoever I’m with.

Nothing and nobody forces me to wait. It’s always a choice I make. I can choose to wait or I can choose to do something (or nothing) and choosing to wait in suffering serves no meaningful purpose.

Waiting is a state of mind.

Waiting is not an activity, not something I do, but a limbo I impose on myself. It’s an artificial construction of my own mind in which I imagine I’m ‘doing’ waiting.

If I can create a waiting state of mind then I can also choose to create the opposite – a ‘not-waiting’ state of mind. It’s easy and anyone can do it just by deciding to.

Catch the thought ‘I’m waiting’ and change it to ‘I’m not waiting’

Waiting is giving away my power

Every minute I wait is a minute I give away to someone or something else. Unless I’m donating it willingly and joyfully it’s a minute I’ve frittered away. It’s not only time I’m giving away, but my power that comes when I take control of my life and responsibility for what I do.

I’m a victim.

Mostly the recipient of this time is completely unaware they’ve received something from me. They didn’t choose it, they didn’t value it, they could do nothing with it. It’s wasted and comes with all the negative energy I’ve attached to it.

When I ‘not-wait’ I take my life in my own hands and there’s no room for blame or resentment or frustration.

Don’t wait for anything

Get creative.

  • Think about something. You always have your mind with you, so use it to solve a problem, make a plan or reflect on an experience
  • Carry a small notebook with you and write
  • Make a call you’ve been meaning to make
  • Catch up on some reading
  • Leave and go do something
  • Enjoy the break and do absolutely nothing

You may just find that when the person or thing you are ‘not-waiting’ for arrives, you welcome it joyfully and enjoy it as an unexpected pleasure.

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