Learning to Wait Thoughts on the Waiting Game

 

Last week was eventful. A close friend welcomed a new baby girl into the family while another dear friend said a final loving good-bye to her mother. What both events had in common was a period of waiting. Joyful anticipation built over the months as the new mom and her extended family prepared for the birth of a child. On the flip side, those who have experienced a loved one deal with a lingering illness know tremendous pain as those precious minutes slip away.

There are different types of waiting periods in life. Waiting to meet your soul mate, waiting for a house to sell, waiting for a cappuccino

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

at your favorite coffee shop, waiting for summer to begin and the list goes on and on.

In the past, I totally sucked at waiting fervently wishing I could fast-forward time. Perhaps that is a common ailment in our “I want it now,” world. True, some things are out of our control and waiting periods fall into that category. Over the years I’ve learned to utilize the wait time wisely and respect the process.

Whoever coined the phrase, “Good things come to those who wait,” had a point. For example, a few years ago one of my single clients (let’s call her Tami) was obsessed with finding a mate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She went through one of those “What’s wrong with me,” scenarios.  Tami was a beautiful hard working accountant but spending most of her waking hours at the office took a toll on her ability to converse about anything other than balance sheets and journal entries.

My suggestion involved reducing her working hours to make room for a hobby. Following through with this plan Tami enrolled in a number of gourmet cooking classes and even began blogging about vegetarian cuisine.

 

By busying herself with a hobby, and back-burnering her focus on waiting for “the one” to show up, she began feeling fulfilled outside of the office.

 

Oh, and did I mention Mr. Wonderful eventually surfaced? Turns out she married the chef instructor of her Pastry 101 course. (Yes, good things do come to those who wait).

 

 

 

Tami’s experience can be applied to most periods of time requiring we patiently go into a holding pattern.

So how do you deal with an event you wish you could hurry along? First, accept that “wait” is not a nasty four letter word. Change your focus and make some plans while you’re sitting it out.

By doing so, in the interim, you might find you’re having the time of your life.

The Power of Patience

Yesterday I found this fellow gracing my patio. He is so regal it takes my breath away. I’ve seen him around here before. It appears he’s established himself as a seasonal resident.

If you don’t know me, I should explain I live on a small man-made body of water called Lake Mirage. I’ve studied this bird a lot. In my estimation, he possesses an admirable quality, one I often lack. Yep, that characteristic is patience.

Perspectives. Inspirational quote typed on an old typewriter.

Whether resting in quiet contemplation or eyeing his next meal, my big bird friend waits, and waits and waits without flinching. Then, at the perfect moment he goes in for the catch of the day. Voila! Mission accomplished, dinner is served.

Do you have trouble mastering patience? If so, please read on. If not, I urge you to read on anyway and please leave a comment explaining how you keep calm and carry on while the rest of us are chomping at the bit to move forward when we should be more like big bird and wait it out.

You may think patience is a passive act. On the contrary, it’s more about control which takes focus and energy. For example, if I placed a wrapped gift in front of a five year old and told her not to open it for five minutes, you can bet the poor little tyke would expend all kinds of energy waiting out the clock.

Someone once defined patience as “the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears.” So how do you notch it down from full speed ahead to slow and steady wins the race?

Begin by defining what gets under your skin. If it’s the wait that does you in, start using some positive self talk. Take comfort in the fact that patience builds character.

Stopping to pause also results in better decision making. No doubt my big bird friend patiently passes on the tiny appetizer fish and nabs one large enough to whet his appetite.

This water fowl taught me another lesson about patience in thought and movement. He never runs but moves gracefully covering the ground in long strides. I on the other hand have a tendency to rush, to move too fast, hurrying along like a dizzy chicken in a frenzied manner.

It’s taken some time, but I’m learning to emulate the stately big bird by being mindful and carefully considering the journey on my way to the goal line.

The next time your patience is tested think of my big bird buddy at Lake Mirage. Slow it down, think it through, and step on the brakes. Doing so will help you be more resourceful and productive.

 

 

 

Popsicles and Pockets of Joy

Enjoy the little things.

Over breakfast my friend Dominique announced everyday is a Monday. Responding to my quizzical expression she filled in the blanks. Dom, a successful entrepreneur, is in the process of growing her second successful business, Escape Room Palm Springs. This venture means hitting it hard in back-to-back seven day work weeks. Understanding the amount of work that goes into a new business enterprise, I tipped my head in an empathetic nod.

My friend continued talking about her busy life and related how one day while listening to a CD, she discovered a way to keep the pace without spiking her stress level. Adhering to the advice of a female combat soldier, Dom cultivated a way to look for, and take advantage of pockets of downtime. For example, when she has the rare 2 hour chunk of time she heads home to soak in her Jacuzzi. An extra thirty minutes may be used in the grocery store with her headphones on. Dom finds strolling the aisles relaxing as she leisurely accomplishes restocking her pantry. For a mere 15 minutes, she can find a quiet corner to sit still and “just be.” If her pets are around, Dom indulges in doggy cuddle time. (Stroking a dog is touted by experts as a healthy form of stress relief.)

Dom and Dog

 

Author and speaker, Amanda Enayati, is in complete agreement with Dom about mastering “the pause” during a demanding day. In a recent interview, Amanda referred to these portions of down time as “pockets of joy.” Enayati, who authored the book, “Seeking Serenity: The Ten New Rules for Health and Happiness in the Age of Anxiety,” discusses a pause as a way to deal with negative stress. The author recommends not over-thinking a pause. Just find a quiet space to rest and renew, or head outdoors to commune with nature.

Free Happy Woman Enjoying Nature. Beauty Girl Outdoor.

Establishing one of these new rules in your life might take a bit practice. Like Dom, you must develop an awareness and capture those precious moments of “me” time. By setting up these buffers, you can minimize and neutralize your stress level. A word of caution here: Don’t fritter it away thinking you should use the time to knock off a few more things on your “to do” list.

Try it with me. This week I’m committing to my pockets of joy by instituting the 80/20 rule. For 20 minutes each day I’ll close my office door, think of nothing and enjoy my 80 calorie cold-brew coffee pop.

Chocolate popsicles on baking paper with scattered nuts and choco topping

Bye, bye toxic stress!