I used to hate waiting. Waiting in the line up, waiting on hold, waiting to be asked, waiting to have a coffee.
I would deliberately get out of the house barely allowing extra time so that I don’t have to wait for someone when I get there.
And I would loathe those who were late.
Right now, more or less I am being forced to wait as I sit here in our home at 39 weeks of my first pregnancy. “I hope everything is on time” I whispered last night. We have family visiting, work finishing up, things to take care of before the arrival of our first baby. All are things that make me slightly anxious and nervous about the timing of it all, yet I have no control over them.
I know intellectually well enough that the baby and the mother nature have their own plans. No matter how anxious I get, they will take time if they need time and they will act on it if the time is ripe.
But as I wait, I notice all thoughts coming up in my head, rational, irrational, positive, negative.
And then it dawned on me: we are, in a way, afraid of waiting.
Waiting creates void—or rather, waiting sheds light on existing void.
We are afraid of many things. When I feel angry at someone who is late, my usual thought is that I am wasting time. And wasting time means I’m not keeping busy. I am afraid of not keeping busy because you know, being busy is glorious.
Somehow it makes me more important. But the truth is that when I am waiting, I am exactly where I’m supposed to be doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. My job in that moment is to wait. Then I find much more relaxation in waiting.
I feel even proud that I am finally doing exactly what I preach. Slowing it down.
Fear of that void also stems from the fact that we haven’t really accomplished much on our to-do list and to keep ourselves convinced that we are doing something beneficial and productive, we keep adding things on the list. As long as we are doing something, we have this illusion that we earned the right to be on this Earth.
We are worthy.
That’s hard to grasp nowadays where the planet is overcrowded, sustenance is scarce, we sacrifice other species to survive like we have to climb on top of others to reach the higher ground. Keeping busy actually has equal value to our basic human worthiness. And that scares the hell out of us.
There are many ways to face fears and waiting is in fact one of them. Finding relaxation in sitting and waiting with no expectations as to when or how this whole situation unfolds.
You can find great bravery in looking into the void.
So take heart and wait because we are worthy especially when we do nothing.
Author: Tomomi Kojima
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: by Audrey via the author (used with permission)