The Waiting Place

The Waiting Place

“Patience is learned through waiting.” ~ E’Yen A. Gardner

One of my favourite books of all time is Dr. Seuss’s Oh, The Places You’ll Go!.

Published in 1990, it was his last book, which seems somehow fitting—he died 18 months later.

In it he penned some wise words about life and fear and persistence and a place people get stuck that he called, The Waiting Place.

He contended that this waiting place was a

“ most dreadful place… for people just waiting…
waiting for a train to go or a bus to come,
or a plane to go or the mail to come,
or the rain to go or the phone to ring
or the snow to snow or the waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow….”

Obviously, Dr. Seuss was referring to what I’ll describe as the negative side of waiting: using it as an avoidance technique, waiting for the world to do things for you.

I contend there is another side to waiting: waiting for the world to do it with you.

The former springs from fear, the latter from awareness.

I call it ‘conscious waiting.’

“Patience is not simply the ability to wait; it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” ~Joyce Meyer

Like any movie set, much of life is about waiting around for the next scene; we stand in lines, or wait for events to begin, or flights to take off, or doctors to get back to us, or babies to be born, or degrees to be earned, or food to finish cooking, or the right time to speak up, or to ask for something, or to seek input… the list is endless.

So, how we feel while we wait matters, because we do it a lot. It’s unavoidable.

And it requires patience.

As a recovering perfectionist, patience has never been a strong suit. I’m a ‘get-it-done’ sort of gal and have a tendency to ‘push things’ through. This characteristic has served me well over the years—at least, when I’m the only one involved.

When I must wait on someone else to provide necessary info or expertise, well, you might say I’ve been a bit of a toe-tapping watch-watcher in the past.

Not fun, and totally within my control.

My focus has shifted to how I wait, not the fact that I must do so and how dare the world for getting in my way!

“Life was always a matter of waiting for the right moment to act.” ~Paulo Coelho

‘Conscious waiting’ keeps the focus on your inward response while you wait.

What are you feeling while waiting? Anxiety (tension, frustration, annoyance)? Or trust (calmness, confidence, peace)?

It’s the flip side to Dr. Seuss’s passive waiting; it’s proactive waiting.

Waiting with the world differs from waiting on it.

And it’s amazing how things still get done–with half the stress and twice the pleasure.

It does take practice, however, to learn how to slow down, not check the clock and tap the toe… sigh

To help myself out I no longer wear a watch.

One out of two ain’t bad.

“It is strange that the years teach us patience; that the shorter our time, the greater our capacity for waiting.” ~Elizabeth Taylor

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Cynthia Barlow

Founder Cynthia Barlow

Facilitator, Author, Coach

Helping businesses build their people

When your people have the skills to communicate more effectively, they can connect more easily and collaborate more productively. Not only on the job, but also in life.

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