Welcome to the fifth of our seven-day practice in which we cultivate awareness of the wonder and gift of a normal day. We invite you to close your eyes and take one or two slow, deep breaths. Now, let's begin...
Photo: Mikael Kristenson/Unsplash
Waiting can often feel frustrating, but we can reframe the experience as an opportunity to tune into the wonder of the world around us. Reflect on simply having found yourself wherever it is you are, among any people who are also there, the sheer chance of the moment and all it contains, the hum of activity or silence that fills the space, an unexpected occurrence you happen to witness. Reflect on the chance to appreciate your body, the weather, the details of your environment, the miracle of being alive…
Throughout your day, gently carry the intention to appreciate any moments of waiting–whether in line at the store, at a red light, on the phone, or even waiting for your computer to load–that occur. Refrain from “occupying” yourself during this time. Observe any resistance or disappointment you may feel about your expectations not being met, and open to the possibility of being content with what is. Try simply taking in your surroundings with a sense of wonder for all that is happening right here, right now. When you find yourself embracing the gifts of waiting, say, “Wow, thank you.” Observe how this practice makes you feel, noticing any sensations or emotions that arise.
How does appreciating moments of waiting impact you?
What can waiting allow you to more fully love and learn?
Should you be inspired, please leave a reflection below…
This practice is inspired by Mary Jean Irion’s sublime meditation A Normal Day.
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I’m waiting on lots of things right now. A new job. Healing from a prescribed medication. To stop and say Wow, I am grateful. I felt an inner shift toward lightness and joy.
Advent has long been my favorite season of the church year. This practice reminds me that we can always be in an Advent–holding the waiting as a Real Thing, not as something that leads to a real thing. This *is* my life, this suspension, this present moment.
Waiting isn’t really part of my life, especially since I’m being tortured every millisecond to levels of pain from 8 through 10. Yet, even as a youngin I was always active even when waiting, reading, doing small exercises, contemplating, perceiving more deeply; which had great benefits- like being able to sleep while standing up on the subway (missing my stop a few times cured me of that practice though). Simply, yes, there’s no waiting, yet, it does bring us to be more in examination of our experiences and the moment, reality, nature, especially social and societal norms, etc.. Thanx for all you All do; and may you have a blessed day 🙂 reality
This is timely. I am at the cusp of turning 60, and with it entering my dessert phase of life. I am contemplating what I want to put into the next few decades. In many ways, I can feel a little bit anxious about getting it right. However, I’m going to trust my inner wisdom to organically show herself and reveal direction. Sitting in a patient space with the voices wanting to be heard and watching and listening as they form their choir is a lot more fulfilling than worrying.
Dusty, I, too will turn 60 this year and initially have been excited about this, and hope to return to this place. Happy 60th!
Happy Birthday to you in advance Anita. I’m 60 next Jan, but am thinking/reflecting upon what life from that date onwards. It’s great. Cheers!
I love this! The other day I was waiting to wash my car, going through the automatic tunnel. Once it began there was nothing to do but wait and instead of looking at emails on my phone, I just experienced the vibrations, visuals and all. It was a blessing, because my youngest daughter (who entered eternity in 2001) loved being in these car washes. I was transported back to identify with her enjoyment of the experience (she was profoundly deaf).
With the ending of my 41 year marriage I am now waiting to learn where my next home will be, after the house that has been my home for 25 years sells. I don’t know when that will be but hope for this spring or summer. Yet some things cannot be rushed and are pretty much impossible to predict. The gift of savoring the wait for what it has to teach me while holding space for my imagined new home is fruitful.
Beautifully shared experience, thank you.
All the best with your new move.
This is really a cool observation. You have given yourself permission to play.at the carwash.
Sometimes on the subway, I look at or listen to my “device”, like almost every other person in the car. But sometimes I look around at each person, wondering what their lives are like and were like, thinking that they were all little children once. We are all in this subway car right here and right now by amazing coincidence. And occasionally another person and I will make eye contact and we’ll smile. And very occasionally talk. Wow!
When I’m waiting, I say: “At this moment I am well – and those I love are well… I am grateful to be alive right now.” I know all things end, but right now, we are alive and sharing this life together. I will see my loved ones soon. I pause – like a gull hovering in the air – when the ocean wind is against the bird at the same speed it is flying – that pause – that seeming to be stopping time – everything on hold – I feel that everything is “right” at this moment – and then the line moves, or the light changes, or my name is called, and life resumes.
Waiting. Lots of waiting. It brings regrets and self-despair while honoring aliveness. The train left the station long ago when I struggled to survive. Now the witness to it all. Peace.
Patiently waiting each day is a challenge and takes deliberate effort and practice.
The song “Day by Day” from the musical “Godspell” is appropriate for this reflection/practice: to see Thee more clearly, love Thee more dearly, follow Thee more nearly, day by day.
Timely for me, had just reaffirmed intention to note feelings and thoughts when on hold for 20 minutes, let go, and do stretching and other beneficial activities while waiting. Appreciate the encouragement to even further expand rather than contract, notice, appreciate, leading to the Oh wow. Even with acknowledgment and letting go, there was just the slightest bit of resistance and residual anger while stretching. This practice directs attention to connection so that could both be with waiting and, when ready, do another activity with more freedom and gratefulness. Thank you!
Good Morning This morning’s message on waiting has been such a timely message for me, reminding me that when one is in the present moment, there is no waiting. Last night, I crawled in bed at 7 p.m. as my spinal and rib pain levels were such that I found standing and setting too challenging. I drifted in and out of sleep, waking several times to find that my pain was not subsiding. I think it was about the third time the pain awakened me that I realized that I was so afraid of the present moment, of my ability to endure the pain that I was stressing out, waiting and hoping it would subside. I was in fight and flight mode. My poor body did not have a chance. When I admitted this to myself, I felt my awareness shift from fight and flight to face and flow. Compassion surged. I felt totally in the moment and grace seemed to rise from within. My former resistance faded and I was reminded of something I used to tell those I sponsored in 12 step circles. “If you’re in the future or the past, you go there alone because God is. The strength you need is always available in the NOW.” I got up and set up the heating pad. I practiced deep breathing to help my body move from the sympathetic to the parasympathetic nervous system. My pain did not miraculously disappear but it eased and I slept through the rest of the night. God is not a being. God is being and it is very important to remember that I am on this earth to learn what it really means to be human being. Blessings, Carol
I needed to read this, Carol, thank you. I’ve not had chronic pain until very recently and I’ll admit to not dealing well with it. Your post struck deeply within me to take a different view of pain and learn.
Thanks for sharing, Cathy. Life is indeed a dance with mystery and the opposite of fear is not always courage. It is love. Psalm 46:10 comes to mind. “Be still and know that I am God” is the most known translation but the bible I have had for over 60 years says, “Desist and know that I am God.” In my experience desisting instead of resisting helps me relax and release, let go and allow the ever present grace to flow in and through me. Our finite minds will never understand the great “I AM” but it can be experienced.
This is inspiring to me because it’s about real pain right now. I love the phrase “face and flow”—I had never heard that before.
Thanks for your comment..I’m glad “face and flow” is helpful to you. Facing my fear is making my pain much more manageable. Presence always trumps fear.
Hello Carol. Thanks for sharing about this challenging situation. Well done! I just wanted to send healing thoughts your way, I hope you sleep better tonight.
Thank you. Your healing thoughts are deeply appreciated.
waiting for the buses in Africa – long time ago – has taught me to replace “waiting for something….” to connect with something. Whatever or whoever it will be….. to “relate” to and connect with the world around me.
Connecting with the world within me in these moments of waiting are just to shift my focus – and that is a decision in the realm of total freedom. What a gift. (in german the word “gift” is poison which becomes now an even more important meaning….. ? )
My 2 little doggies are WAITING patiently to go to the park. I already said the word: “PARK” and they immediately started stretching…looking at me, head tilted at a little angle…like what the actual heck are you waiting for ???!!! Now there is a little groan coming from the smaller one…”Savvy”…and I told her about Eckhart Tolle, “never needing to wait for anything”….and she told me I was “FULL of ___”..so we are off to the park, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly….we may not all GET THIS at the same pace….HA HA. But I am so GRATEFUL to have these 2 little fur-angel/devils in my life….I am blessed.
Thanks for the chuckle!
….. don’t miss to nurter your correspondive teachers about a part of what means NOW…. 😉
How does waiting impact me, yesterday I was disappointed not to hear from a friend. I turned the disappointment around to say it is still early in the day and I went on with my day. My friend did call later that day. Waiting has made me look at my present moment, and to accept what is. I am patient by nature and to wait gives me an opportunity to pause, reflect, tune into where I am at, instead of rushing through my day, with my head in the clouds as I so often do!
Finding wonder in waiting takes practice! I stop myself from pulling out my phone or leave it in the car when I go to appointments or wait for friends at restaurants or events. I think it allows me to more fully love by being present to my fellow “waiters”-esp at doctor’s offices and also to the staff at restaurants and events. I love the idea of saying “wow” “thank you”! I look forward to using it today!
What a great practice! I will think about doing that the next time I am prone to reach for my phone compulsively.
That WOW seems as it is applied by you as a real Invitation…..
I had a similar conversation with my husband earlier this morning. I have two physical problems that I am “waiting” through constant pain. I know that both extremities will heal, and their current downtime doesn’t slow me or impact much in my life. It is only the unrelenting pain that my subconscious tries to rail against. If I do nothing, I realize I am working hard to fight against the pain.
Yet, when I relax and stop fighting, there is a new experience. My mind drifts over emotions, ideas, and simple thoughts, and I am curious about what is there.
I do believe there is much to learn during waiting. I am grateful for the beginning of understanding this concept.
I can relate. Blessings
Wow – using “waiting moments” intentionally for letting go pain……what an expansion. THANKS.
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When after heavy rain the storm clouds disperse, is it not that they’ve wept themselves…
What if you discovered that living with awareness and intention, focusing on what makes you…
An eight-day practice inspired by Br. David Steindl-Rast’s appreciation of haiku.
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