If you’re one of my four or five regular readers, you already know that I’m currently dealing with a wee bit of crap in my life. As a result, I am doing whatever I can to emotionally stay afloat and maintain a positive spin on things: writing, working, enjoying Spring in New Hampshire, challenging the number of pomegranate martinis I can safely consume while still being able crawl up the stairs to bed… basically, anything that will keep me feeling happy and grateful for what I have in my life. Other than the wee bit of crap, of course.
In keeping with this goal, I am also avoiding specific activities – namely making unnecessary purchases, panicking, spewing bad Chi out into the universe and waiting.
That’s right: I have given up waiting. I shall explain…
A few months back while talking with a friend, I remarked that I was tired of waiting for all of this to be over so that everything could return to normal. When I heard myself say that, I panicked. Which was initially not good because that’s one of the things I was trying to avoid. But it was mostly bad because, to me, this statement meant I was not focusing on now. Not acknowledging the blessings. Not realizing the power of this moment in our lives, these experiences, and what we’ve been learning in the process. Not appreciating that we’re triumphantly pulling through this totally-sucks-donkey-balls experience like real champs.
Tired of waiting. That’s what I said. And yet there I was, singularly focused on the waiting. And I didn’t even realize it.
I don’t want to be just waiting. Waiting for a vacation I cannot currently afford. Waiting for Rick to find a new job. Waiting for a court date. Waiting for all of this to be over and for normal to return. Waiting…
It’s the waiting that sinks us, leaves us feeling powerless, and invites anxiety. Frustration. Despair.
I am fully convinced that the trick to succeeding in a situation like this is not to be waiting.
Or at least not to be so damned focused on the waiting.
How did I come to this belief? Two words: Disney World.
Anyone who’s ever been to Disney knows how ingenious those folks are at disguising lines to such an extent that you might even forget you’re waiting. They can take a 24-mile-long line at the Dinosaur attraction and – in true Disney fashion – transform it into four separate stages, each with massive props, videos, trinkets, wall art and pre-shows to keep you delightfully distracted whilst you’re slowly moving along. And since you never really see the end of the line until you’re just about there, you never really know that the line actually was 24 miles long. Because Disney treats the line as part of the ride.
Did you just read that?
The line is part of the ride.
Yes, maybe it’s long… but if you just look around, there’s lots to see and appreciate.
It was this Holy Shit thought that made me realize I need to be applying this practice to what we’re currently experiencing.
Because what happens if I’m rushing to get through this line and, once we’re at the end, I never learned a stinking thing because I wasn’t paying attention?
I’ll regret not having looked around to appreciate what we went through because I was too damned frustrated with wanting everything to be over.
I’ll have never felt grateful for the slower pace that allowed Rick to decompress, because I was too busy wanting things to move faster.
Mostly, I’ll be left with the feeling that the wait was inconvenient, unjust, annoying. A waste of my time.
I don’t want to be the person who feels that way.
I want to be focused on what we’re doing and learning – not the waiting. And when this ride is over, I want to feel good about how we spent our time. I want to be relieved that I actually couldn’t see the end of the line, because it would only have caused additional, needless worrying and frustration.
The line IS part of the ride.
So this may not be what I want to be dealing with right now, and I may not be happy that things aren’t happening when or how I want. But I am far better at handling everything since I stopped focusing on the waiting.
It’s also helped that I’ve been in this line with someone I really like being with: that’s been the best distraction.