What Are We Waiting For?
Phew, just writing this has me feeling breathless. I’ve been doing, and continue to do, all the things, I’m busy, busy, busy. When I’m asked how I am the first word that comes to my mind is “busy” – as we all are! These things I’m busy with are amazing and I’m so glad I do them, they are part of the fabric of my daily work, life and more. The things I wait for, like writing blog posts (or the book I’ve been thinking about, or …), feel harder, they aren’t “necessary” – if I don’t write this post or that book or start that program or try something new, no one even knows I wanted to, except for me. But lately I’m feeling a push or maybe a pull to act in the world, as Nike says “Just do it.”
This call to action has been coming at me from all different directions. I hear it in the podcasts I listen to, the books I read, the conversations I have – clearly there is some part of me that is attuned to action. And I wonder what am I waiting for? I know I’m creating my work and life and yet I often live like it’s just happening to me. The waiting is an old habit of mine – it’s familiar, it’s comfortable, I get lulled into it. I look around, check what others are up to, I read, I talk, I think, and I have lots of ideas; I talk, I think, I research, I have even more ideas. Rinse and repeat. Ideas are so exciting; they are possibilities AND they don’t become reality unless I act on them. The thing is, I stay safe when I wait – I’m not going to get it wrong (whatever it is). I’m not putting anything out there so I can’t get in “trouble.” My “good girl” conditioning runs deep.
And I wonder, what are the costs of waiting, what am I missing? First there’s the anxiety – I worry about what I’m not doing, about not getting “enough” done, about catching up. Rest doesn’t come easily when I’m procrastinating. Plus, I lose myself bit by bit when I let my busyness define me, I’m subsumed into my calendar and to-do lists. I let go of the thread of what matters to me.
I know that some of my waiting is just the creative process, there is a time to it, a depth to it especially when I’m creating something new. But if I’m honest, I also know that most of the waiting is simply fear. I’m afraid. And then I remember this Fritz Perls quote I share with my clients “Fear is excitement without the breath.” This is exactly how I experience the avoiding and waiting – I’m breathless, constricted, small, still but not peaceful, just stuck. And if I add some breath, if I just breathe and give myself and what I’m creating some space I feel a loosening. A loosening and an invitation, dare I say a call to action. Pause, breathe, move. I am creating my life and you are creating yours. What are we waiting for? You and I have what we need to take the next step, to “just do it,” to step into who we are fully! If you want a guide or a cheerleader in finding your call to action or simply catching your breath, let’s connect.
3/20/2023 01:01:27 pm
Great reflection on waiting. I too struggle to balance action, inaction (fear), and real needed rest. My fear is fundraising. I LOVE United Seminary and am co-chair of its Capital Campaign but I can make up all kinds of reasons why people will not want to give money instead of simply sharing why I'm excited about United and why I am giving to it and invite others to join me!
3/20/2023 02:33:08 pm
Thanks Andrea for giving us a window into your fear - one I share wholeheartedly! It really is a balance, when is it time to act, when is it time to rest? It's listening to and leading with our excitement.
3/20/2023 01:09:55 pm
Thanks for making me feel like I am not alone, Caroline! I often overthink and then get caught up in things to do that are not related to what I've been overthinking! So often, I need a nudge. I'm glad you felt one that led to writing this thoughtful post!
3/20/2023 02:34:45 pm
Thanks Nancy! Love that we can nudge each other. And we are not alone - so key!
3/20/2023 01:25:45 pm
This blog of yours is a wonderful read and every word resonated to the core of me. It is truly inspiring to see you putting your best foot forward at so many fronts with utmost authenticity and sincerity while managing all humane struggles that comes along in the package deal of life . You definitely have shown the way ::::
3/20/2023 02:39:27 pm
Thank you Gaurima! I'm so grateful for our partnership and love that this post and blog resonate with you. Your comment is exactly why I'm glad I stopped waiting today. :)
3/20/2023 01:58:43 pm
I enjoyed reading this! I'm also feeling a call to action, but it's not clear yet. I'm sensing it's coming from an even greater shift from "me" to "we" that the planet is asking for. I'm open to more clarity and to get into action. I wonder what my next step could be....
3/20/2023 02:42:25 pm
Ooh yes, I'm also feeling the call for the shift from "me" to "we" - moving into the collective in all of our paradoxical authenticity. Here's to clarity into action - exciting to think about next steps.
3/23/2023 07:58:54 pm
May spring awaken an energy in you that pulls you to powerful action aligned with your most heartfelt intentions, my friend! I love how you are going with the flow of blogging, letting them speak to you & sharing them as you are ready, versus some preconceived or forced schedule. The heart and mind need space. (I wonder, does waiting have different feelings, of spaciousness, of constriction, of possibility, of holding back...).
3/25/2023 01:18:42 pm
I love this wondering Vicki! So true, waiting can be all these things, spacious, constricted, full, and anxious. There is an anticipation to waiting that is wonderful and then if/when I don't act it can cross into avoidance which is painful. All of it is there.
3/24/2023 09:54:00 am
I love the term "waiting," as it can be used for two different meanings. The first is pausing - taking a breath, stepping back, listening to yourself and maybe just letting it be without doing anything about it. The second is holding oneself back from doing something out of fear or inertia. To the question "what am I waiting for?" the answer depends on why am I waiting. Sometimes waiting is the best option given my situation; other times it's me standing in my own way. Thank you for this post, Caroline! It got me thinking!
3/25/2023 01:22:02 pm
Love this Kathy! And maybe the power is in the question - what am I waiting for? Just asking that of myself opens up some awareness around both the reasons for the waiting and the impact of the waiting. And then I can choose to continue to wait or to move into action. For me it takes some of the judgment out, waiting isn't good or bad, it just is. The question is do I want to wait? And if not, what do I want to do instead.
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Caroline Cochran, PhD is a Certified Presence-Based® Coach and a Leadership Development Consultant with over 25 years of experience.