There are a dozen phrases describing the importance of waiting.
‘When the student is ready, the teacher appears.’
‘When the teacher is ready, the students appear.’
‘Good fortune comes to those who wait.’
Even Lao Tsu is on board.
‘Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving until the right action arises by itself?’
and, ‘Nature does not hurry, yet all things are accomplished.’
These are important lessons, but there’s something that gets left out. Maybe it’s supposed to be that the student finds the missing gem. Maybe it’s that most teachers are jaded and figure their students don’t listen to the whole story. Maybe it’s that most people don’t realize it’s even happening, but there’s a hidden conversation about intuition and perception in here.
Inside of proper waiting is not the sensation of hurry.
Inside of good pause is not a haste to move.
Inside of these lessons is intuition.
Let’s get on the same page here: I am not a master of waiting. I have good runs and then I lapse. The pace of the world wants us to hustle. The nature of it is motion. Like a rushing river. And I get sucked along as well.
I feel anxious at times when better. I get frustrated when the path gets cluttered or impassable, and I must slow my pace or retrace my steps.
But I’ve gotta say, the times in my life when things went the best and the happenstance magic that occurred couldn’t possibly be explained with strategy (because I didn’t have much to speak of)… those times involved the good sort of waiting.
The sort that feels like stillness in your chest and cold certainty. The kind that moves with the pace of inevitability. The waiting that makes you grin, as if you’ve already seen the movie and the next scene is the good part.
I felt it in the pit of me. The deep place where language goes to die because nothing holds a candle to notions that move without words.
Sometimes I spent these times quiet. Sitting somewhere peaceful. Letting time position me in the path of certain greatness. Other times I was so distracted with being present to the joys of adventure, that the sensation of waiting sat in the back of my awareness like a confident friend with the perfect one liner.
And the waiting would end.
Sometimes there was a pop of action in my reality. That which I wanted came. Surprise gifts from the universe. Why yes, I’d love to go to your rooftop birthday party as a VIP. No of course you can drive me.
Other times it ended with that familiar sensation of knowing, in my gut, exactly what to do. Get that plane ticket two days early. Oh look, ended up in Paris for the free museum day. Head down to the bar early? Weird, ok. Ak, make a friend and end up on a zero cover-fee tour of the best clubs in Stockholm.
Sometimes the return was slower. A design hits me, I make it, and someone buys it the moment I post a photo. But either way, that little wordless voice throws up a signal.
But it wasn’t the waiting.
This is the point I want to get across. Waiting is the time that passes while we are either moving into the right position, or the time it takes for that vision to come through.
Had I been clearer and aligned with my own shit sooner, some of those totemic talisman designs that flew out the door would have come to me early. It’s less about paying your dues and more about alignment and being able to listen.
And you don’t have to believe me all on my lonesome here…
“The chief enemy of creativity is good sense.” -Pablo Picasso
“Have the courage to follow your heart and your intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.” – Steve Jobs
“Science is always discovering odd scraps of magical wisdom and and making a tremendous fuss about its cleverness.” -Aleister Crowley
“Don’t try to comprehend with your mind. Your minds are very limited. Use your intuition.” – Madeleine L’Engle
“I believe in intuitions and inspirations…I sometimes FEEL that I am right. I do not KNOW that I am.” -Albert Einstein
You don’t have to like any of these people to get the point. The folks getting big things done in the world and with themselves will confess to something deeper and more mysterious in their path to success.
All I am suggesting is this:
There are two kinds of waiting.
The impatient kind that pulls you entirely off center and leaves you further from what you wanted in the first place, which is to feel good.
And there is the kind that looks a lot more like a perfect bulls-eye in slow motion.
And ultimately, you get to choose.