In my recent blog I talked about being in the now and why it is important for all of us to develop this skill. Today I want to talk about how we can give waiting time a new quality.
Let me describe my time of waiting. I am sitting in the hair salon waiting for the color to soak in. “Let’s kill the grey hair” is the name of the mission and this is not a mission impossible. It is my fight against the color grey that I have never liked – at least not for me. My hair is naturally blond and any grey that wants to prevent my blond hair from shining is a declared enemy. Anyhow, I am sitting here to allow enough time for the grey hair to be defeated – time some people might consider as lost time. I call this precious time, because this is “me-time”. I am just being me, living in the moment and nothing other than a natural disaster can steer me away from this waiting position.
Often in our lives we are condemned into a waiting position and we usually hate it. We are waiting in line at the cashier in the supermarket or we are sitting in the doctor’s waiting room forever … waiting seems like a punishment. In these fast times we want everything to happen quickly and whatever stops the fast pace of our busy life is considered a nuisance. Can you relate to this? Do you remember the last time you waited in line at the cashier thinking: Damn, why does it take so long! Welcome to the club of achievers and friends of an organized and fast pace of life.
The bad news is: I am afraid this club is not going to survive the reality check. You cannot organize every phase of your life without stopping and what is wrong with waiting anyway? What is wrong when, as usual, you picked the slow lane with the slower cashier who takes forever to serve the customers? Why do you stress out when you have to wait longer than 10 minutes in the doctor’s office? Yes, time is running and the next appointment is right around the corner. We cannot afford to waste time and I agree. The question is what is wasted time? Is the waiting time really wasted or is this rather your chance for contemplation and just being yourself. If you label this time differently and turn it into ‘me-time’ then suddenly it does not seem wasted anymore. Whenever you must wait, consider it as a break from your hectic life. It is like a mini vacation, relax and collect your thoughts and feelings.
Let’s take the supermarket example. I love this one, because I seem to be one of these people with the unique talent of picking the slowest cashier. Next time you get stuck, don’t waste your time by getting annoyed and impatient (that is a real waste of time). Instead I want you to take a deep breath and connect with your inner self. Observe your feelings and your thoughts but don’t allow them to take over. Observe them and let them go. Visually define your space and observe what is around you. Take it all in without any judgments. Look at the people who are standing in line with you. Observe their faces, their kindness or their tension. Take this moment and breathe all your impressions in. Don’t worry about what you will do next and don’t worry about events in the past – just be in this exact moment and take everything in that you see with your eyes and your heart. Turn this time into precious time to reconnect with yourself. Don’t allow thoughts to take you away from that exact place. After a while you will feel calm and relaxed wondering where the time has gone. It is working, just give it a try and you will be able to turn these times of waiting into quality times.
I can hear you saying but what if…! Yes, you might come late to your next appointment etc. but you won’t be able to change that anyway just by getting upset. Turn “I am waiting” in to “I am” and you will feel less stressed, less under pressure and closer to your true self. Eckhart Tolle, author of the book “Power of Now” inspired me to write about this topic. Take the time and read his book if you would like to dig deeper into this topic. It is a pretty thick book so you might want to use future waiting times to read it.
Whatever you decide to do, turn your next waiting time into “me time” and find out what it does to you. The other day when I went to the supermarket and picked the slow cashier as usual, I had a smile on my face wondering what made this young cashier so slow. I guess she was in the moment and I envied her for this skill – I am still working on it.
Please share your “me moments” and tell us your waiting stories.
Be a woman and act like one.
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Reprinted from “Hertha Wolff-Arend | Be a Woman and Act Like One” a blog written by Hertha Wolff-Arend. Subscribe at http://beawomanandactlikeone.com and receive Blog updates by email.
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I love this one! What a wonderful reminder of not getting stressed when there is nothing you can do about it anyway. Eckhart Tolle is one of my favorite authors and I have his books on CD and listen to them in the car quite often. Me time touches my heart, thanks Hertha for telling us how you enjoy your getting blond, me time.
Yes, Eckhart Tolle is also one of my favorite authors and inspirational leaders. His audiobook ‘power of now’ is amazing and a very useful tool to develop your presence or at least start working on it. Thanks so much for your comment.
Thank you so much for the reminder that waiting is a good thing, and patience is virtue. It’s so easy to find myself getting impatient and feel like i’m “wasting time” in a waiting line, but now – thanks to you – I will look at it in a new way. Thanks Hertha.
Next time you are waiting in line, think of my words. It will change your perspective. The other day when I was waiting in line, I had to remind myself and instead of wasting my energy on impatience I used the moment to be in the moment. It turned out to be very entertaining to become the observer of myself and others without judgement.
My name is Jamie Coffey and I am the Special Assistant to the President of Barnard College, Debora Spar. I am writing to you today regarding your blog and your knowledge as to the importance of women in leadership. I see you have already posted about Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In, and I’d like to bring a unique perspective from a new book on this important topic to your attention.
My colleague Debora’s new book, Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection, hit the shelves just a few weeks ago. Throughout Debora’s personal and professional experiences, she has asserted herself as a proponent of women’s education and leadership, which she highlights both in her new book and this recently published post here: http://wonderwomenthebook.com/2013/09/17/women-despite-being-leaders-are-still-not-wonder-women/
The ultimate goal of Debora’s work is to reach audiences just like yours with her message. Please consider sharing this post on your site and continuing to spark the important conversation that needs to be had for the benefit of women everywhere.
Thanks you for your interest in my work and for the book recommendation. It sounds like a very interesting book and I will surely read it. Women are still a minority when it comes to leadership positions. This can change once women realize that they can do anything and that men are not their enemies but often the door openers to the higher positions. Cheryl Sandberg is a good example. She could not have done it without the support of two influential men: Her husband who supported her in all life matters and Mark Zuckerberg who gave her the opportunity of a lifetime. All the best, Hertha
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