25 Jan The Corona Challenge of Waiting
Have you noticed how many people are saying some variation on, “I just can’t WAIT until these restrictions are lifted”?
The problem is, in our fast-paced, gotta hurry culture, we’re not good at waiting. Waiting for a streaming movie to buffer, waiting for the light to turn green, waiting to see how the coming months will unfold—staying calm in the midst of all this waiting does not come easily.at.all.
Though we may all be acutely aware of the life-or-death crisis affecting essential workers and families affected by COVID-19 right now, and our hearts and prayers are of course with them, most people are sheltering at home. This time of stasis at home, day in and day out, is both a luxury and a challenge…we just have to change our perception.
Waiting, unfortunately, is often perceived as wasted time…but the truth is that if we learn to use this time mindfully, we will see that each moment of our fleeting lives is precious—and the concept of “waiting” itself is something to, perhaps, reconsider.
Creating a new relationship with “waiting” demands awareness, acceptance, desire, and practice.
Ask yourself if you feel impatient when you have to wait. How? By exploring past situations that have required waiting. How have you felt impatient waiting for food at a restaurant? What has it been like when you’ve had to wait at the doctor’s office? Has waiting, normally been a challenge for you? If so, this period of waiting is probably even more of a challenge under the current COVID restrictions.
Desiring to change
Become aware and hopefully acknowledge that waiting is a challenge for you, and then see it as an opportunity to reframe it into a positive experience. Developing a desire to bask in what I call a “quiet calm” can have a major impact on the quality in five areas of life— your physical, cognitive, emotional, social and spiritual selves.
Can you conquer any fear you might have related to waiting? Of course , you can! You can allow yourself permission to do nothing, to simply BE. Obviously, stillness is the opposite of needing to focus on being busy and DOING. Waiting reminds you to value yourself for being in contrast to doing.
If a person can not learn to slow down and wait, they put themselves at a greater risk for fall-out symptoms such as alcohol and drug abuse, psychosomatic symptoms, breakdown of the immune system, and, most significantly, debilitating anxiety and depression.
I believe that we can can learn to live these in-between days and weeks in a state of “quiet calm” while also respecting our own yearning and desire to return to our former pace. Only if you don’t perceive this temporary time-out as a waste of time…but rather as an opportunity to relax, have meaningful conversations, rest, and even rediscover your true priorities in life.
If you would like to develop this ability to live in the present, then you will have the desire you need to move into practicing your new way of being.
Practicing quiet calm
There are many ways to work on learning how to inhabit quiet calm. Here are just a few I practice and want to share with you:
- Mind the gap – Train yourself to notice the space between stimulus and response. When something happens that makes you feel impatient, before you respond with your usual thoughts or gestures, STOP and choose a more mindful, quiet-calm response.
- Nurture your spirit – Use the time to give attention to your beliefs and values. Pray, read spiritual texts or quotes, watch uplifting videos, and contemplate the eternal.
- Sit in stillness – Sit in stillness and simply observe what is happening around you. Pay attention to all the amazing things you can experience with your five senses. Meditation is an alternate method of sitting in stillness. In meditation, you go inward instead of observing the outward.
- Stay connected – Reach out to other people. This strengthens the bonds of love that make life worth living.
- Love yourself – It is a gift to be alive, and you are a unique and worthy human being capable of giving and receiving love. Use moments of quiet calm to silently affirm this to yourself.
- Journal thoughts and feelings – Journaling creates a safe place of solace, a place where you can fully express yourself no matter what you are experiencing.
- Banish worry – Worry tends to find a foothold in moments of waiting. If you find yourself worrying, that means you are thinking about future “what ifs” instead of experiencing this moment. Live in the NOW.
- Engage your body – When you find yourself slipping into worry or impatient waiting, do something active. Go for a walk. Grab a broom and sweep. Dance. Do some stretches. Play like a child.
- Cultivate kindness – Mindfulness and kindness go together like soil and seed. In this moment there is no baggage, which lives in the past, there is only empathy and appreciation. Expressed empathy and appreciation is kindness.
- Be generous – Use this time to practice generosity. You can give away possessions you no longer need but someone else can use, for example. You can gift someone with a book you believe may help them. “Do good things, and good things will follow” is the mantra I try to live by.
- Breathe – If you find yourself anxious, stressed, or impatient, pay attention to your breath. Breathe in to a count of four, hold for four, and breathe out to a count of four. Do this as many times as it takes to find your sense of quiet calm.
- Daydream – Daydreaming, wishing, and hoping are all precursor activities. They help us imagine and clarify our best futures. Making a vision board is an in-the-now activity to capture and set your intentions to realize your dreams. What does your vision board look like?
In this dormant period, we have extra time to spend on these quiet-calm activities. And in doing so, we will discover that the wonder of waiting is that there is no such thing as waiting—there is only ever living each moment as it arises. Is it not true, that, with the exception of the significant reality that we may be temporarily physically separated from loved ones, this rare opportunity to practice living in the now is a taste of life at its best.
The wonder of waiting is that if we use this hiatus to practice quiet calm, when restrictions are lifted we will be equipped to return to our “old normal” as changed people. Life will never be the same, but in a good way. And imagine what this world can be if even a small percentage of us are transformed into more patient, mindful, kind, and generous people.
Right now, I invite you to use the next moment to call someone you care about and let them know that you love and miss them, but until you can see them again, you are putting this waiting period to the best possible use.
You are invited to participate in our contest ending January 31st, 2021 – so please hurry!
When you click and join the private Facebook group PTSD & Grief: Thrivers and Survivors, you have a chance to win an hour long FREE consultation! Click on the image to be taken directly to the page.
A little bit about Irene Andrejczuk:
Irene is the founder of Optimum Health Clinic in Montreal. She is a Naturopath and Clinical Nutritionist who specializes in gut-brain health and hormone balancing using a holistic approach. Irene is also an accredited counselor in the areas of PTSD, grief/loss, bereavement, depression, anxiety, adjustment to injury or illness and trauma and uses evidence-based techniques to help clients conquer their fears and heal their heart.
She can easily be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org