‘A waiting person is a patient person. The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us’.
Henri J.M. Nouwen
Waiting can sometimes be a source of frustration. When we are surrounded by a culture of productivity, things can be seen as a test or comparison, the shape of our bodies, the hours we work, what we earn or what we buy can be judged and measured, influencing our attitude towards ourselves and others. When I was nursing years ago, I remember trying to be all things to all people, never saying no to what I thought was needed at the time. I was dedicated. However, on reflection, I was also a workaholic and a people pleaser. The consequence was, I almost suffered burnout, the result of which would have left me useless for all, including myself. Most of my decisions were made hurriedly, I didn’t wait and felt unfulfilled in many ways.
Exhausted and at a very low ebb in my life, a friend and I attended a retreat and I was introduced to Zazen (Buddhist meditation). In the beginning, the experience of practice appeared to make things worse! However, something kept me going and after many years of going on with practice and study, I believe I am discovering more of my authentic self and taking part in something much bigger.
I hope this little poem expresses some of the difficulties of learning to sit still, question myself and see things differently.
So who is it who waits and who is it who acts? I wish to learn from my teachers, know not to copy them, find my real authentic self and play a part in life as best I can. Who will that be tomorrow, I don’t actually know.
What is Waiting?
Will I see colours, blues and purples?
They say blue is spacious and purple is very spiritual,
I read about the bliss and the explosion of light,
Can I feel the same, no, try as I might?
When will the bell ring?
I need to move,
this pain in my back is changing my mood.
This body can be troublesome,
these thoughts are too much,
If things were different, then I’d be in touch.
Who is it sitting here, is it me?
Maybe there’s more to know and to see.
But first, acceptance and patience to wait,
for this little child who will open the gate.
Stepping out to finally greet,
what is always calling me to meet?