I’ve never liked waiting. For anything. Today in a short line at my local pharmacy, there was only one cashier; and she was training an obvious new hire. OMG. I heard identical, patiently-repeated instructions in monotone from the head cashier, after each identical mistake the new person made. “Second checker, please!” I sent this command telepathically to store management, to no avail. Rather than whip out my phone (I’d already checked my mail and news feeds) my eyes began scanning shelves around me for what I might need, but didn’t know I needed – yet. The new hire was aware of the vibes being directed toward her from the restless people in line and was growing increasingly flustered. I considered a space-age-looking nicotine delivery ‘barnacle’ for the skin. I don’t even smoke, but the idea of a drug patch was tempting at that moment.

Waiting, big or small, means something or someone else is in control. Yes, I have an uneasy relationship with that word. I think I should have more of it; the Universe believes I should have less. You know how that goes, right? I get lots of lessons about ‘waiting’. But I’m not really talking about store lines here; or waiting at the train station or airport; or, to see my dentist or eye doctor. In these venues I’m able to distract myself while waiting: I almost always have something to read in my super-sized purse (which is usually carrying what I might need if stranded for two days).

No. The control I long for is over the big stuff. Putting Heartbreak behind me. Waiting for New Love. Getting past a significant Disappointment. Being able to Move to a new city, free of the obligations tying me to my current one. Waiting for that ‘shift’ in the heart and mind that gives instant relief: the signal that I’m over the hump of waiting for the vanishing-act of whatever hurt, frustration, or longing that’s taken control of my wellbeing.

Like most people, I’ve read a lot (and even absorbed some wisdom) about Perfect Timing. I’m referring to the philosophy that all things unfold in the time and manner that they should. In my heart I know this to be mostly true. (Try telling someone whose son just overdosed ‘All is As it Should Be’ – tough sell, that one.) But my brain is another matter. There’s a reason that I struck out on my own when I was 17. There’s a reason behind my career choices (allowing for so much autonomy). I know where I’m going and I want to be in charge of how and when I get there. Note:  I don’t want or need to control other people, just my immediate surroundings.

How did I get this way? The list is long, friends. Part of it is my personality, but much of it relates to the circumstances surrounding my early years. Not feeling able to trust that Those in Charge knew what they were doing. I had evidence. Even as a young kid. So, as soon as I could, I took action; I made changes; I grabbed control of my own journey-forward in emotional and material ways. The problem now is – well, it’s not really a problem anymore, since I stumbled on the solution recently. The problem was how to transition (comfortably) from Action to Receptivity.

Receptivity (not new in my knowledge, but in actual practice) is not the same thing as being passive. Receptivity is allowing, instead of resisting. It takes plenty of attention and engagement, as I’m finding out. Receptivity takes the ‘sting’ out of waiting for me, in that it allows me to see, feel and appreciate the small steps I’m taking – even when it feels like I’m standing still. Do I still fight the need to take action when Life’s just not moving fast enough in the direction I want it to go? Absolutely. ‘Action’ is what I’m used to; it’s always been my go-to strategy. But I’m going to give Receptivity some time – a month or so ? Or…maybe I won’t give it a timeline at all, but instead, see where it wants to take me.

Dr. Michele Taylor M.A., Counseling Psychology; Psy.D., Organizational Psychology Focus: Empowering all Women; Supporting Women in Leadership Roles; Individuals & Organizations in Transition; Aging Well; Adolescent Psychology; Establishing & Maintaining Healthy Relationships; Coaching and Consulting.

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