As a butterfly waits for its wings, while in the chrysalis stage, it is in an active stage of waiting. Or a pregnant mama, as she readies her environment for the arrival of her baby, she enters into a state of active waiting.
Waiting isn’t necessarily ‘doing nothing’. For things to transition from one state to another requires active waiting, and it can be a difficult rhythm to adjust to, especially from a creative point of view.
Our culture tells us to ‘get out there and make something happen’, but this often leads to stress and frustration if the timing isn’t right.
I have a Dogwood tree in my backyard. This fall, the tree produced loads of beautiful, red berries. I watched the birds flitting to and fro on the branches, but they never touched those luscious looking red berries. They appeared ripe to me…but I admit I don’t know much about Dogwood berries…
Then one day, I looked outside and heard a bunch of birds chattering. I mean, it was loud enough for me to respond to it with a quick walk to the window. My full tree of red berries was being devoured by a group of Robins. In an hour, they had stripped that tree of all those berries.
How did they know that TODAY was the day to eat those berries? What impulse did they follow that led them to decide Today is the Day the Dogwood Berries Get Eaten in their little birdie brains?
I figure it has something to do with recognizing that TODAY those berries were at their optimum nutritional capacity for the birds to convert to flying energy. Animals are so attuned to their environment, to the ‘tells’ of when to use energy for action, or when to conserve it.
Nature is all about the right timing. Animals have a built in time-keeper that alerts them to the right time to eat, sleep, mate and reproduce themselves. We have the same time-keeper within us, when we slow down and stop ‘doing’ things that we compulsively do because we are not aware of the right timing of action for ourselves.
I was talking to a friend the other day about their habit of offering unsolicited advice and the frustration and anger they feel when ‘no one listens to me’ enters into their mind.
In my life, I am beginning to recognize and understand about the right timing to give wisdom and knowledge away to another so that it can offer the most help in moving that information along the human chain of understanding.
It’s really simple…the right timing is when someone ASKS you for it.
When they ask, the framework of a mutually satisfying exchange of information has been built, and that energy of that particular flavor of information is in its optimal state to be ‘digested’ by the one that receives it.
Maybe the Dogwood tree sends out some sort of ‘Eat my berries’ signal out into its environment when its ready for its berry seeds to be ‘deposited’ further afield by those flocks of fast moving birds. I don’t know exactly what the mechanism is…but I sure enjoyed watching the effects of it this fall.
I see so much online in the creative community about taking flight, getting your wings and so forth…but remember that it takes time to grow those wings, too.
And nothing fosters disappointment more than trying to fly with unfurled wings.
How did I start to recognize my particular tells when it comes to right timing?
I started with understanding the concept of trust first, and what I trust, and what I don’t.
I discovered that I had a belief about NOT trusting in life that had to be worked on in depth. It took about a year of active waiting to start cultivating this level of trust. I had to start with faith first…and life taught me to trust it. This last year has been an amazing incubation period for me as a result.
Then I moved towards understanding where in my life impatience and compulsive action-taking seems to show up the most.
I also started asking myself what are the usual results when I ‘jump the gun’ in whatever area I have the most frustration and anger around.
I started there…and discovered that when I try and force something to fit into my contrived schedule, I experienced the most frustration.
Our immediate environment is always communicating to us about right timing. If you are cooking and forget to set the timer for a batch of cookies, your nose will tell you when to take them out of the oven. Usually, the first whiff of cookie goodness you get is a tell that the timing is forthcoming to take them out of the oven, right?
Or when I’m hungry…I am starting to only eat when I am in response to what my body wants. Sometimes I don’t want to eat until 10pm! Normally, one would be conditioned to think that this is a terrible time to eat…but why fight what my body is telling me it needs? I experimented with this a few months ago, and I felt great. When I started eating again around the prescribed ‘breakfast, lunch and dinner times”, I started having digestive issues again.
As I was writing this, my dog, Sadie, started jumping on my leg, letting me know it’s her time to go pee. So, I stopped and responded to her own right timing. As it is especially cold outside right now, I didn’t have to wait for her to smell around stuff for 10 minutes before she finds just the right place to scent mark. We were in out and in in mere minutes! And while I was out there, life showed me again to trust it, because it gave me an idea about how to edit this post.
So, for me, this idea of right timing is about cultivating trust in life itself. Its about deciding to go with the flow, as my mother-in-law says, instead of forcing the flow.
There is a divine sense of inner peace and tranquility that occurs when I trust in life’s rhythms and ignore the often strong temptation to act with impulsivity and impatience.
I am part of life itself…and life has its own timing as far as where my energy is best spent.
But it requires active waiting…and patience, with a dose of will power to NOT act before its time.