Monday, December 13, 2010


"This hexagram shows the clouds in the heavens, giving rain to refresh all that grows and to provide mankind with food and drink.
The rain will come in its own time.
We cannot make it come; we have to wait for it.
--Hexagram 5, I Ching Book of Changes, Wilhelm/Baynes trans.

What are you waiting for?

To finish something so you can get on to something else?
For a lucky break? To find out what happens? For an ordeal to be over? For a danger to pass? To get to the head of the line?

Waiting has been on my mind. This fall I worked on a picture about the dark side of waiting. More recently, I've been waiting to find out whether something I really hope for will happen. Waiting is only a problem when my impatient mind rushes ahead trying to stack up future decisions on the shaky foundation of this unknown.

When I wait impatiently, I wheedle for insider information from the Universe--come ON! Give me a hint? My hungry mind is like a kid badgering for candy at the checkout. This is tiring and not nourishing. The I Ching reminds me to conserve my energy for later when there's something to do

"We should not worry and seek to shape the future by interfering in things before the time is ripe. We should quietly fortify the body with food and drink and the mind with gladness and good cheer. Fate comes when it will, and thus we are ready."
--I Ching Hexagram 5 Wilhelm/Baynes

A Quick Way to Fortify The Body-Mind

Sometimes good cheer isn't so easily come by during a wait. Here's something that always seems to help: Instead of trying to drop impatience, simply bring attention to the space behind your back.

No matter what's filling it, there's just as much space behind as in front of you (and above and below and to the sides). Give attention to that back space, and allowing the body to settle into it instead of pressing forward and up.

Get comfortable, exactly where you are. Breathe quietly. Let me know if this works for you, too, to restore some gladness.

Waiting Patiently w/Halo (digital self-portrait by Jude '10)

The saintly approach

It is also possible to wait too patiently--to put your life on hold in the hope that if you endure in limbo for long enough, passivity will somehow be rewarded and you'll get your way without ever having to do anything.

Circumstances don't often bend to fit this kind of fantasy. The antidote the I Ching advises? Self-honesty--get real.

"One is faced with a danger that has to be overcome. Weakness and impatience can do nothing....It is only when we have the courage to face things exactly as they are, without any sort of self-deception or illusion, that a light will develop out of events, by which the path to success may be recognized. This recognition must be followed by resolute and persevering action."
--I Ching Hexagram 5 Wilhelm/Baynes

Consult the oracle

Think of something particular that you're waiting for. If you're willing, jot down a question about handling the wait.

And pick a number between 1 and 6.

Let's play with a way of consulting one of the world's oldest advice columns (the I Ching). It won't foretell the future, but it might give you useful pointers on how to best wait in your situation.

Read the suggestion corresponding to your number and see how you can relate it to your question or situation. I'd love to hear in the comments what you discover.
  • 1. A challenge is coming, but it is not yet close. Go on with your life in a simple, alert and open way. Don't waste your strength on anticipation or rehearsals. Enjoy your present.
  • 2. Impending change is stirring up some insecurity. Take care not to indulge in blame (especially self-blame) or defensiveness. Remind yourself that it really is ok to not know what is going to happen yet, even if you don't like it.
  • 3. Don't hold back from fully completing a needed change. Half measures will not work now. Be vigilant about not following fearful or despairing thoughts or acting from their influence. Fears can make things appear stuck or impossible.
  • 4. There is nothing else you can do right now. Stop trying to force solutions or to figure anything out and remain calm, trusting in heart knowledge to get you out of danger when the time is ripe.
  • 5. Even though everything isn't resolved yet, now is a good time to pause and enjoy yourself. If you are waiting for something to be over with, you may be missing the true nourishment available in the present. Everything can't happen at once.
  • 6. Your good fortune may come in disguise. Question the thought, "I have to do it all" and remain alert and available to receive help in unexpected forms. All goes well in the end.


Are you waiting to reconnect more deeply with your own wisdom, clarity and ease? Talking with me might help. Answer a few questions here and we can set up a no-cost consult to see if we'd be a good fit to work together.