Do you feel like you are in a holding pattern, like a plane trying to land at a busy airport when the skies are congested? Circling, using up fuel, the view obscured by clouds, making little progress toward the next phase of your journey?
As I began writing this, my daughter-in-law was six days past the due date for their second child. She veered between trying to control the uncontrollable with acupuncture appointments and castor oil, tears of frustration, and savoring her family of three before it became a family of four. Anticipating the ordeal of labor and feeling the niggling fear of complications made it challenging to be present.
What are you longing for, waiting for, and hoping for?
Is there something beyond your grasp that promises to ease the ache of loneliness or calm the inner chaos?
When we are waiting, parts of us become uncomfortable with uncertainty. Uncertainty provokes protective members of the inner family. The unknown feels risky, so they step up to mitigate risk. Clenched fists of control feel safer than open hands of trust. They adapt to risk with various creative strategies—scripting possible scenarios, keeping you busy with task lists or distracting you with mind-numbing (albeit pleasurable!) activities.
These well-intentioned strategies have one thing in common: they restrict your ability to live as fully as possible in the present moment. I am not saying the goal is being “fully present.” Perfectionism is another protective strategy to avoid vulnerability. But we don’t want to miss today as we long for tomorrow.
How do you live your actual life while waiting for your desired life?
As always, our practice is to embrace and validate whoever and whatever we find inside ourselves. The vulnerable longings and hopes, the tender desires and dreams, the painful evidence that healing is elusive—and all of the ways our protectors try to shield us and carry us through—deserve attention. Depending on your specific circumstances, this can take significant time and effort. I don’t want to minimize the energy and intentionality required for establishing relationships with inner family members. But I want to encourage you that every bit of contact with them matters.
Invite inner family members to join you in the present moment.
Use your breath—deep inhale, slow exhale—to create a welcoming space for connection. Your presence helps them relax because they no longer feel alone. Notice how they feel in your body, the emotions they carry, the thoughts they hold—and invite them to breathe with you. Thank them for their dedication. Each meeting strengthens the relationship and builds their trust in your guidance.
As parts of you relax, you will have more access to God-given resources such as creativity, connection, and playfulness to enjoy the present. You will be less distracted when you are with family and friends. You will have more energy for work. And you will feel confident about taking breaks from being “productive.”
You don’t want to miss your actual life while waiting for your desired life.
What will you miss if waiting disconnects you from the present? The scent of spring and the sound of birdsong on your morning walk? The feel of your loved one when you embrace? The taste of a favorite beverage? A poignant moment that touches your heart? The energy in your body as you move—dancing, running, skiing, walking, swimming?
There is always something in the present moment worth your attention. When you connect with parts of you who take you out of the present, you can invite them to join you in savoring the moment. Our intention is not to bypass the real feelings and concerns they hold. The intention is to honor everything, including the present.