Some days it feels like you spend all your time rushing from one place to another. That life is just a series of transitions between appointments, classes, and activities.
And then there are the bigger transitions. Waiting to hear about the new job or the move. The time between.
It can feel like lost time. When nothing is happening and nothing is being accomplished. We are a culture that values the accomplishments, not the time between.
When you are waiting you are living in the future. Looking for the next piece to unfold. How does that take you out of the present and stop you from enjoying the moment that is happening right now?
Notice your normal pattern. Do you get agitated? Are you in a hurry to get from Point A to Point B? If you are doing this in one place in your life, you are likely carrying that pattern into other aspects. Rushing through the day...in a hurry for the weekend...waiting for vacation.
There is a saying. “The way you do anything is the way you do everything”. How you choose to spend the small moments may carry over to how you choose to spend all the moments of your day.
Driving in traffic. Waiting in line at the grocery store. On hold. It’s easy to move quickly to frustration. You’re not getting anywhere. Time feels like it’s being wasted.
Take ten deep breaths. How does it feel? Instead of allowing the time to heighten your stress response choose to breathe. To move into the rest and restore mode of your nervous system instead of fight or flight.
Use the transition time to nourish and nurture. Did you know that just by breathing deeply into your belly and back you can relieve compression on the vertebrae in your neck? Shallow breathing can cause a tightening in the cervical spine.
2. Focus on the Present.
Look around. How many people are on their phones in line? At the store, at a restaurant. The moment you have to wait, out come the devices. It is something to do.
What if you put your phone away? Took that time to be present in the moment. Engage your senses. What do you see, smell and hear? How does taking the time to notice, to tune it, expand your awareness?
3. Enjoy Where You Are.
The way you view your time is a choice. You can choose to be annoyed sitting in traffic, but it won’t get you there any sooner.
Or you can choose gratitude or patience. Enjoy the opportunity to slow down and breathe. Listen to an audiobook or a podcast, call a friend or simply enjoy a few moments of silence.
Recognize that the current situation may be out of your control. But what is in your control is the reaction to that situation. Yes, you might be late. Or frustrated by the waiting.
But this is still your time. The moments of your day. How will you choose to show up in the moments between the appointments on your calendar?
4. Let Go of the Plan
You plan. It’s human nature. You set goals, timelines, and deadlines. And then life happens.
The car breaks down. The kids get sick. And the whole plan needs to shift.
Wherever you were supposed to be isn’t going to happen,
The Buddha says, “The root of suffering is attachment”. Would you suffer less if you let go of what you think should be happening?
The uncertainty...the waiting...is it because you think something else should be happening? A different plan, a different end result?
Maybe you see it as a transition only because you are waiting for what you think should be coming. What if you stopped waiting for what was next?
Can you put as much care and awareness to these moments as we do to the ones that we think are more important?