W Waiting

These are very brief extracts from Susan Schwartz’s and my recently published book ‘Aging & Becoming ~A Reflective Enquiry’. Susan E. Schwartz is identified as SES and I’m not adding anything this time round. This is from the chapter Waiting.

It’s a public holiday here in South Africa – Freedom Day, the day on which 23 years ago, Mr. Nelson Mandela was the first democratically elected president. We waited so long for this – and we’re still waiting for democracy in its best form to manifest.

SES: Waiting as part of life brings to mind an entire day spent in the African bush… waiting for the wild dog pups to appear. …Did we ever see those pups even though we were there for hours? No. But the point seemed to be that we were there. We felt the rawness of existence; how the animal lives in the bush, waiting, lurking, looking. We might have missed all that unless we slowed down, been observant, patient, expectant. Gradually, just waiting subsumed the goal. The present moment was entirely full. How often do we take the time to wait? pg. 130

Mary Oliver

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

26 Comments on #AtoZ Blog Challenge W Waiting

  1. I spend a lot of time waiting. I don’t like to wait for other people when I’m ready and they’ve had plenty of time ahead knowing when they should have been ready. Waiting for appointments can be annoying especially considering I’m usually early.

    Sometimes there are things worth waiting for while at other times they are annoying shows of a lack of respect from others. And then there are the times when we just have to wait because it’s the way things are.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    • Hi Arlee, I agree enforced waiting because of others’ lateness is my worst. there are other times when waiting in anticipation for eg a parcel in the post is quite exciting! Thank you for coming by!

  2. Hi Susan – such a great question ‘Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?’ … and how we need a quiet place to settle those plans and wait no more. Being in the bush is so therapeutic … I was lucky enough to see wild dogs and pups in the Okavango … Waiting is good with enjoyment of quietude to the fore, while get on with life otherwise – be of benefit. Oh gosh I do hope SA will sort itself out – it is such a great country, but needs a democratic selfless leader … with thoughts at what is obviously a difficult time in SA – Hilary


    • Waiting-with enjoyment of quietude to the fore. Such a lovely attitude to hold Hilary. I will remember that. I’m getting better I reckon; aging I think is helping knocking off the rough edges of my impatience. Thank you for coming by. Susan

  3. Loved the image and the quote as well. waiting and observing does not come naturally to me, as I always want to be doing something or the other as I feel I may waste my time:) as I age I begin to realise, its ok to wait, observe and sometimes even waste time with my daughter or children whom I love.. and these moments too contribute to growth and learning, thanks for sharing !!

    • Thanks Genevive for coming by and saying about the difficulty of waiting. It’s not an easy quality – one that that I grapple with too! Time with children is never wasted! I remember saying to my sons when they were small, and they would sometimes say they were bored – I would say how lovely! Time to do nothing. Go and lie outside and look at the clouds if you like … 🙂

  4. I feel much more comfortable with waiting as an OK way to spend time. Sometimes, I busy myself (clean out the car while waiting in the parking lot for someone to arrive). But other times I just look around and breathe. It’s nice to feel there is no hurry.

    Affirmations for a Good Life

  5. Sounds like a worthwhile activity, waiting like that. A good exercise in slowing down the sometimes hectic pace of life.

    Happy Freedom Day!

  6. Waiting is not my most developed skill. Anxiety sneaks in. Patience, holding on while a conflict works its way to resolution, allowing my imperfections to be as they are, and waiting for the political situation to change when I can do little except join others in protest. Meditation is the ultimate waiting “activity” in my life.

    • Thanks Elaine for coming by. I too am not a patient person although I am forced into it at times. I’m glad there a few mentions of the political scenarios playing themselves out on both sides of the seas. I feel the inner and outer conflicts and for me meditation is a very useful tool that helps me get by a bit –

  7. I need to pay better attention to your words. I have a bias for action that often precludes waiting.

    As for Waiting for Democracy, I fear it is fizzling here, in its most evidenced application, with freedom of speech the first victim. Sigh.

    • Wasn’t there a Leonard Cohen song Democracy? Oosh, re freedom of speech being a victim. I fear the same here too. But we will never give up. We fought long and hard for democracy and we won’t have it snatched away. We will take to the streets as we have done before. My musician son has just produced a protest song. He’ll be here tomorrow overnight. I’ll see if he can access it for me so I can out it up on a future post ..

  8. Happy Freedom Day! That has such a nice sound to it. Whenever I read that Mary Oliver question, I always answer the same thing: Pay Attention. Suppose that’s the kind of answer she had in mind?

    • Reminds me of Me and Bobby McGee (Janis Joplin) Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose – thanks Ally Bean – I could go on about freedom – it sounds nice I agree, but we must aim for many more freedoms, eg freedom from poverty, abuse, conditioning, corruption –

    • Thanks Susan – free space – a lovely image. Emptiness – if the space was full, it wouldn’t be able to take any more. It makes me think of a bowl – if empty it could be filled –

  9. Dear Susan, I hope you’re celebrating, and enjoying Freedom Day! I agree, today’s a public holiday that’s been well worth the wait. I love that photograph of Nelson Mandela (1994) smiling with voting slip in hand, changing your country’s history forever … and yet, still the waiting for further change goes on, and that can be so frustrating. Wonderful to read all about SES’s wild pups in the bush day. I love, love, love Mary Oliver’s quote!

    I read somewhere that tears are words waiting to be written and the poet in me finds this deeply true, alongside words for smiles too! It seems that the ability to wait these days is a rare gift, in a world that wants everything yesterday. We’re used to instant gratification with phones, internet and food … yet I delight in nothing more when slow cooking, and my home fills up with different aromas. Well worth the wait! Blessings always, Deborah.

    • Thanks Deborah, it’s been a pleasant day. There were celebrations around the country, some marches/protests too. We enjoyed the autumn colours at the country club this morning. A delight. It is an ability to wait these days in this world of instant gratification as you say. Such value in slow and steady. As in a dream or a painting or a poem unfolding .. or the therapeutic process.

      Tears are words waiting to be written – oh that is so lovely. I can imagine them piercing you. Blessings to you, Susan

  10. Yes, I agree with Robbie’s comment, that you two have described waiting very well. Sometimes we have to wait for something special… like the arrival of a baby that decided to come on their time and not yours. Or waiting for Susan’s country to fully adopt Democracy. I especially could relate for waiting in the wild for the wild dogs to appear. I wait at the edge of the marina and sometimes seals appear to dance in the water. Or I wait for a rainstorm to pass and a rainbow appears. Waiting can be frustrating and rewarding, but it is amazing what we experience in that wait.

    Now, I’m betting you two can hardly wait for “Z” to appear so that you can rest. But you have done an excellent job with your posts. I have enjoyed them. Congratulations.

    • Thanks Gwynn for coming by. I love your examples – sometimes I too just wait – e.g. at the edge of the sea while looking out, or for a mood to pass. You’ve got the paradoxes there about waiting; both frustrating and rewarding. I remember Susan giving a public lecture a long time back and she used this shared example of waiting in the wild for the pups to appear. It reminded me of the therapeutic process –

  11. Waiting only seems to matter, or at least register, with the “doing” part of ourselves. The “being” part has no need to hold the concept.

    Wishing you joy celebrating Freedom Day.

    • I’ll have to ponder your thoughts on this Deborah, thank you for coming by. But I think I get what you’re saying – being while waiting – even if it has its own angst?

      Thank you re Freedom Day – that’s a concept worthwhile holding in mind.

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