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Quietly centering yourself and discovering your breaths rhythm, begin to notice or become aware of how your body feels when you are “waiting”. It may be a feeling, sensation or thought, or perhaps nothing at all. Just stay with the noticing of waiting.

Is there a place in you that feels a sense of waiting?

It could be a longing, a giving up, an anticipation or even a hope.

Notice the quality of your felt sense of waiting. Pause.

As you sit in this awareness let us reflect on David Whyte's poem, "Everything is Waiting for You." Follow my voice as I share this reflection.

Waiting is often seen as a passive and unproductive state. We are conditioned to believe that we must be doing something, achieving something, or striving towards an outcome.

However, Whyte's poem challenges this notion and invites us to embrace waiting as a transformative experience. That in the wait there may be other _unseen_ actions taking place that have not yet entered your awareness.

The poem suggests that everything we need is already present, and is present in the ordinary of our lives, but we must be patient and allow it to reveal itself to us. The ordinary of our lives then, is an invitation to fully present living.

Waiting is not a time of inactivity, but rather a time of preparation and receptivity, and importantly self-discovery.

It is a time to listen to our inner voice, to reflect on desires and aspirations, and even the anticipatory loss of those things yet to arrive… and it is a time to cultivate a sense of openness and curiosity, even to Time itself.

In a world that values speed and efficiency, waiting can be a radical act of resistance. It allows us to slow down, to savor the present moment, and to connect with our deepest selves.

Pause for a moment, notice your body as you consider your waiting.

Waiting can be a time of growth and self-discovery, a time to shed old patterns and beliefs and to embrace new possibilities. It can also be a time of not knowing and of having no previous experience. Waiting can be unfamiliar.

Whyte's poem reminds us that everything we need is already here, and within us, and that waiting is simply a way of allowing our inner wisdom to emerge.

By embracing waiting as an embodied experience, we can cultivate a deeper sense of awareness of our waiting, its purpose, meaning, and even fulfillment in our lives.

Whyte invites us, "Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into the conversation. The kettle is singing

even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots

have left their arrogant aloofness and

seen the good in you at last. All the birds and creatures of the world are unutterably themselves. Everything is waiting for you.”

For our patients or those we care for. Waiting can feel frightening, stuck, and unfamiliar, yet at times hauntingly familiar. They are not just thinking about their waiting… they are living it in their bodies.

I invite you today. To be present to what’s not being spoken about in the waiting, but is evident in posture, tone, their eyes. As you attune your body to them, you may sense their cues and even bids for presence, patient waiting and gentle wondering.

Begin by finding a comfortable seated position, either on a cushion or in a chair. Close your eyes and take a breath in, filling your lungs with air. Hold it for a moment, and then slowly exhale, releasing any tension or stress you may be holding onto. Begin to find the rhythm of your breath.

As you continue to breathe, bring your attention to the present moment. Notice any sounds around you, the feeling of your body supported in the chair, and the sensation of your breath moving in and out of your body.

Now, bring to mind a memory where you are waiting. It could be waiting for a loved one to arrive, waiting for a life change, or waiting for test results. Whatever it may be, fully immerse yourself into the felt experience of waiting.

As you sense, notice where "waiting" lives in your body. Perhaps you feel anxious, excited, or impatient. You may notice your breath change, heart rate increase or slow. Even a feeling deep within the body or a sensation in your face. Whatever it may be, acknowledge it without judgment and allow this felt sense to be a new awareness of your lived experience.

Pause here as you discover this sense of waiting within you, and be present to any emotions, thoughts or feelings that emerge.

Now, bring your attention back to your breath. As you inhale, imagine breathing in calm and peace. As you exhale, imagine releasing any tension or stress you may be holding onto.

Now, visualise yourself in a peaceful environment, surrounded by nature. Perhaps you are sitting by a calm lake or walking through a beautiful forest. Allow yourself to fully immerse in this peaceful environment, feeling a sense of calm and tranquility wash over you.

As you continue to breathe deeply, remind yourself that waiting is a natural part of life, and is an example in nature. Beginnings, middles, and endings. Allowing us to slow down, reflect, and appreciate the present moment. Trust that just like leaves emerging in Springtime, everything unfolds in its own time, and that you are exactly where you need to be in this moment. Could this too then be true for you? Return to the body again, does the body believe that your unfolding is also at work in the waiting?

If you can, and in your own time, begin to welcome this thought into being... "Just as in nature, all things are unfolding in my life, as I wait".

When you are ready, slowly open your eyes and take a moment to ground yourself in the present moment.

Remember that you can return to this meditation anytime you need to find peace and calm while waiting.

After a delayed start to our book study For Atlas of the Heart by Brene Brown, we finally got together to explore our reactions and reorientation to the language of emotion in our lives.

After reflecting on the book as a whole and looking at aspects of Chapter 1, the themes we focused on were:

The image of maps and us as Map Makers

Power of language and its impact on our perception,

How our position/location on the map influences perception [which led to realising this could also mean our actual literal posture],

Our biography, biology, behaviors and backstories.

We could have talked for hours!

Towards the end, I offered those attending a chance to explore a part of themselves and the emotions experienced at a certain time or event in life. The exercise/reflection is included below. You will need a pen and paper and a good 20 mins for reflection.

This “MAP” should help you to locate several parts of self – formed in childhood development and still active today. It speaks to how our biography shows up in our biology, informs our habitual responses and behaviors, because we are being influenced by our old often subconscious experiences. My own example is of my 7yr old self, sick at school, who got sent to the principal’s office and at that time perceived the experience as a punishment, and it turns out it has sat in my subconscious, running an operating program for the best of 45 years.

Although not the only reason, exploring my experience and parts at that time, helped me to identify why: 1) I carry a strong sense of shame about being physically unwell (the irony was that I _was_ an asthmatic child), 2) I freeze inside, and potentially dissociate when under stress, particularly when exposing my vulnerability to others, like those in authority, 3) I struggle to trust older women who are aloof with me, 4) I rarely ask for help (although, this is getting better).

Parts often work in groups… and are embodied as sensation… and although we are reading a book about the language of emotion, neuroscience and neurobiology teach us that emotion, long before it was thought, began as a physical impulse (energy in motion) in the body.

Richard Schwartz's Internal Family Systems therapy influences the way in which I use this tool. IFS is known to increase Self-Awareness, helps people understand each other’s emotions, helps with Self-Acceptance, reduces stress and anxiety, enhances relationship skills, helps address trauma and PTSD symptoms and helps to build resilience, and we all could benefit from more of these!

Richards book No Bad Parts is worth the deep dive and reflection, and also speaks to religious identity development in relation to parts work.

So have a go at the tool, take some time to ponder and reflect on what you encounter and how you are living from that time and space today. If you feel overwhelmed or confused by your reflection, please reach out to your therapist, pastoral caregiver, or trusted safe person.

Hope you learn things about yourself… whenever you can’t quite locate what’s going on inside, this exercise helps to map out your experience and the other supporting (often unconscious) parts at play. Let me know how you go!

Download PDF • 188KB

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