Sunday, February 7, 2010

Waiting. . .

Heroes take journeys,
confront dragons,
and discover the treasure of their true selves.
~Carol Lynn Pearson

Dragons of Destiny © 2009 by Melissa Johnson.

Several years ago, at the Art of Music Gallery in Vegas, I saw a charcoal sketch created by rocker Grace Slick. It depicted a nude woman from behind, crouched low with her head sort of tucked to one side in a position befitting the artwork’s simple title, “Waiting.” I stood before it mesmerized.

How often had I felt at the mercy of something outside of myself, waiting ... for the next great idea … waiting for the right relationship to arrive … waiting to connect with my true life purpose … waiting for my big financial break … waiting for this person or that organization to recognize my value and worth … waiting for the day when all the pieces of my life would come together in a cohesive, meaningful way that would finally move me from the waiting list to actually living the life that I had been waiting for.

We’ve all done it to greater or lesser degrees. The offices of psychotherapists are filled with people who can’t quit doing it—this inclination to look to the future and dwell on the past. It’s maddening, and quite possibly our greatest obstacle to finding true happiness and peace of mind. And while counting down the hours, days, weeks and months are human illusions of a quantifiable future, in the final analysis we must ask ourselves: What are we waiting for?

Emancipate yourself from mental slavery;
No one but you can free your mind.
~Bob Marley

Maybe we enjoy a delicious meal with friends or family and, while eating, we’re already talking about what we’re going to eat at our next meal. Or, while gathered with family for Christmas, our discussion turns to how we’ll celebrate the holiday next year—a whole year away. Maybe we’re on a date with someone and we’re wondering about the future of the relationship—where will it go? Or we’re on a fabulous vacation but unable to relax, consumed with a general uneasiness and guilted by all we’ve left behind. Maybe we’ve taken a step in the direction of our dreams, yet the joy of positive action is overshadowed by a million little details that we’ve yet to address or our fear of failure. Why can’t we just enjoy the delicious chocolate mousse with raspberry drizzle?

I’ve asked myself a thousand times, how can we be expected to stay grounded in our experience moment by moment when filled with dreams and desires that require some measure of forward thought, planning, vision, movement, and, yes, waiting, to make them real? Anyone who has pursued higher education, started a business, built a house, had a baby, or lived their dreams with any success will tell you that it doesn’t just happen by waking up in the morning and wishing it so. It takes action, commitment and patience, while the crop ripens or the idea matures.

Consider this: The Hopi Indians view the world as either being manifest now, in the present moment, or in the process of manifesting from the unseen world of Spirit. Their word for this is “tunatyava,” meaning comes true being hoped for. The word contains no verb tenses to indicate past, present or future—everything simply is, although at different stages of being. What is thought or felt in the heart is silently communicated to the Spirit world from which everything manifests. It’s all one continuous cycle of creation. We could learn a few things from the Hopis.

The masterpiece doesn’t create itself;
it must be guided by the artist’s hand.

Perhaps the key lies not in eliminating our forward thought and past reflection all together, but in learning how to constructively work with our thoughts, for we are not our minds--they are great servants when we direct their course but terrible masters when they get on top of us.

Remember, if we spend our time in an anxious state—stuck in the past or obsessing about the future, doing battle with the dragons of worry, guilt, doubt and fear—we may not be free to enjoy the very special and lovely things about this moment. For the only creative moment we ever really have is right now.

Ask yourself:

1.  How do I spend my meantime? Do I fill the time battling dragons or do I focus with faith on the gifts of my time lapse? (Remember, it takes just as much energy to worry or feel guilty as it does to do something constructive, yet each action produces very different results.)

2.  What can I do today to honor forward movement while staying present in my current experience?

3.  Is there a person or group who can benefit now from the gifts and talents I bring to the world, instead of waiting for some future moment to be all that I am?

4.  What can I do to refocus on the present when I find myself doing battle with the dragons of my mind?

5.  What will be the masterpiece of my life?

By Melissa Johnson


Anonymous said...

I love it. “tunatyava,” meaning comes true being hoped for.

I hope. I dream. Boy do I dream, Melissa. About lots of things. I just hope I'm moving in the right direction :) And even married you have waiting at all times... but then you know that. You're a fun writer to read. You're deep, but I can relate. Thanks. -J

Janet said...

I LOVE this one!!! Thank you!

Kim Bendillo said...

I spent my Artist's Date with your blog--your writings are so beautiful and thought provoking. I am spending the evening with a I wanted to spend some Come-ALIVE time with you! Thanks for sharing! ;)

Melissa Johnson said...

Thank you all for reading and commenting!

Kim~ I am honored that you chose my blog for your Artist's Date last week. It's wonderful that you are carving out real time for creativity and exploring your passions... Though as a designer, creativity is in your blood.

I welcome your thoughts and feedback.

Cheers! Melissa