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Waiting and Becoming

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Waiting and Becoming

There is a topic that has been recurring in my life recently: the issue of resistance, and what I call “Waiting and Becoming.”

Slowing Down

Back when I quit my job, we were living on the Monterey peninsula, a remote place where my life suddenly slowed way down. I knew hardly anyone, no longer had to work 72-hour call shifts, and the demand for my art slowed down as the economy faltered. My body was so used to running at 100 MPH that it literally took months for my fight-or-flight mechanisms to shut off. When they did, I suddenly heard the silence, and it freaked me out. But in time, I surrendered to the silence, came to appreciate the change of pace, and rested.

At the time, I felt this strange uncertainty. I tackled a new project – writing a book – which lent me some focus and direction for my energy, but I still had no clue where my life was going. After decades of absolute certainty (medical education is all about jumping through the hoops to get from A to B — B being a certain outcome if you dutifully complete the hoop-jumping), I suddenly had no idea what my life was about.

Waiting…

And so, I found myself … waiting. Waiting for what? Waiting for something BIG to happen. Waiting for a sign that I was supposed to go back to work. Waiting to get a literary agent. Waiting for a publisher to pick up my book. Waiting to decide where we should settle. Waiting for the other shoe to drop. Waiting for a certain calling. Something. Anything.

Have I mentioned that I’m really bad at waiting? Think about the person in the waiting room at the doctor’s office who is tapping her foot, checking her iPhone, reading a book, hassling the desk clerk – again, and looking harried. Yup. That’s me. Bad at waiting. I wanted to fast forward through the whole process and find out where I was going to BE. Which means (you guessed it), I was definitely not living in the moment.

At some point, I started to slow down and wake up. I realized that I can BE right here, right now. That BEing doesn’t have to exist at some future point. I can BE anytime. I decided to shift the words I was using. Instead of waiting to BE, I would BECOME. The word implies an active process, a caterpillar-to-butterfly transformation, even.

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Lissa Rankin

Lissa Rankin, MD is a mind-body medicine physician, founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute training program for physicians and other health care providers, and the New York Times bestselling author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself.  She is on a grassroots mission to heal health care, while empowering you to heal yourself.  Lissa blogs at LissaRankin.com and also created two online communities - HealHealthCareNow.com and OwningPink.com. She is also the author of two other books, a professional artist, an amateur ski bum, and an avid hiker. Lissa lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and daughter.

53 comments

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3:02AM PST on Jan 26, 2013

Thank you

1:56AM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

Great article

7:42AM PDT on Mar 26, 2012

good insight and reminders--thanks

12:33PM PDT on Oct 28, 2011

thanks

2:50AM PDT on Oct 3, 2011

I think it's enough just to notice what's happening. It might feel like you're waiting for something and that nothing much is happening but just like the spaces between the notes make the music, the calm periods of life are vitally important to the big picture. All we have to do is be awake to what's happening within.

10:07PM PDT on Sep 9, 2010

thanks

9:04PM PDT on Aug 29, 2010

Vielen Dank!

8:49PM PDT on Aug 29, 2010

This makes sense to me. Sometimes circumstances make you feel like you are stuck in a holding pattern - waiting for a sign, waiting for permission, or waiting to hear what the next step is to be. Medical issues are an example of what can make you feel like you are being held hostage to fate - but you just have to rely on faith and confidence that life is working out as it is meant to be. Thanks.

7:20PM PDT on Aug 29, 2010

yes, indeed this article has helped me just be. I am waiting also for inspiration and motivation to take my next adventure. In the meantime, I feel guilty about not using my time more constructively. Maybe I don't need to feel this.

12:25PM PDT on Aug 28, 2010

Somewhere in some psychology book I read that people have times of stasis or just staying and other times of activity or some thing like that. I am also in stasis right now...don't know what my next chapter/incarnation will be. It is hard for me to wait, too. But it has always been a great adventure when it happens.

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