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