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.


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.

…and Becoming

I call those two years my Waiting and Becoming years. When the time was right, the waiting ended, signaling a whole shift in who I was, in fact, becoming. Suddenly, it once again became about the doing. But in reflecting back to that time, I realize that something really critical was happening during those Waiting and Becoming years. For lack of a better phrase, I was finding myself: reading books, reaching out to people, spending alone time thinking, and silently preparing for the person I was becoming.

The thing is, you can’t rush that process. There are no Cliffs Notes to get you through class. In fact, there’s not even a class. Often, there’s nothing to do … except wait.

Then, when the time is right, the wheels start spinning, and next thing you know, you’re racing through life again, plundering full steam ahead, longing, wistfully, for those quiet days of Waiting and Becoming (while still trying to be here now). It’s all about patience. And for me, it was a profound lesson in trust. Things didn’t happen on my schedule. But they did happen- when I was ready and the time was right.

We All Must Wait

What I sense from many of you Pinkies is that you may feel tired of waiting. But speaking from my own experience, I say don’t rush it. Don’t stress about it. Don’t fight it. Stop resisting. This waiting process is vital. You must go through it. And when the time is right (you’ll know when that is), you’ll feel the shift. All the signs will align, and you will know it is, once more, time to move.

Until then, enjoy this time. See it for the ripe, fertile period that it is. Explore it with a spirit of adventure and anticipation. Get excited about it. You never know what you will discover while you are waiting.

What’s happening to you? Are you feeling impatient with waiting? Do you wish you could skip it and move forward? Are you discouraged or disheartened? Shift your perspective. Look for the opportunity in the waiting. Tell us what you see.

Related Links:
The Concentrated Strength of Patience
3 Ways to Practice Patience at Work


Michele Wilkinson

Thank you

Patricia H.
Patricia H.6 years ago

Great article

J.L. A.
JL A6 years ago

good insight and reminders--thanks

Tim Cheung
Tim C6 years ago


Shirley E.
Shirley E6 years ago

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.

autla l.
Terra S7 years ago


Ana Sonata
Ana S7 years ago

Vielen Dank!

Susan S.
Susan S7 years ago

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.

Deborah W.
deborah w7 years ago

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.

Jane H.
Jane H7 years ago

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.