Waiting (or ’embracing timelessness’)

I used to love deadlines: found them energising, and focus-giving. I’d make up all kinds of deadlines for myself and stick to them religiously. Not any more!


I was thinking about this while I waited for a haircut in a place you don’t make appointments, where I drew this picture of us all waiting to be reincarnated through the medium of styling snipping and blow dry. It’s like a cheese counter: you take a ticket, then wait for your number to blink up digital red on the electric screen. Then, whichever hairdresser is free, is the one for you today.

I was trying to hurry in a haircut with a baby due any day soon, the baby who is here now on my lap as I’m tapping this post out one-fingered on my iPad. I’d stolen some time: in other words, my husband was taking the strain with the other two so the idea was that I nip in, get a trim, and back in time for brunch. But I hadn’t calculated on it being a Saturday=busy.

I waited. Eight numbers before mine; three of them male (gotta be quicker, right?). Half an hour? An hour? I gave in, settled in, and texted my husband the ultimate excuse: stuck waiting!

    Sometimes you’re forced to wait

Recently, I’ve had a few of those experiences life throws at you which remind you that the timing of things is totally beyond your personal control:-

> I was having our third child, and didn’t know when I’d go into labour, if at all
> The vendors of the plot of land we were in the middle of buying ‘paused’ our conveyancing until they had ‘explored’ an offer from another buyer, leaving us unsure when we’d have a definitive answer, let alone whether we’d be allowed to buy it eventually
> I got ill. Nothing terminal! When you’re ill though, you can only wait for your body to heal in its own sweet time

    Give it up

I discovered this: once you stop fighting reality, stop saying “that’s unfair! I want it to happen tomorrow!”, and just surrender to time to unwind the way it wants, then life feels so much lighter.

Try it now, drop into timelessness. Give yourself all the time in the world.

    Self-created deadlines

Have you told yourself you’ll do x by y deadline? Give it up. (Lose 10lb before your next birthday? Welcome to a birthday of dread and guilt and self-judgment. Learn to drive in 2016? And if you don’t? Stick with your relationship until new year? Why not just stick with it and see… Get married before you’re 40? Who knows when lightening strikes?). letting go and handing it back to the universe is utterly liberating.

    Forever is too long

Sometimes we’re just freaked out by not knowing when, and afraid that if we don’t shove time it won’t deliver, and the idea of timelessness and eternity just make us feel small and insulted. But all that pushing and planning everything, especially when life doesn’t conform to our plans, is just stress.

    It happens with perfect timing

Embrace timelessness and you’ll see the rightness of the way things happen exactly when they do. How beautiful, you got the news/baby/phone call/motivation to go running/insight needed around weight loss on that day: the day the leaves were yellow, or the day your friend called, the day you weren’t waiting anymore, because you let time unfurl before you just the way it does, which is the right way.

    Waiting is not waiting

Waiting is now. Active waiting. When you enter NOW you find it’s not inert, not just waiting defined as the opposite of taking action. Because the action is awareness and curiosity about the present, rather than putting off the present until the future has come to fruition in the way you hope.

When I tell my eating psychology coaching clients to sink into timelessness, I’m telling them to stop believing life begins when they’ve lost weight, stop inventing themselves timebound weight loss goals, and accept that when their body is ready and they are ready (who knows when exactly that will be?) the weight will shift. It’s understanding that something like weight, which can have bothered people for 20 years or so, might need more than a six-week crash fix-it diet to rebalance. Of course, the diet industry would have it otherwise!

    Back to the hairdresser’s.

The music was the closest I’ll come to a nightclub these days. The sun poured in. The hairdressers were busy and sarcastic and had stupid hairstyles. They grumbled about their long busy shift, but they looked like they made the most of their after hours. The people waiting were young and weird and wore dark glasses. The magazines were useless stuff like Vogue. I loved it. Every minute. It was a long wait for a wet trim, no blow dry; in fact, the haircut was pretty rubbish. But the wait was wonderful.