“Always we hope someone else has the answer, some other place will be better…

  • “Always we hope
    someone else has the answer, some other place will be
    some other time,
    it will turn out
    … This is it.”    
    Pema Chodran

    Abiding truth.  This.   It recalls T.S. Eliot’s “Hope would be hope for the wrong thing” as he too, calls us to the Waiting.  

    the Being Here.


    just  Here.


    It requires the body in full presence.  Anxiety hates waiting. Monkey mind, that chatterbox and ally to the gods of productivity, recoils in the face of Waiting. Of Being just Here.



    just the Waiting.

    What might arise in that void of activity?

    Monkey mind is pretty sure nothing good will come of this “Waiting” this just “being Here.”

    And now we find ourselves deep in the season of Waiting: Advent.  In the Christian tradition, the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are designed to be a spiritual preparation.   Even more than physical preparation.  The gift giving of this season of the return of Light to the world is an outward manifestation of generosity, particularly the generosity of God.

    Black Friday. Cyber Monday. That’s trickier. These are built on scarcity. “Only this day. You must act and buy or you ‘lose’ the  bargain.” That thinking and energy is the opposite of generosity. It is scarcity.

    But I digress. Back to Waiting. To just being.

    The Pema Chodron poem I opened with indicates a surrender in this “Waiting.” Surrender takes humility and openness. Maybe I am not the best judge of what is best for me in the whole of my life? What is desired now could become a poison to my soul  then.

    Yet, how does this willful, German-stubborn woman (me) surrender to what is?  How do I wait in that? Instead of jumping to what could be?

    I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
    For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
    For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
    But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
    Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
    So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.  

    T.S. Eliot

    It is hard indeed not to wish for what we believe we want. For most of us it is a heavy lift to open to, be curious about, and actually embrace the reality we have in this moment rather than the one we “think” we should have or the one that we “believe” will make us happy.

    I can think of so many times in my life I was mistaken about what would make me happy. Or what would be best. And even in the times I was right, how much joy did I sacrifice, how much real life did I miss when I chose to give my attention to my preferences for a different and yet to be reality? To what “Could be.” Didn’t this wanting “some other place” or  “some other time” increase dissatisfaction with current reality? And of course it did.

    My first baby steps into “the Waiting” and into “Embracing what is” was a daily practice of gratitude, specifically, journaling my gratitudes and sharing them.

    The poets call us to surrender to the present moment and…to trust it. To trust reality!  If I trust that I am enough for my life and for what is yet to be, then I can “be here now.”  Just HERE.  Trusting the present moment, my current reality, requires trusting myself. Trusting I am “able” to meet this moment, whether it is to my liking or not.

    What helps me do this is to remind myself that preferences, “I want this and not that,” and, “It should be this way and not that way,” belong to the mental constructions of our Ego’s. They are not real. And therefore, they are not necessary. They are simply an idea, my preference. This is why spiritual and religious traditions ask us to surrender to “God’s” will over our own. They, too, know that our will comes from a place within that seeks security over vitality. This part of us seeks safety over experience. The entropy of the known and seemingly predictable over the aliveness of growth and newness.

    We humans have the amazing ability to imagine. To imagine new worlds. To imagine and then enact behaviors to reach these possible futures. “What Could be,”  and “What is yet to be” is indeed miraculous. This faculty is what makes us different from animals. We can take a step back, reflect on ourselves and our lives (New Year’s  resolutions) and imagine new futures for ourselves. I love our human capacity for “Could be.” I have made a living for over two decades helping people imagine themselves into new ways of behaving and responding, into new futures, into new ways of understanding and relating to themselves and others.

    I am all for “Could be.”  AND  I want to invite myself and you to fully be grateful for what is, embracing the yucky parts of “Here” before we start to imagine a different “Could be.”  Embrace the reality we have.  Poet David Whyte suggests in his articulation of conversational leadership/Invitas that we “Come to ground. That we meet the reality we have, not the one we wish we had.” I think the reality we have has its own secret treasures.

    Why do this?   For the sake of being able to chart our course forward from a  place of the soul’s revelation. Our soul desires are our true desires.  They are  often very  different than the preferences of our  Ego’s.  They are the ineffable and the abiding.   They reside in that still place within us that Eliot would have us wait in. They are “the dancing.”  Within their sweet embrace we do not hope for the wrong thing. There we do not love the wrong thing.  There, “the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.”

    And there lies the originality that was born in each of us.

    May this holy season,  this winter of Waiting bring each of you the peace that  surpasses  all understanding.
















    December 24th, 2019 | admin | Comments Off on “Always we hope someone else has the answer, some other place will be better… | Tags: , , , , , ,

About Nancy


Nancy C. Wonders is an interior designer. The “interiors” she designs are psychological, not physical, space -- a client’s personal interior landscape, or the emotional barometer of a team, or an entire organization. Nancy’s office includes a “design bar” where clients have a chance to re-invent how they see themselves and/or their organizations. These re-structurings result in discovering what is fresh, new and alive. This discovery prompts profound, immediate change, on both the inside and in interactions with others. Read more»

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