The following post was written by Katherine Moore. Katherine has been teaching for The Perri Institute for Mind and Body since 2013. You can find her running all over New York City, working as a teacher, choreographer, freelance dancer, and writer. Relax with her at Steps on Broadway on Friday nights at 6:30pm for restorative yoga.
I have recently found myself in a period of waiting. Waiting for potential big changes. Waiting for more information that I need in order to make decisions. Waiting for trains. Waiting for February temperatures to give way to spring. Waiting in the doctor's office for literally 3 hours this morning. Waiting for other people to do their part. Wherever I go this sense of both expectation and the feeling that Nothing-Is-Happening (!!!!) is following me around.
Some of this is seasonal. I'll freely admit that winter and I concluded the good part of our relationship a week or two ago. I always get a touch of cabin fever in late February. A sense of restlessness and burgeoning anticipation of the change in season seems to ooze into my body and mind no matter how hard I try to practice patience, patience, patience.
This year, however, a few, distinct parts of my life are causing me to feel a heightened sense of expectation for what might come in the future…but not yet. I won’t bore you with the details, but I am hoping to soon be in the midst of some big transitions…maybe…it if it all turns out the way I hope.
Being the proactive, doer-type that I am, it probably comes as no surprise that I’m someone who prefers resolution to indecision. I rarely fear making the wrong choice, but I often fear that I might be put into situations where I have no choice. My instinctual sense of direction, both geographically and metaphorically, is a deep part of myself that I rely on constantly. Naturally, things get a bit interesting when I realize that my intentions can’t be carried out without the assistance of people, organizations, money, and possibly even the cosmic alignment of stars and planets.
So that leads me back to the waiting, and my curiosity about how to weather this season of unknowing with not only grace and a sense of calm, but with pleasure. Is it possible to turn my preference for a sense of arrival into joy not for what lies ahead, but for all the things that are possible in that moment before you find out what is actually going to happen? Isn’t that the best part of any story? The moment before the resolution is always more exciting (albeit panic-inducing) than the final culmination, so how do we turn a moment of nothingness into a moment of something (wait for it)…ness?
After a recent conversation with a close friend, where I freely admit that I was mildly panicking about my current situation, she sent this quote my way.
I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.
-Rainer Maria Rilke
I’ve been sitting with these words all day, particularly that bit about “living everything.” As much as we might want to skip ahead to the next step, to just be there already, that place in the future actually doesn’t hold any more importance than the place we’re in right now.
Skipping ahead doesn’t actually exist in life. Every moment, all the waiting and the wringing of hands and the frustration and the wanting holds equal weight on the scale with the moments of “I’m here,” “We did it,” “Congratulations!”.
So while I’m waiting for my big answers, I’m also looking around me and seeing the futile efforts to get ahead. This morning someone in front of me pushed the revolving door at the exit of the subway station so vigorously fast that I actually got momentarily stuck inside as my bag was impaled by the rotating metal bars. I shake my head when pedestrians nearly cause accidents by racing across the street in front of moving vehicles, disregarding the brightly lit hand saying “Wait. Stop. Pause before you continue.” I laugh when people on either side of me are running down icy steps because, yeah, sure, they are definitely going to get work before me even though we all have to wait in the same line to slide our metro card through the slot. Right.
I may not have a natural sense of patience when it comes to finding answers for my big questions, but I know when the universe is trying to teach me something. So this is me, waiting before I cross the street, living the questions now.