• Dr Jodie Bradnam

The Waiting Place

Updated: Mar 5, 2018

Found yourself in Dr Seuss’ waiting place lately? That vulnerable place that looks like a stop sign and feels like a road block.

“Waiting for a train to go, or a bus to come or the plane to go

or the mail to come or the rain to go, or the phone to ring or the snow to snow

Everyone is just waiting”

So many of us find ourselves in this waiting place, where the gap between where we are and want to be feels like a mountain crevasse. The hands of the clock of change move so slowly that our vulnerability suspends time, hijacks our awareness, and creates a laser like focus around our waiting. The more we focus on moving from the waiting space, the more disconnected we become from the myriad of beautiful people, places and experiences that continue to flow around us.

Each time I find myself here firmly seated in the waiting place, I note my urgency to hustle and push for a solution, to find an answer and move on. It’s a response so hard-wired that it often precedes awareness. I find myself hustling and pushing through before I have a chance to notice the feelings that are showing up. Using action to bypass feeling is an emotional detour that many of us have been practicing our whole lives.

When we have the courage to pause and dig a little deeper, we see that our urgency for change is often an attempt to protect ourselves from the vulnerability, fear and powerlessness of the not knowing. Perhaps we convince ourselves that if we move fast enough through time, stay busy enough and productive enough, we can keep ahead of the truth of our lives. The truth that along with the joy and the love and celebration, there are moments of disappointment, hurt, sadness and despair.

The waiting place is a paradox. The more we ruminate on how we want things to be, the more we fuse with our fears that we can’t or won’t get the outcome we think we need. In this space though, resides an invitation. A chance to use our breath as an anchor to steady us safely, to soften our focus and gain perspective. Our breath is a pathway to the nervous system. As we take a breath, notice and name the story of the waiting and the feelings that rise, we identify the fears that lie beneath our rush for change. If we are willing to show compassion for these fears, we turn the waiting space into a place for growth, instead of frustration. Our solution focussed, spotlight lens is softened to reveal the alternate pathways that open when trust takes the place of fear.

Perhaps the waiting place is a growing space after all.

Dr. Seuss (1990). Oh, the places you'll go. USA: Random House.