Years ago, my mentor, Lynn, told me, “if you are feeling anger, then it is not the right time to act.”
Lynn is still my mentor today, and she still tells me this from time to time.
I have also learned that it applies equally well in situations where I am feeling sadness or grief, anxiety or indecision, and, well, anything other than peace, basically.
Peace, Lynn has often explained and re-explained to me, is like finding true North on a compass, or the North Star in the midnight sky. It is always reliable. I can trust it. I can walk in that direction with confidence.
But anger might be pointing me South.
Sadness might ask me to go West.
And anxiety might have me heading off far to the East.
So if I don’t feel peace, it is always the right time to wait.
The transformative power of waiting is awakened when we first realize that “to wait” is a viable option. Waiting is an action word. Waiting does not, as our culture might have us believe, have as its synonym “laying down and giving up.”
Waiting, in most circumstances, is also an expression of wisdom. In any situation where an emotion other than peace is goading us to action, waiting is always an expression of wisdom.
We can feel very angry, sad, confused, or anxious, as I have often felt over the years, but choices made and actions taken in the grip of emotions like these are often seen in hindsight to be self-serving, self-negating, selfish and shortsighted.
We often regret these kinds of choices after we cool down and realize there was definitely another kinder, more useful and more healing path we could have chosen for the benefit of all.
But choices made in an oasis of calm, with patience and careful forethought born of a measured, big-picture perspective, often yield surprisingly miraculous results – even where not much hope for such an outcome previously existed.
Today’s Takeaway: Think back over your past choices – choices you are proud of, choices you regret. Which choices were made in the presence of inner peace and calm? Which actions were taken in the grips of passing strong emotions? How can cultivating the transformative power of waiting help you to make more choices you can be proud of now and in the future?
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Last reviewed: 26 Jan 2012