Holistic Coach and Consultant
Copyright © 2021
blog 9 18 17
Sometimes it’s the waiting that makes things better.
I have this thought as I stand in front of my Coleman stove, letting the tea steep just the right amount before pouring.
Flashing on a tea ceremony in Taiwan fifteen years ago with the Minister of Tea (Taiwan has a Minister of Tea!), I will never forget his presence as he sat in the midst of a variety of tea pots, urns of tea, and hot water kettles. Different teas are brewed in different kinds of pots, using different temperatures, some teas with a quick rinse at the beginning, all with different brew times, and some with different tastes with each subsequent brew of the same leaves. I recall the minister’s serene smile as he patiently waited just the right amount of time and then effortlessly picked up the pot to begin the pour.
I was in tea heaven in Taiwan. Now I am in my usual morning routine of brewing Keemun—a China tea that is naturally mellow, low caffeine with a red tone that I have been drinking for decades. Introduced to this tea by a high school friend’s mother who spent her childhood in Japan as the daughter of a diplomat, she did not drink green tea; she always drank Keemun. Go figure. I’ve sought out Keemun tea ever since.
Now I wait until I know this tea is at its best, and pour. Waiting has allowed the goodness to emerge.
Recently I’ve met several women with new babies who experienced “managed labors” and suffered as a consequence. Learning how to “run the board,” how to manage labors and get them moving or slow them down if medical staff were short-handed, was one of the components of my medical education I found most distressing. Having been trained as a doula and specialized in healing from traumatic births during my years as a psychologist, I was inflicting those same “traumas” on women, knowing they would need recovery from those births afterward. This medical approach of “managed labor” is the opposite of waiting—the opposite of allowing a natural event to unfold into maximum goodness.
Yes, yes, yes, sometimes medical interventions are necessary; sometimes regardless of the best of circumstances, challenging births occur; then all that “management” rushes forward to bring in its own goodness. Most of the time, though, interventions do not result in goodness. Waiting for the baby and mother to come into that synchronous beautiful movement of birth into the world holds pure goodness; that process is often thwarted in our medical system.
My long-ago book, Rebounding from Childbirth, still has its own life as books do after having been launched out into the world, is still making a difference in some women’s lives who struggle with births gone awry. Not often, but I still hear from women who tell me they sleep with the book by their bedsides, who have imaginary conversations with me as they undergo their healing journeys. Waiting for the goodness includes this life as a writer—knowing that I have fulfilled my goal of making a difference in a few women’s lives. Just a few is enough, holds goodness.
Pouring my just-right tea, I am grateful for this moment of having had the wisdom to wait for the goodness, and for this opportunity to expand my patience and kindness for the day.
While practicing cursive writing with Youtube videos, I surprise myself by thoroughly enjoying these writing exercises created for young children. After a wrist fracture requiring external fixation, I was unable to use my right hand for six weeks and had discovered I was left-handed. After the fracture healed, I continued using my left hand, discovering a sense of “rightness” with its use. These exercises provide even more confirmation that I am left-handed; after just an hour, I am able to write better than I ever had with my right hand.
While writing with ease, I have a flash of recognition of all that lost time! Those decades of missed opportunities for this ease, the creation of art and writing. What would my life have been like?
That’s water long ago passed under the bridge, way down the river. My life unfolded in its own “rightness.” As my coach Shari, who has helped me find my voice, has said in times when I’ve been tempted to regret, “everything always happens at just the right time.”
What does it mean to have had to wait for this left-handedness to emerge in my sixties? If I regret it not arriving sooner, that is not in the category of “waiting so that the goodness will emerge.”
When these gifts come late in life, are they less meaningful because we do not have our developmental years to foster these gifts? True, our abilities unfold through our life stages with certain sweet spots—yes, learning a language as a child is much easier than as an adult; starting a musical instrument early on means greater capabilities at a later age. But does that mean these missed moments of childhood such as my left-handedness, or a friend’s grief that he wanted to play the piano more than anything ever in his life and he did not have the opportunity, or another friend’s challenge that she was raised in a family that did not allow daughters to go to college or take art classes, does that mean we abandon these quests now as adults?
These losses are interesting twists of fate.
“Lost” talents not developed in childhood that might have become “genius,” are still within us, can still be taken up as an “elder” when we discover them. These latent talents are opportunities to seize and run with joy, and relish in their discovery.
“I’m too old, it’s too late.” Is it? Perhaps “It’s never too late” is more apt than I realized. Yes I long for the ease of my left-handedness through my entire life; growing up could have been so different! But that’s not an option. Now I have an unexpected blessing of a left-handed life in my elder state, a new way of being that still holds delight and ease, though long-missed.
Though I cannot relive my life, I can rewrite it with this new left-handedness. I can indulge in a moment of wonder about what my life could have been like as though it’s a story. More important, I recognize more clearly that at any stage in life, to embrace the delights in this state of recognition of who I truly am, of who one truly is, is the treasure—one of the greatest gifts I know of. At any age. At any time.
Waiting with patience for these gifts, knowing they will emerge, I am rich.
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