The Art of Waiting

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The Art of Waiting

dog waiting with anticipation

I love spending the first moments of a workshop waiting.

For people who haven’t waited with me before: I really noticed how completely I could destroy my health while waiting. The winds that would come up, the dust devils, the incredible things that would happen to me while waiting, that were really really awful. I could get just so much worse, in every way, from waiting. That’s when I decided to start practicing the spiritual and medical art of waiting. Because if things can get that bad while waiting, how good could they get?


I’m really feeling for it right now as we speak, and you can join me. Waiting, what an incredible opportunity. How is my whole down escalator, down my back body, so that I’m feeling my weight come down in the back? Can I feel my heaviness? Like every single thing that’s in your subconscious going, “And what about this, and we have to take care of that,” and all these other things going on, getting on the down escalator—and then there they will be, there on the ground, for later. 

As I’m waiting, I’m feeling for the down escalator, going down the back. I’m very aware of the up escalator in the front, let me tell you! When teaching a class, especially when waiting, there’s a lot of up escalator energy. I’m like, “Okay, great. Great. Great,” and I’m bringing the down escalator down the back, down.

woman waiting patiently

I want you to put your hands on your body, and all of us on a me-first basis, as an act of public generosity, in our half-assed, rubber chicken, totally ridiculous way, sounding the note for each other, even if it’s coming out like, “Eeep eeep, eep…” Feeling that down escalator, all the way through the butt, through the feet. And feeling for, “Can I wait on common ground?”

You might want to put a hand on your low body. A lot of group safety issues reflect all the way back to the playground or the schoolyard. There’s a little set of eyes down in the low body that scans: Are they Nicies or Meanies? Am I here with Nicies or Meanies? 

I want to acknowledge that, and encourage that little set of eyes down there to feel down through the legs, through the feet, and through the little, little toe rootlets into the ground. Because that’s where we get to detect through our little tree roots. That little one gets to detect, “Okay, are these nicies or meanies or maybe just nervousies,” which is usually how it begins. Like “Hi, other nervousies here.”

man waiting for subway

There’s a way in which we can be ever so sophisticated, and just stop here—and community is not actually brokered. It’s that hand on the low belly, and that admitting that we might be a little bit of a nervousie on the schoolyard, and feeling down through those tree roots, tiny toes—and even though we might be a little bit of a nervousie, sending a little signal out through the toes: I may be a nervousie, but I’m basically a nicie, unless I mess up, in which case I’m sorry; I wouldn’t mean that.

I want to send some kindness and some general “Hi” through those toes. Oh, that makes for a very different form of waiting. We’re just kind of waiting for our toe rootlets to find each other.


To learn more, join Thea at one of her workshops this weekend: Spring Retreat or Herbs on Common Ground: Wood.

To join the discussion, find us on my Perennial Medicine discussion listserv (all are welcome).

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