I read somewhere that Americans spend an estimated 37 billion hours waiting in line each year. You know we aren’t happy, particularly while we wait impatiently for an internet page to load on our phone trying to occupy our time waiting in that line. That’s one of the successes of apps- they have eliminated the wait time as much as is humanly possible as I showed in my blog about banking.
We want it all, and we want it now. Why do we hate waiting? It’s because unoccupied time drags provoking impatience and anxiety that makes the wait interminable. Waiting is that nagging sensation that one’s life is uselessly slipping away. Lay that in opposition to our constant busyness, our multitasking, and our information overload, no wonder we do not tolerate idle time very well.
Why not look at waiting situations as an opportunity to have more peace and stillness in our lives? There is a Japanese concept known as ma that refers to the gap or space between things. What if we could use life’s inevitable waiting periods as moments of ma?
Next time you find yourself waiting in line, instead of reaching for your phone try one or two of these:
Take some deep breaths.
Smile and engage with a stranger.
Clear your thoughts directing your full awareness the visual and auditory stimuli around you.
Let someone who’s in a rush cut in front of you.
Make a mental list of things you’re grateful for.
Try a standing yoga pose.
Send a kind thought to someone you love.