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Do You Feel That Your Life Is On Hold?

It never is

View of back of a slightly crumbling statue of woman with Asian sunhat. Calendulas, cornflowers, and herbs surround her. Pond and reeds in distance. Cloudy day.
The statue we call "The Lady" in the garden at Evergreen. Her life is never on hold. She is always changing, and so is the scenery surrounding her.

Do you feel like your life is on hold?

I was sitting in a chemist shop yesterday, waiting to pick up prescriptive eye drops for Rob, when a woman walked slowly towards me with aid from a pair of crutches and sat beside me. A friend joined her, and they talked. I couldn’t help but overhear.

The gist of the conversation was that the woman with the crutches had undergone an operation a year ago, on what she didn’t say. Perhaps a hip or knee. She was still on painkillers, hence her visit to the chemist.

‘It’s been sooo long,’ she said. ‘My life is on hold.’

Her friend nodded in commiseration. ‘Yes, I know. It’s been terrible for you.’

Then the woman with crutches said, in a happier tone, ‘I went to a lino printing class this morning. It was fascinating. It was only three hours long but within that time I learned how to do it and came away with a finished product. I’m going to do some more at home.’

I sensed the energy and excitement in her voice.

So, her life wasn’t really on hold. She was still breathing, eating, driving a car, walking (although painfully), going to an art class, and so on. She wasn’t in limbo. She wasn’t frozen in time and space. Her life was going on.

What she meant was that what she had planned to be happening in her life right now wasn’t happening. The plans she'd made were on hold, not her life.

But what she was failing to acknowledge to herself, and her friend, was that other things were happening – good things that possibly wouldn’t have happened if what she’d planned to happen, had happened. What had happened while she felt that her life was on hold? She had been to an art class, learned something new, and felt inspired.

There have been times when I’ve felt that my life was on hold. Until I graduated, fell in love, heard that I got the job, had a baby, or received notification that a publisher had accepted one of my manuscripts, life was a waiting game. I failed to notice that life was still going on all around me. Things were happening, but not necessarily what I had planned.

We want what we want right now.

We want the pain to stop, the bank balance to change for the good, the rattle in the car to cease of its own accord, the figs to ripen, the wind to blow somewhere else, the beans to grow, the rain to go away.

But life takes its own time, slowly unfolding in glorious moments we fail to take notice of because we’re not truly present.

Being present is a simple thing, really, but we complicate it with our thoughts of what should be, or what might have been if our plans and dreams had come true.

Being truly present means accepting what is going on in this moment, and working with it, not denying it or trying to wish it away.

And when things go awry – as they will – we’ll find ourselves going with the flow, and dealing with things in a way that brings new and perhaps unexpected elements into our lives.

Ask yourself, Is my life on hold?

The answer is always, No.

Look around you and you will see that this is so.

With love, Marlane

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