Desi Jagger's Blog
My Story #22 – What are you waiting for?
Think of the last time you were waiting to hear whether you passed the test, got the promotion or were confirmed healthy by your doctor. How did you feel?
I used to have a terrible relationship with Waiting. I rushed and pushed and shouted angrily at it until it became this big bad monster hiding in the corner of the room. Waiting was terrible with me. It dominated my mind until I was stuck in a swamp of scenarios. Even my yoga time wasn’t immune. The rumination was so strong that sometimes I would roll out my mat only to realize I have already done my practice for that day.
“What if scenario A happens? What about scenarios B, C… Z? Worse yet, what if something that I haven’t even considered happens… a scenario outside of the alphabet?”
The advice I usually got was “Don’t think about it” or “Just be patient” or a completely unqualified “It’ll be fine.” None of these ever worked for me. I couldn’t simply stop thinking about the outcome. When there is a void in the mind, it immediately fills the gap with whatever it wants (unless we instruct it otherwise). The concept of patience was just as irritating as Waiting itself. It stepped on my values for action and progress.
In June 2017 I was diagnosed with The Alien (that’s how I call cancer) Since then I have had 84 medical tests, 5 operations & 3 rounds of chemo; all causing 15 nights of stress, 2.4 tons of tears, and 55,670 ‘what if’s’. That’s precisely 300 hours of Waiting, or as Google defines it:
“delaying action [or being a certain way] until a particular time or event”
I was married to Waiting. Waiting for test results, confirmations, possible solutions… Waiting until I got through treatment in order to resume my normal life. In a perverse way, Waiting was even more destructive than The Alien because it was eroding my present, in addition to threatening my future.
My relationship with Waiting was dysfunctional. And since I couldn’t fix it by “not thinking about it” or “just being patient” or unfounded trust that “it’ll be fine,” I made a radical choice.
I divorced Waiting.
I stopped “delaying doing and being until a particular time or event” and this transformed the quality of my daily life.
Midway through chemotherapy, I was scheduled for surgery and biopsies to determine whether there was anything left of The Alien. With Waiting no longer in my life, I asked myself two questions.
What do I already know?
My internal intellect comes in a bundle of mind, body and heart. Through meditation and coaching, I had learnt to distinguish the messages coming from each source. I did this with a simple, 10min exercise I used every time I got scared about the future (which, in the beginning, was every day). I asked my mind, body and heart what they knew about my condition – and I listened for the first answer that would show up. From this exercise, I realized that only my overactive mind was stuck in the scenarios swamp. I knew deep down that I was healthy and only my mind was afraid.
What do I choose to believe?
The only thing I knew about the future was that it was uncertain. No doctor, expert or crystal ball could guarantee me a specific outcome. Rather than being disheartened, this time I was excited to be able to choose. I decided to believe the best-case scenario. Inspired by Dr. Joe Dizpenza’s book You are the placebo, I did long, detailed visualizations of calmly walking to the hospital, having the surgery and celebrating the brilliant results. This practice reinforced my belief on confident days and got me out of the dumps on nervous days. The philosophy is that thoughts eventually translate to reality. By thinking positive thoughts, I was creating a positive future. Whilst this was not guaranteed, I could see with certainty how much calmer and more energetic I was becoming in that very moment.
In essence, I tapped into my subconscious (body and heart) and reinforced the positive truth I already knew with visions of a continuously positive future. This gave me peace of mind and eliminated the temptation to wait for external confirmation. I was liberated. I gained 2 weeks, 5 nights of deep sleep, 7 dinner parties with my London friends, 600 doses of laughter, trashy-magazine-reading-time and endless walks through Hyde Park.
My doctor called yesterday – great news, the biopsies were clean! My friends’ first reaction was “You must be relieved.” Yet I wasn’t. I was happy and calm but not surprised. After all, I already knew inside of me that I was healthy and I had continued reinforcing that belief. I was anticipating but not waiting for the confirmation.
What external confirmations are you waiting for?
Get unstuck by by connecting to what you already know, inside of you. If you would like a deeper, fully personalized experience, book your free sample coaching session.
I'm Desi Jagger,
Your Get Unstuck Coach. I help you get clarity and move forward with confidence - in your career and life.