Monday’s Meditation: On Waiting Vs. Creating (Or: Why A Watched Pot Never Boils)
When you’re at your hungriest point, desperate for sustenance, and a pot of water and its ability to reach boiling point is the answer to your salvation, there seems to be nothing so ineffective as your stovetop.
Impatiently, you might toggle the burner, ensuring it’s cranked to its highest output; you might put a lid on the pot to contain the heat, you might even walk away a couple of paces. Your ears are pressed. You’re waiting for the sound.
You might pick the lid up some five times, peeking in at the progress.
Not a bubble in sight.
A watched pot never boils, so the saying goes.
Neither does watched paint dry faster, nor hair you fear you chopped too short grow more rapidly. Website hits don’t spike when you’re monitoring your analytics. Skin never clears up when your face is practically smashed against your bathroom mirror studying it nightly.
We all remember from our school days that a watched clock actually has the power of making time slow down.
When all you can focus on is how you aren’t yet where you want to be, and what you want to happen isn’t happening– whether that’s landing the job of your dreams, or finding a new friend, or losing weight, or gaining traction in your business–the moment wherein your desires are fulfilled seems never to arrive.
The water is silent.
Anticipation has a prolonging effect.
Ironically, it is when you leave the business of seconds and stats and temperatures and measures of influence to monitor and manage themselves that growth and progress and success arrive.
It’s when you’re focused on the enjoyment of what you do that time flies. It’s when you’re preoccupied with sharing authentically and with an intention to give to others that numbers rise. It’s when you’ve taken care to build a process, a system that supports your goals, and daily carry them out, that the fulfillment of said goals surprises you.
You put your faith in your skincare regime, in your healthy eating habits, in your business practices, and sort of accidentally forget to study your pores nightly or weigh yourself thrice a day or scrutinize your schedule and then bam, just like that (that’s how things happen in life): clear, beautiful skin. Healthy weight. Full schedule.
When did that happen? You’ll wonder.
Guess I got what I wanted! You’ll chuckle. (Already intent on achieving something else.)
The difference is where your attention lies. In the present, everything is already as it should be. All your needs are already met. Even if you’re hungry.
Movement doesn’t happen when we are standing still, waiting for life. Progress occurs when we lose ourselves in action. When we accept that what we want will come to fruition, only we just have to sit back and be patient. We just have to be present to whatever is Now.
After standing expectantly next to the stove, you’ll eventually acquiesce to the chemistry of rising H2O temperatures, and arrange yourself on the couch. For a moment, you might lose yourself in a book, in your phone, in an email. And then, it’ll be like background noise whose origin you don’t immediately place, as in the way the sound of an alarm clock interrupts a dream, seeming to have just begun or to have been there all along, though for the life of you, you aren’t sure which: the sound of water, vigorously bubbling away atop a stove.
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