Joyous Waiting- The Woman’s Journey

by elizabethbrantley

Two Things I have joyously waited for

Waiting is not sexy. Waiting is hard. Waiting is challenging. Waiting is usually boring.

Yet what if waiting and the way we waited was a large part of the relationship we have with Life? What if we realized that waiting was an active part of our days and our relationship with Life?

When I was a nanny, during lunch one day the three-year old girl asked me for a yogurt. “Sure,” I said, as I stood up and starting walking to the fridge. In two seconds, though, she began screaming at the top of her lungs. Her legs began to kick the bottom of her high seat. “YOGURT! YOGURT! GIVE ME YOGURT!”

The scene was quite comical, since there I was already going to get it. All I could do to move faster to the fridge that 5 feet away would be to run. That was entirely not necessary.

“I am going to get it…. See I am at the fridge.” I spoke in a clam voice, trying to help the child understand that her request was being answered. Yet she was completely blind to all the movement that was going into the fulfillment of her request. Even when the yogurt was finally put in front of her, she was still screaming and in such a rage she didn’t notice it.

For one reason or another, as I sat back down, asking Life what I was suppose to take from this experience, I realized that I was the screaming little girl. I was still yelling, screaming, kicking, for my requests to be brought to me. I was the one who was ignorant to all the movement that was happening for what I have asked for to be brought to me.

Now, after making certain requests of Life, I often pause to remember that Life still has to “go to the fridge”. It is useless, silly and quite a waste of emotion and energy for me to freak out. Little does she know, but I am so grateful to that child for her tantrum that day.

Joseph Campbell discovered through his life’s study of myths the commonality of what he described as the Hero’s Journey. Campbell’s account of the Hero’s Journey influenced George Lucas to make Star Wars and a plethora of other artists, writers, and therapists  have taken this structure of the Hero and applied it to their life and their art. Ever since I had heard of this though, I have asked the question, what is the heroine’s journey?

I found Campbell’s answer in a book entitled Pathways to Bliss that compiled some of his essays. At the end of the book a dialogue between Campbell and two of his students was transcribed. I found the female student asked the question I had been waiting for – but what about the heroine?

Campbell’s response –  Her journey is to wait. 

While men will go out, engage in action, externalize their feelings and emotions, we find the woman’s world is one of staying in one place, of waiting “it” out, of turning inward.

He cited the presence of Widow’s Walks, the story of Odysseus and his wife, Penelope, whose task was to wait, and he spoke of other examples of women waiting in the world.

There is some truth to this, as I look strictly at the biology of women vs. men. When I think of joyous waiting I often think of pregnancy and how there is little to do but wait as the child grows in the womb.

Joyous waiting, too, for me is found in gardening. There is a delay between the planting of the seed and the fruit that it bears. There are weeks when we just wait, expect, prepare and get excited.

Writing about waiting came to my mind today because I have recently realized that I am living in the states – emotionally, relationally, financially, physically and spiritually – that I asked for one year ago. This is a harvest period of my life. I am living into my answered prayers, hopes and dreams. Life got back from the fridge!

I had relinquished my desire for these states a year ago after I had asked for them, knowing that there would be a time lag and being completely aware of my ignorance of how things would come to be. Yet I kept my mind open and excited every time a sprout, something small that indicated the coming of the fruit, appeared on my path. By letting go of my requests, I allowed myself to be present, and therefore, able to not only enjoy Life, but to recognize the hints that it was working on my behalf.

If there has been something that you have been wanting in your life, something you have wished for, asked for, or perhaps simply secretly dreamed of in your heart, acknowledge and get excited for that seed of desire to grow into what you have asked for once you seriously decide to plant it in your life. Even if you see no signs over some time, not even a sprout, trust that the fruit will come in during its perfect season.

Find peace in knowing that even though you are waiting, what you have asked for is coming to you. Life has your request. It has such a crush on you  that of course it will fulfill your desire to the best of its endless ability. Your job now is to wait and to do so with happy, excited joy.