No One is Coming to rescue you from the life you have created. It’s your job to stop waiting and to begin moving in a direction you choose.
My first and most popular book, This Endless Moment. Learn to live a full and satisfying life.
Right up until she dies, there was a little sign on my therapist’s wall, which read, in lovely calligraphy,
“No one is coming.”
When I first met my therapist, I was a Minister. (She hung out with me anyway…) Because of my peculiar bent, my initial reading of the sign was influenced by religious statements about the second coming, (something I’ve never believed in.) I got a strong image of Jesus descending from the cloud.
I see similar beliefs in Buddhism—which is clearly a philosophy, not a religion. If you’re a good doobie and follow the Precepts, something or someone is going to keep you from any harm.
There’s a great gnashing of teeth, then, when some form of magical rescue doesn’t happen. Life happens, and the judgement that “This shouldn’t be happening to me” is where our little heads go.
I figure we’re stuck with the mess we experience until we choose to un-mess it.
“No one is coming.”
Another way to explore this concept is to consider the “rescue fantasies” I and most people I know have.
A cheap and dirty example that occurred to me is actors in their 50’s getting plastic surgery, to look “young again,” yet end up looking like Jack Nicholson as “The Joker.” Plastic surgery is a hoped-for rescue from aging and death, two of the things The Buddha stumbled upon which led to his exploration of suffering and the end of suffering.
“Sadly,” the plastic surgery is plastic. Far from looking young, their faces look look stretched and tight, like if they smiled, something would tear.
And guess what? They’re still 50.
A former client was on Long Term Disability for two years because someone yelled at him in a meeting. He sat at home, depressed, hiding, waiting for an apology. He thought an apology would rescue him—would cure his depression—and then he could return to work. For two years, he waited for the rescue he dreamed he deserved. For all I know he’s still waiting.
Years ago, another former client put her life on hold for eight years. She quit her job, lost her primary relationship, got hooked on pills, etc., again waiting for an apology. The crime? A co-worker suggested they share a room at a conference.
Now, before I met with her, she had grieved the proposition. The co-worker apologized, which is what she asked for. So, she sued the guy and the agency she was working for, because, she said, she wanted him to apologize differently.
I suppose I ought to add here that I’m not suggesting she shouldn’t have complained. I am suggesting that she was waiting for something that would never arrive—what she wanted was for the proposition to never have happened.
I helped her to get back to work and off the pills, but therapy ended before the court case began. For all I know, she’s still waiting.
Many people obsess about money. “If I pay off the VISA, then I’ll be happy.” As opposed to being happy now. They’re endlessly waiting for the money genie to fix fiscal stupidity.
Others are stuck in difficult relationships. They’ll do something about them, “when the kids move out,” or “when things get bad enough,” or “when I can support myself.” Of course, they aren’t doing anything now—you know, taking courses or figuring out how to support themselves. It’s all going to work out, apparently, with no effort and by magic—when their fairy godmother shows up.
She’s not coming.
Another popular one is, “I’ll form the kind of relationship you are talking about, Wayne, when I find the perfect person.” Oh, brother.
The “perfect person” is not coming, either. Elegant, moment-by-moment relating is the result of continual work, not fantasy.
It’s tough, life, especially when you put your life on hold, and desperately wait for all of the external circumstances line up like ducks in a row, until everyone behaves, until all the pieces fit, and there are no more problems. “Boy, when all that happens, then I’ll have a great life.”
I’ve got news. No you won’t. Because none of that is going to happen. Life will continue to provide challenges, and the rest of the people on the planet are not going to change so you can finally get on with things.
All of that external stuff doesn’t really exist anyway, other than as a figment of your imagination. So waiting for an outside rescue is foolish in the extreme. The game is always and only in your head.
The truth is, “No one is coming.”
We’ve been handed a block of time, which is also a bit of a conundrum, because all we can know is when it began. The other end, the slippery end, comes when we die. Death happens whenever it shows up, and that moment could be tomorrow.
None of us have all the time in the world to learn to live our lives with elegance and presence. We’ve just got now. This minute. To simply be who we are.
This block of time is a precious thing. It’s the place where everything happens, one moment at a time. Here and now, we are encouraged to be real, communicate, have our experiences, feel our feelings, make our judgements (—no way to get past this one. But, of course, we don’t have to act on our judgements, now do we??)
It’s about healing rifts here and now, not sometime, when everything is perfect. It’s about taking risks, making changes gently, right now—because there’s never going to be “just the right moment.” There are just moments, like this one; you choose how you see it and use it.
Or, as Yogi Berra famously said,
“When you reach a fork in the road, take it.”
Putting off the hard (or even the easy) decisions of life, on the assumption that clarity is down the road, is a sure recipe for waiting.
Like the play, “Waiting for Godot .” Each day, they wait, and talk about what wonderful things will happen when Godot finally arrives. They wait. They leave. They come back the next day. They wait. And talk of all the wonderful things they’ll accomplish when Godot gets there. They wait.
He never arrives, because he’s not coming.
So, what are you waiting for?