Biding Time and the Art of Waiting

Watercolor of Biding Time

Biding Time – Private Collection  – Jed is a Signature Member of the National Watercolor Society

Biding Time is a watercolor I completed many years ago, and is in the private collection of some very dear friends (I love it when my “children” find good homes!). Of the many subjects that draw my attention, quiet moments of contemplation or just “being” is a reoccurring theme. I might have entitled it “At Peace with Waiting”, but that title doesn’t seem quite poetic enough.

Still, waiting is an important topic for me, especially when it is paired with patience. Perhaps this simply is something that comes with age (and hopefully wisdom), because being in waiting mode, and practicing patience have been elusive qualities for most of my life. In these past few years of living in Italy, I’ve been learning the benefits of taking my foot off the metaphorical “gas pedal” of life. When did I buy into the belief that I always had to be straining at the reins, and exerting constant efforts to make life happen in the manner of which I had predetermined? The current shift continues to be “let life happen” or “let life flow” without trying to manhandle how things turn out. On one hand, insisting on effort and control is downright exhausting, and on another hand it demonstrates a lack of trust in life, and in God, the Force, or whatever you want to call the energy that infuses life into everything. And, actually, I’ve had a rather stunning realization, even though it has always been staring me in the face. In my times of impatience and rushing to get somewhere or to make something happen, I’ve been telling myself this present moment isn’t good enough. It is a stepping stone to be endured until I get somewhere “better”. What a crock. And, I bought into this belief, hook, line and sinker – until now.

I don’t want the next chapters of my life to be characterized by a race and an insistence to get somewhere else. Humans beings, as a general rule, intellectually know that we will all die, yet we behave as if we won’t. Time is viewed as plentiful commodity and we all too often overvalue achieving and accomplishing, while discarding the value of the quiet, in-between moments.

I believe most people are not at ease with moments of stillness, and of space. Perhaps we are afraid that “we” won’t exist if we’re not thinking, solving, and doing.

And, then again, perhaps we are most of afraid of being alone with our incessant, and demanding stream of thinking. Practicing the art of waiting, or biding time, can be an excellent opportunity to make peace with one’s inner noise, rather than doing battle with ourselves and/or distracting ourselves by being in constant movement.

In closing, I offer this brief YouTube video of Adyashanti offering an interesting perspective about the thinking mind. Paradoxically it is entitled Don’t Wait for Your Mind to Stop.

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By |2016-05-17T12:09:55+02:00May 17th, 2016|Paintings Posts, Personal musings, Reflections on the Journey|12 Comments

About the Author:

I’m an American expat living in Italy!


  1. Anita May 20, 2016 at 5:54 am - Reply

    Ciao Jed grazie!! For beautiful art & writing always a delight! Hugs Anita

    • Jed May 20, 2016 at 9:29 am - Reply

      Grazie Anita, I always love seeing a note from you. Thanks for the constant encouragement. Baci. Jed

  2. Susan May 19, 2016 at 6:28 pm - Reply

    Very hard to intentionally slow down. As Americans I think we have been so programmed to do better, faster, more efficiently. There are rewards for that, and what “they” don’t tell us is that there are costs as well. Good work Jed. “Mind, out.”

    • Jed May 19, 2016 at 9:44 pm - Reply

      Ahhhh…the paradox of trying. We are so conditioned to muscle our way to an accomplishment. I’ve found that the more I try to think my way out of something, the more I’m trapped! I’m beginning to understand how the Buddhists employ the koan to make the mind going into “tilt” – or shut down naturally in the face of its own futile processes! Thanks for writing, Susan! Always great to hear from you!

  3. Nicole May 17, 2016 at 10:03 pm - Reply

    Lovely post….maybe I need to move to Italy to learn to slow down 😉 Joking aside, it’s interesting when I do try to slow down that little voice in my head rev’s up and tells me I need to be ‘doing something’….I need to bat that voice down!

    • Jed May 17, 2016 at 10:55 pm - Reply

      The “voice” feeds on conflict, so trying to shut it down seems (in my experience) to keep it going. Try being curious about the voice, rather than shooing it away. You might find it loses steam when you don’t plan the game anymore!

  4. Tracey mason May 17, 2016 at 6:17 pm - Reply

    What a wonderful painting. I love it!

    • Jed May 17, 2016 at 8:34 pm - Reply


  5. Lisa May 17, 2016 at 5:45 pm - Reply

    Love you, friend.

    • Jed May 17, 2016 at 6:04 pm - Reply

      You, too, my precious friend, and angel!

  6. Nancy May 17, 2016 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    Jed, you nailed it here. I have learned, since coming to Italy, to “bide my time”. I used to always be looking for the next “thing” and it would be better than I had, now I happily go to the post office, take my number, sit on a bench and watch the other people waiting…it is a zen moment?

    • Jed May 17, 2016 at 6:07 pm - Reply

      Grazie, Nancy! I’m glad this resonates with you. Like you, once I understand the futility of rushing, and the opportunities of waiting, life changed for me!
      Hope you are well!

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