Have you ever picked up a book, read enough to know you really like it, and then inexplicably set it down for months or years to come?
Or how about listening to a friend or partner give you the same unheeded advice for months or years, and then you hear someone else say the same thing (your therapist, the author of a book, a person in passing…), and suddenly that very advice sparkles with meaning, and nuance, and ripeness-for-you-right-now! (Cue friend or partner banging head against wall.)
I think experiences like this are everywhere in our lives – moments of ripeness and unripeness, when we’re ready to receive insight and help, or the stars aren’t aligned for it yet.
And I think awareness of this fact can remove a thick layer of anxiety and stress and frustration that many of us carry around giving and receiving help.
- We worry about whether we said too little or too much.
- We worry about whether we’re messing our kids up.
- We worry that someone we love isn’t listening to our advice or the advice of their own family, coach, doctor, therapist, or friends.
- We worry that our own wheels are spinning, that the things we know we should be doing aren’t translating yet into action.
But what if there’s a timeliness to change, and a timeliness to action? And what if there’s absolutely no way to anticipate what that timeliness is for sure, ever – for you or anyone else?
This not knowing isn’t a prescription for throwing our hands in the air and stopping ourselves from giving or receiving help, or thoughtfully engaging our inner worlds or the people that we love. But I think it IS a prescription for loosening up and relaxing quite a lot, especially on the oh-no-the-sky-is-surely-falling end of the spectrum.
Because who’s to say when tipping points will or won’t come? Who’s to say when something will click, and we’ll find ourselves or someone we love stepping into brand new worlds of experience?
Who’s to say that the very things we take as signs that all is going poorly aren’t actually markers along the path of beautiful, transformative stories?