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How Does 'Waiting' Keep Us From Living?

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Last week Americans were waiting for the super committee to figure out our budget woes, and save us with a plan. No luck. They didn't bother to even meet during crunch time, but instead went on talk shows to admit there was no possibility for creating a deal. As automatic cuts go into effect, it feels like we are being put in a "time out" punishment for not playing together in the government sandbox.

Now, our Congress will wait until the elections are over to tackle anything useful. Instead, they used the time to vote on a bill determining if tomato sauce is a vegetable, so pizza can count as a balanced meal in school lunches. If our leaders wait for an ever diminishing window to actually work, and spend the majority of their time blabbing on camera, is this a scary reflection on the rest of us?

President Obama was chastised recently for musing that American's have gotten lazy over the past two decades, and have lost that driving competitive spirit to keep us ahead. Voting on pizza,and waiting for the next elected officials to tackle the deficit sure seems lazy to me.

As frustrating as it is to watch our hopes of bipartisan productivity go down the tubes, it reminds me of how often we give away our power to the act of "Waiting" for something on the outside to change. We may be waiting until January to start that diet and working out again, waiting for the economy to change in order to sell the house, or waiting for a less stressful time to give up coffee and start meditating. Are we lazy, or is it a resigned complacency that we would rather watch Snookie than 60 minutes? Are we distracting ourselves to death; waiting for a few shiny moments in life to truly engage?

Noun: 1. The action of staying where one is or delaying action until a particular time or until something else happens.

What is the price of waiting? We are collectively waiting for new jobs, waiting for new bridges to be built so we don't die driving over them, waiting for our educational system to return to a competitive place in the world -- waiting for confidence -- or maybe waiting for a renaissance of national pride.

On an individual scale, we are waiting for the kids to grow up and move out to start a new life, waiting for our partner to put the cap on the toothpaste, waiting for botox to make us beautiful, waiting to buy nice clothes until we lose twenty pounds, waiting for the boss to quit -- waiting for happiness.

The darker side of waiting is blind obsession with inconsequential or tangential distractions to assuage the inner gnawing. The record breaking black Friday reflects the haze of mindless consumerism and "retail therapy" to help us forget that the 401K retirement account is gone. While we are waiting for something to help turn that around, new e-books, podcasts and self improvement books tantalize, with smiling faces promising the answers to all your prayers in ten simple steps.

Change is hard. Waiting for change is infinitely easier than jumping off the cliff -- but what price are we all paying teetering on the brink? Whether it is changing a job or changing a bad habit, waiting becomes a bottomless pit, a mirage never realized and a life never lived to the fullest. How do we wake from the expectant slumber, arise and dare to leave waiting behind?

Kristen Moeller is a life coach and author of Waiting for Jack- Confessions of a Self Help Junkie. She captured a hilarious "aha" moment of catching herself in waiting mode to start her life. As a recovering addict, she had turned her focus from drugs, eating disorders or alcohol to being obsessed with personal growth. After attending a seminar with Jack Canfield, author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, she stood in line to meet him, boldly asked for his email address and was thrilled when he responded personally to a few of her emails describing her hopes and dreams.

A year later, those dreams still unrealized, she desperately emailed Jack again -- hoping he would provide the answers she needed. When he did not respond, she became desperate. "What if I never hear from him again and have blown this important connection," she wrote. During a family gathering, she continued to leave the table obsessively checking her email box five times in a fifteen minute period -- before waking up. Despite all her inner work and accomplishments, she was still waiting -- waiting for Jack.

I spoke with Moeller recently, and explored how this simple act of recognizing a moment of waiting helped propel her into greater success in her career and personal life. "When I stopped waiting, I just got to work and started doing what I loved, which was being a teacher and coach just like Jack," she said. "So many of us wait for the right partner, for the right geographic setting or the right inner sensations to truly follow our dreams, and if we recognize that pattern, we are then able to do something about it."

Moeller goes on to suggest letting go of the boxes we live in, and embrace both the positive and negative aspects of ourselves to stop making excuses and start sharing our gifts with the world.

If our nation can accept that we are not perfect, stop clipping our left and right wings with endless attacks, assume personal responsibility through stabilizing taxes, investing in green energy and building a new future together, we get off this precarious ledge, and start flying together once again.

So, HuffPost readers, what are YOU waiting for as 2011 comes to a close? Are you waiting for someone in your life to change, your family, job circumstances, economy or inner motivation? When does waiting serve you, like waiting more than five seconds for your web browser to open without triggering obscenities, and when does waiting hold you back?

Let's have a chat in the comments box below.

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