As a Bay Area freelance journalist, I don’t like delays. It’s the bane of my existence waiting for people to get back to me. “I have a deadline, people! Get a move on!” But I’m coming to realize something spiritual teacher Tosha Silver says frequently: “All delays are beneficial.”
My impatient self cringes hearing that because I want everything to be swift and on my timeline. But, well, my life isn’t a one-woman show. There are lots of actors and factors that coalesce when it comes to creating anything and everything. In other words, I don’t have the full story. It’s only when I look back that I see, “Oh. Yeah. All delays are beneficial.”
Here’s a small example. I was assigned a story that requires attending a city government hearing. It was on my calendar for weeks and when I checked the agenda closer to the meeting date . . . it wasn’t there. The hearing was been pushed back. Instead of irking me, I was grateful because it turns out the week of the hearing was veeeeeery busy with other deadlines, and adding one more thing would have tipped me over the edge into the land of Too Much. There’s no way I would have told my editor that. Instead, I would have sucked it up, stressed myself out, and probably stayed up until midnight trying to finish everything. As a spoonie, that’s a bad idea. I don’t have the luxury of pushing myself too hard because it takes me a week or more to “bounce back” from doing that. Ahem, all delays are beneficial!
It’s also true for my clients that all delays are beneficial. I’m a mental health blogger as well as a ghostwriter for therapists. What that means is in addition to writing blogs for therapists, I also ghostwrite books. One of my clients and I have been working on a book for months. Whenever we think we’re finished, we realize there’s something else to add. If we had rushed the process and ushered her book out the door, it wouldn’t have been ready. The book would have been half-baked and dissatisfying.
What I tell myself and my clients is that every book has its own trajectory. We have an idea of when and how a book should be out in the world but that’s not up to us. Life works out better when we understand there is such a thing as divine timing.
One of my favorite stories about this involves Italy. When I was 20, I studied abroad in London and had every intention of going to Italy. What better time than when you’re already temporarily living in Europe?!? Except, it didn’t happen. I didn’t have the money. I didn’t have anyone to travel with. I didn’t have the time. Unlike some study abroad programs, mine was rigorous and they punished you for skipping class to go travel. It just didn’t work for me to visit Italy.
For the next seven years, I dreamed of going to Italy. Whenever I heard about someone’s trip, I seethed with envy. “What about me? I want to go! Why hasn’t it happened yet?!?” My hopes rose and plummeted like a falcon scouting for prey every time I made plans that fell through. Finally, when I was 27, I worked for a radiology publication that decided to send me to Vienna, Austria for a conference. I asked if I could take some time off afterward to travel and they said yes!
After seven years of yearning, I was finally going to Italy — and someone else paid for the plane ticket. It was the most grace-filled trip of my life. You see, in the ensuing seven years from when the seed was first planted, I became friends with numerous people, including Italians. When I visited Florence, I had a free place to stay and someone to show me the sights. I also became friends with a woman who was teaching English in France and just so “happened” to have a spring break at the exact same time I was traveling. We traipsed through Italy together and “happened” to visit the Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze, which is the museum that houses the “David” statue, on International Women’s Day. That meant we got into the museum for FREE.
So many other things happened — running into a friend of mine on the train, having him play tour guide, catching my flight home just in time. Every part of the trip felt as if an invisible hand was guiding me, directing me, creating an experience for me to relish. But here’s the thing: None of it could have happened earlier. I didn’t know any of the people I traveled with during that trip when I was 20.
When I think about my Italian adventure Italy, I remember there is proper timing for everything. And if I wait, I might just have the experience of a lifetime. It might sound strange to talk about delays on a business website but business isn’t exempt from divine timing. We are still humans operating in a magical and mysterious world. Sometimes that means things are delayed and I’m choosing to believe all delays are beneficial.
That said, if the timing feels right for you to build your business, reach out to me. We can work on blogs, books, and anything in between. I’ll be over here, waiting to hear from you, knowing until I do that all delays are beneficial.