Tiny Wisdom: On Living

“It is not uncommon for people to spend their whole life waiting to start living.” -Eckhart Tolle

You might not think to compare beloved children's writer Dr. Seuss to spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle, but there's a common message about happiness in both their works: We can only experience joy through action in the now, not by waiting to get it some day, when everything works out and makes sense.

From Seuss' Oh the Places You Will Go:

The Waiting Place…for people just waiting.

Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting.

He then writes: No! That’s not for you!

But I'm going to alter that slightly since we're all adults now. That very well might be you. I know that it's been me. I've waited for the right time to make a change, the ideal time to tell someone how I feel, the safest time to try something new, and the easiest time to take care of myself.

The only problem is that it rarely feels right, ideal, safe, or easy. Those words are merely excuses to let the moment slip away. And it does. Over and over again until they have run out.

This moment is a chance to do something differently, no matter how small it may seem. Every big change starts with one small choice.

The best way to stop waiting and start living is to decide that life happens now, and to ask yourself: If you knew time was running out, what would you stop waiting to do?

Photo by scion_cho

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha and Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. Her latest bookTiny Buddha's Gratitude Journal, which includes 15 coloring pages, is now available for purchase. For daily wisdom, follow Tiny Buddha on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram..

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  • Barbiedoll4j

    I found Tolle's book at one of the most difficult times in my life. Learning to “Be here now” not only saved my life … it gave me life ….

  • Barbiedoll4j

    I found Tolle's book at one of the most difficult times in my life. Learning to “Be here now” not only saved my life … it gave me life ….

  • MagicDragon

    I found Dr. Seuss’ book “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” just a couple of months ago, and consider it a condensed, fun, poetic version of some extremely wise lessons. (I think from your post that you do, too!) In addition to “the waiting place,” he reminds us that disappointments await and, perhaps most importantly, that “there is fun to be done!”

  • I love that book, too! Dr. Seuss has some amazing quotes. I also love, “Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

  • Liane

    This is my favorite post so far! I love Tolle and Dr. Seuss and had never really looked at the connection between the messages of both of them. Love it! I just read a post on another site that fits with this message
    So many people “wait” to start living that it is the norm and when you decide to wait no longer you are oftten seen aas a rebel, a weirdo as this post above describes.

    Happy Friday!

  • Thanks for the link–I will check it out. Happy Friday to you, as well!

  • Susan Chaika

    I would stop waiting till I was “successful” (funding my retirement, buying a house, paying off mortgage, being promoted to VP) , and start being happy (backpacking around the world)

  • masuba

    its me i am going to start right now ,. enough of waiting .good post.

  • Rika

    it’s really inspiring! thank you.. 🙂

  • Never underestimate the lessons we can learn from all books – especially children’s! This was a great lesson. We can spend our whole life waiting and not actually do anything. I like your thought about thinking that time is running out – if that doesn’t give you a kick in the pants I don’t know what will!