Have you ever watched private planes doing touch-and-go practice at a small airport? I don't know if this is still done, but back when my dad worked as a flight service briefer at a small airport (a job now done entirely by computers!) touch-and-go was fairly common. Sometimes I went to work with my dad; I would sit and watch the planes for hours as their wheels lightly touched the runway and then lifted off again. There was something calming about this repetitive scene. It could have been boring, but instead as I watched it over and over again I became aware of subtle nuances. This plane stayed on the runway just a bit longer than the others; another one landed on just one wheel sometimes. Each one was slightly different, and it was a great pleasure to discover those hidden qualities.
Of course, being in a holding pattern is not the same as touch-and-go practice. It usually refers to the plane making large circles around the airport, waiting for a turn on a busy runway or for the weather to clear enough for a safe landing. I think, though, that the effects of the repetition are the same. If the passengers are willing, they will find that each circle is a little bit different from all the others.
Why do I even bring this up? Two reasons: one, I believe I am alternating between holding patterns and touch-and-go right now, and two, the repetition and reduced stimulation are good for me. They allow me to slow down and see deeper, subtler levels of myself and everything around me. I can live exclusively in the moment -- of course I always try to live with awareness of the moment, but practicality requires thinking about the past (to learn from it) and the future (to plan wisely). When in a holding pattern I don't have to think about the past or the future, I only have to BE.
Tonight I went to my son's Senior Awards Ceremony, at which he received 5 awards. It was interminably long, and as I sat in the auditorium the waiting became unbearable. I had to get up and stand out in the hall. There, I could keep tabs on what was going on so I could watch him get his awards, but I wasn't smothered by the impatient anticipation all around me, so strong that it was palpable. Once detached from the psychic force of all those people, I could relax and live in the moment. I went into touch-and-go mode and the rest of the evening went successfully.