Last week I wrote about my intention to make Light my focus this year. I have many ideas on how to translate that into blog posts, but my body is still on the mend. Energy is on the rise, but I’m not quite done resting yet.
Rather than forcing the process as I would usually do, I realized the lightest thing to do was to use a post I already have lined up. About patience, the very thing I need today.
Reading this has brought me to a place of peace again and I hope it can do the same for you.
Picture yourself standing in line at the supermarket and the line just won’t move. There are half a dozen people in front of you, their carts loaded to the brim and of course none of the sale items are in the system and need to be punched in by hand.
Meanwhile, you are standing in line, teeth gritted, nostrils flared, telling yourself to:
“Just be patient.”
Hate to be the one to tell you this, but that is not patience. Inwardly getting cranky as your kid is taking forever to tie her shoes…not patience. Don’t get me wrong, kudo’s to you for not blowing up, because I have been known to yell irrationally at my dawdling dog who, in his mind, was just following a Very Important Smell. But that is not patience. Forcing yourself to wait while every fibre of your being is bubbling to act is not patience. Real Patience (with a capital P) is more peaceful than that. Much more gentle than that.
To quote Wayne Dyer:
“Infinite patience produces immediate results.
The result of your infinite patience is peace.”
Sounds good right? The man sure had a way with words. But having to work on that? Blegh. Patience always felt like a should to me. Something for enlightened people. I’ve often felt frustrated by the mere mention of patience. Similar to the way I felt as a little girl when my parents would tell me: “you be the responsible one”. Patience…, ugh. No fun at all.
Yet I am reminded again and again (and again) that it would be really useful if I were patient. My struggle isn’t about standing in line. I so rarely visit stores these days that I can be patient there, but it’s an example everyone relate to. My struggle happens mostly when I’m exhausted, waiting to feel good again. Or waiting for a response from a friend. Or waiting for the water to boil…you know…big stuff like that. I could tell that Patience would really help me out in those instances, but I didn’t want any of it. It felt like a lot of hard work to me.
I’ve pleaded with the Universe: “Come on, I’ve given up meat can I please just keep my impatience?” (I’m only half kidding with that last line) A weird bargain to strike I know, but that is just how strongly I felt about it. Notice the past tense in that sentence? Well, truthfully, past tense is a tad ambitious. I know it will come up again (and again), but I am beginning to see Patience in a new light. It is shifting for me.
What triggered it was something that Deepak Chopra said :
“Patience is an act of Self-Care”
Patience is an act of Self-Care. I repeated it to myself to let it sink in and it actually makes sense. Whenever I’m impatient, I get frustrated, irritable, cranky, making things a lot more difficult than they need to be.
To get back to that line in the supermarket: I can stand there and be frustrated or stand there and be at peace. I can stand in line willing the cashier to move faster or smile warmly, understanding they are doing the best they can just like me. My choice. Don’t get me wrong, there may be good reason to be annoyed with the people in front of you. Nothing wrong with that. No need to strive to be a saint. But to me it often feels like a waste of energy I cannot afford. Again, the supermarket is just a random example, but the same thinking applies to any other situation.
I can sit on the couch frustrated that all I can do is watch TV or I can remind myself that I am doing the important job of letting my body rest and enjoy the show. I can push my body to the breaking point trying to force improvement or I can trust that my body knows how to heal and get out of the way. I could yell at my dog for taking too long or I could remind myself that letting him out to do his thing is the reason I’m out there in the first place.
Not because it is a more enlightened thing to do. Not because I should, but because it feels better.
It feels better to allow life to be as it is. It feels gentler, softer, kinder. It feels like ease. Isn’t that what I wanted in the first place? Wasn’t I waiting impatiently because I was waiting for a future moment believing that future would feel good when I had it? Isn’t it a relief to know that I don’t have to wait at all, but have the ability to create more ease right here and now?
When I consider all of this, Patience stops being hard work. It transforms into the opposite. It becomes a gentle and loving thing, an act of Self-Care.
Patience is simply: Giving myself ease. Giving myself peace.
Understanding this intellectually was a good start, but I asked myself: How do I turn this from a concept into a moment to moment experience? Reflecting on this I realized the equation was missing something:
Presence requires you to stop waiting for a future moment and be in the current moment instead. Presence entails not needing this moment to be different. To get to peace when I’m being asked to be patient, I need to stop watching the clock, give up ‘waiting’ as a frame of mind and bring my attention to what is going on right here and now.
When I tap into Presence, Patience follows and Peace is the result.
So the equation really goes like this:
Patience + Presence = Peace
Tapping into presence helps me to feel at peace with where I am. I notice that nothing needs to change for me to be okay right now.
This doesn’t mean that from now on I will be an infinitely patient person (I wish). But the more I practice the easier it will be. And, not if, but when I slip back into impatience, I hope to remember to be patient with myself. (Interesting… I wonder if being patient with my impatience can also result in peace? I intend to find out.)
In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you.
You must get impatient sometimes too right? How do you deal with it? Is it even or issue for you or are you on the “should” side of things? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear.
P.S. Funny, as I write this I get that response from a friend I had been waiting for. She had not seen the message until now. No worries sweetie, I made good use of the time. I was at peace.