Patience for some is just a way to slowly build up steam for a good resentment. We can probably all relate to feeling this way at some point. True patience is probably the relinquishment of control. Not that I would profess vast experience in this area. Giving up control has become easier with age. I did not let go willingly; I just got tired. At some point I realized there must be a better way. The suffering created willingness and the willingness created focus and the focus created a desire to take action to change.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
I disliked that slogan. I thought it was for quitters who just didn’t want to put any energy into change. My ego had a clever ‘cover story’ for all my defects. I ran around in circles; exhausted and thought it was everyone else’s fault. Now when I’m tired, I just stop! I stop and think. Then I ask myself “how important is this?” Sometimes it’s obvious how ‘unimportant’ it is and yet my ego does not want to let go. “But they said 50 and there was only 49”. Then I breath. I relax. I let it go. This process is a demonstration of patience in action. The next time you have the answer and know it, just smile. That is patience.
My favorite way to diffuse an argument with my children and others is to say “you may be right”. They hear “you are right” and the debate is over! Another good one is a story my friend Charlie shared with me. In the middle of a heated argument his friend said “let’s pray about it” and bent their head in prayer. Can you imagine a heated debate at work or in public and you just stop and bow your head and declare “let’s pray about it”. haha. I’m waiting for the opportunity to use this one. Honey come home.
Let go of control
Hated it! My ‘cover story’ was if leaders don’t lead nothing would ever get done. My ego thrived on that one because my identity was tied to my “productivity”. “I can work anyone into the ground was my claim to fame”. Do not judge! We all have cover stories, so go find yours. Then I started to ask myself “am I really helping”? The sun will rise, and the moon will shine, today and I have absolutely nothing do with it. More over there are infinitum things happening every day that have absolutely nothing to do with me. In that context is not control just an illusion? This logic seemed to circumvent the ego and create a desire to relax into the natural flow of life.
Humility and Service
This made no sense to me. I confused humility with humiliation. I thought it meant defeat. Again another ‘cover story’ to justify ego. Humility is understanding. It is seeking to understand. Service is making a decision to show up and see what we can add to life; not what we think we are owed from life. These concepts are timeless. One Christmas I felt alone and had family strife. I found a women that had 5 children and spent the holiday cooking, cleaning and helping her with her children. I forgot about my suffering. Instead I become purposefully and usefully whole. It is a Christmas I will always remember.
The power of patience lies in our peace of mind. Our ability to relax into the flow of life. It lowers blood pressures, reduces stress and makes room for more peaceful interactions. It allows us to continue through our day in a productive way vs obsessing over what may or may not unfold.
When we are calm we have clarity of thought. Inspiration may come to us. Problems we forced, may dissolve on their own. Problems we thought existed may be another illusion of the ego to create a cover story. Is it not true what will come will most probably come regardless of my state of mind? So why not vanquish anxiety and settle into patiently accepting each moment as it comes. Would we be more powerful if we were calm in a storm? Would we be more likable if we asked questions instead of demanding answers? Would our family appreciate us cutting them some slack? Are we tired and can we give ourselves permission to let go and relax just a bit?
Why not enjoy right now this moment. After you read this close your eyes, think of one happy thought, imagine you are there, feel the space, the touch, smell the air, breath deep and just enjoy this moment.
Now what if you chose to do this all throughout the day?
“Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.” – Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment.