Friday, September 16, 2011


Patience may be considered a virtue but it is rarely respected. In our go-go-go society it is hard to maintain such a virtue. We are consumers of everything; quick consumers! If we want it, we go buy it, some of us are lucky enough to know how to make it, but that is rare. Most of us are spenders not savers. Wasters not growers. I should know, this used to describe me. But as I sat in the dentist chair the other day waiting for the dreaded numbness, the thought came and passed that I had been sitting there for about twenty minutes without a peep from the dentist. Another ten went by and I noticed a man who had been taken back at the same time of me starting to complain. This brought my newly inherited patience to mind. In the past I would have used that thirty minutes to fume. Slowly bringing to mind all of those reasons that I should be mad I am sitting, waiting, wasting time. My frustration would have started out slow, "this is rude," "who do they think they are," "my time is valuable too." Then my negative thoughts would grow into a plot to storm out demanding they reschedule me because I had things I needed to do, places to be! That did not happen this time.
I discovered it was so much nicer to exercise my patience and focus on what an extra thirty minutes of "down time" meant for my day. I did some conscience breathing and some brainstorming and just sat there. It was great. I thought about the guy next to me who had just ruined his own day over something of which he had no control. Yes, it is rude for doctors to make us wait but who knows what the circumstance was. Was she having lunch with her child? Maybe SHE had a doctors appointment for which she had to wait. Maybe she was just running errands. It was irrelevant. What mattered was what I chose to do with the time my patience was allowing me. That day it allowed me to be mindfully present in the moment, because there was no where else I could be. I was able to finish out my day calm, relaxed and numb on on the left side of my face (okay so that part was not so great).
I truly believe my new "virtue" has come about because of my yoga practice but if you really think about it, it is a selfish act, being patient. It reminds us of our free will and ability to control our own thoughts and well-being. Next time you are in a situation when you really need patience try the following:
1. Just take a deep breath. Even if this means doing it in front of someone. It may seem weird to pause mid-rant to breathe but trust me, you and the receiving end will be appreciative that you need to get your bearings and chances are the conversation will be much more productive and less emotional.
2. Ask yourself the following question: Where else do I REALLY have to be right now? If the answer is "anywhere but here" than you need patience, my dear. If the answer is a valid place i.e. picking the kids up at school or on a conference call, and you are waiting on someone, politely and calmly explain to them that you will need to reschedule if they cannot see you in the next 10 minutes.
3. If you are waiting in line for something, and getting irritated, ask yourself if you really need that item you are purchasing or signing up for. Is it worth the stress of waiting in line? If it is than strike up a convo with the other cue members or prepare by bringing a book with you.
4. If it's traffic, you obviously can't read but you can listen to music or have a book on tape handy. Value this time to just be where you are and be thankful that you have the ability to get from point A to B via your own method of transportation. Hundreds of thousands of others have to wait for a bus or train or have to walk when they want to get somewhere.

Think of it this way, too. Some of the most enjoyable things are the result of time and patience like lasagna, babies and cupcakes!

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