Otherwise known as agony...
I think that some people are born with an ability to wait...they are content allowing whatever is supposed to happen its right and proper timing...I don’t really know many of these people but I do think that they exist.
Then there are people like me who are absolutely convinced that everything is late and nothing is happening fast enough. People like me seem to have no ability to wait and that causes them to be restless and irritable and discontent most of the time.
I think most people fall into some combination of both extremes and for most of us, our patience is highly situational.
No one likes to wait in line. However, what we have on our agenda really kind of dictates our waiting ability. We are on our lunch break and have two other places we have to go, is always going to equal less patience with waiting than if we have no time deadline.
What I have found is that I have a dysfunctional relationship with the clock. Most of the time I can hear it ticking, like the telltale heart in Poe’s story. I can hear it ticking away the minutes and it makes me anxious and honestly, kind of an ass.
I have a lot to do in a day and there is always the pressure of time that keeps me moving forward but the pace in which I accomplish tasks and meet deadlines is really driven by this internal dysfunction with the clock.
I hate being late. I hate being too early but not knowing that I will arrive on time or at least a little early comes with an anxiety ridden undercurrent that propels me forward.
This internal clock that is really pretty merciless, is not forgiving and makes me kind of jerk. If I am going to yell at my kids the best timing for this is without having eaten and with the pressure of a clock. Recipe for disaster for all of us every time.
There is a saying “Don’t pray for patience unless you really want a whole host of situations that are going to make you crazy.” Ok, that isn’t really a saying...but it is how I feel.
For me, I can’t pray for patience. I have to work with what I have on any given day and realize that when I am standing in a long line, delayed in traffic, anything that interrupts my limited plans - that the only way that I get out of the anxious trap is to breathe and trust that I am right where I am supposed to be. Whatever it is that I am in...will pass. I don’t have to like it but it will pass on eventually...
What is my goal with patience any how?
If patience is defined as the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset then I am given the goal pretty much in the definition...
My goal is to be ok with life on life’s terms. Delay, frustration, setbacks, suffering, disappointment, hardship can all be met with a quiet acceptance instead of rage, indignation, anger or emotional dysregulation.
And I am going to claim some progress here. When I was younger, I had none patience. I was kind of like a small but violent tornado crashing and thrashing about in this world. I went where I wanted, when I wanted and heaven help the person, place or thing that stood in my path. Most people were sucked into my whirlwind and deposited elsewhere...I didn't really care where, so long as they were out of my way.
Today, I am older and I will claim wiser and I can see that while I did move shit about in my younger years, it was with a heavy emotional cost and toll on myself and those about me. Today, I can sit with hard things, frustrating things, uneasy things, anxiety provoking things and wait them out instead of freaking out.
This is not to say that I don’t still freak out...so not true. But I am better with seeing situations that used to freak me out, and waiting and letting them resolve of their own accord rather than jump in and stir the pot.
I think what has helped me most with patience is to realize that my timeline is best met with some sort of alliance with a universal time line. That my ideas about where and when something should be happening is very limiting. It is very hard for me to see the larger picture from where I stand, live and breathe...so perhaps, just maybe, it would be better if I allowed that there is some grace in this world that I cannot see from where I am living and that perhaps, just maybe, everything will happen exactly when and if it should.
It is still excruciating...at times. But this trust that I have developed and deepened over the years allows me to be far more patient than I ever have before. Today I believe in universal time while also holding onto my own ideas about time lines. The difference being that today I know that when there is a conflict, that allowing my way to give way to universal timing is a lot less painful.
Patience for me is just allowing what is happening to happen...and giving up the idea that I could and should stop it from going down exactly as it is in fact going down...
I cannot control the universe, hell I can’t even control myself most days. My thoughts and ideas swirl about me in a painful vortex which lacks acceptance of the here and now and desperately believes that something else should be happening for me and to me. Patience allows me some grace to step outside the spiraling maelstrom of my own mind and participate in some sort of divinity.
I have found that I gain patience by being given a whole bunch of shit that I don’t like, wish was different and really often resent. But if I sit with it and allow my mind to rest in the place that this is all happening as it should instead of the way that I think it should go down, then I gain a little ground in the practice of patience. And so it would seem, that lately I have been given a great deal of grist for the patience mill.
Today I know that I can always choose to react to the situations of my life with anger and upset but that only makes me upset and angry. It does absolutely nothing to change the thing that I am having a hard time accepting...and what do I really want? A life that gives me what I think I deserve or want, or a life free from want and desire? Is my life really just going to be about getting my selfish needs realized or am I willing to allow my life to be about something more? The practice of quietly accepting all that is as being exactly the way it should gets me to a more peaceful place. And that place will always be hard fought and long battled because that is just who I am. But, today I know, that I am and always will be better from my efforts to accept life as being exactly the way it is, even when I am delayed, frustrated, and denied that which I think I should not be denied. And that if I wait, if I am patient, sometimes, not always but sometimes, something wonderful occurs even if nothing wonderful really happens...sometimes, just allowing one moment to give rise to the next and being free from anger and upset is about the best moment I could ask for...