The dreaded ‘P’ word — patience is my nemesis. Pope Gregory pronounced patience as one of seven heavenly virtues in 520 AD and the idea has held fast. I seem to lack this virtue of patience when I am rushed, self-absorbed, think I know best, fast forwarding to the future or frustrated. I do not wait with ease, my ego delights as I rush into the moment two steps ahead of everyone else. Naturally, rushing ahead can turn into a troubled time. I try, really I do, to recognize the virtues of patience, but sometimes, I loose the ability to practice self-control. Jittery nerves, the insistent need to do something seemingly important strengthens my impatience. I get bossy, impervious and agitated when I feel a need to get my agenda completed while ignoring the needs of others. Sigh!
I have a habit of jumping the gun, feeling ever so clever knowing I can get ahead of the moment, when in fact, I might create extra work for myself when all is said and done. I tend to move without thinking while other more patient people slowly and calmly make dynamic decisions I wish I had the patience to make.
Thankfully most days I am worry free, my frustrations low as I go with the flow and am at peace. Other days may find me anxious, filled with volumes of “I must do this now” issues, fearing the future, having no interest in listening or pausing to appreciate what and who is around me. For those who experience this unpleasant trait of mine, I apologize.
In Aesop’s fable, The Tortoise and The Hare, the two animals compete in a race. The hare bragging about his speed, took off fast, sure he would win. Because the hare felt so secure, he took pleasure in play and a nap along the way. Upon awakening he raced to the finish, only to find the tortoise waiting patiently. Gulp, my life sometimes parallels the hare. I can rush about with out a clear view of the situation only to find those who are patient and more thoughtful there.
When my mom decided she was ready to pass, I stepped in to care for her. At first, my impatient nature regrettably emerged. Luckily, I recognized the strangle hold of impatience for what it was, and allowed compassion to take its place. This was a game changer for me. Self-indulgence was tossed aside for the more important moment of empathic loving care for another.
Thus, I know the highs and lows of this virtue called patience. I have come to recognize what to do when I am in my bossy impatient mode:
Become aware of my external reactions to situations. When I blink into awareness, I need to take in the scene and slow down. Moving at top speed does not help anyone, especially me.
Once aware of how I am acting, I try very hard to stop, taking deep breaths to quiet my mind as I intentionally release my impatience.
Recognizing the wild ego whirlwind energy that has placed me in an impatient controlling mode, I seek and highlight any trigger which once identified can be changed.
I need to stop and think clearly and quietly before my over zealous actions take over.
Practice, practice, practice with loving kind awareness to myself as I recognize and clear the old habit of impatience and embrace patience!
I do know deep in my heart, the truth in this proverbial message: “All good things come to he who waits.” And, so I shall slow down, listen, be aware and wait with patience.