i have never been very good at being patient. even before the days of the internet and social media i had come to expect a certain amount of instant gratification. this partly had to do with my personality: a mix of not giving up until i got what i wanted & setting my goals at a realistic enough level that i'd know i would be able to attain them. for a long time this worked for me. i never had to wait for things, or work very hard for the things i've wanted. quite recently i realized that this has left me unfulfilled to a certain degree. there is little in my life that is very precious; there is little in my life that i couldn't possibly let go of. i realized that i have been living a life of impulse-- accepting what i saw first rather than waiting for what's truly special to enter into my life.
out of the blue last week a thought came to me that i had to write down: "would your life be different-- would your outlook be different-- if you received everything you have ever wanted? nothing you've ever wanted?"
and then it hit me that i've received everything that i thought i've wanted, but nothing that i have ever truly wanted. because i am impatient. because my impatience has held me back from opening myself up to better things. i've been settling because i've been afraid of being empty-handed while waiting to find what's right.
has impatience ever held you back? in what areas of your life could you be settling?
patience is hard work. it takes a deep level of awareness, perspective, and inner peace to be patient. obviously, patience also requires time: something that we're all too afraid of giving anymore. but learning to cultivate a patient attitude will help bridge many gaps in our self-care practice as well as give us the power to care for ourselves more deeply than we ever thought we could. having patience with our bodies, with our minds, with our desires, with others, and with our environment will help us foster deeper, clearer understanding of how they all play into our self-care.
patience with our bodies
i hit a high in terms of gratitude this week after a completely independent, improvised yoga session in my bedroom. i wore my softest t shirt and my smallest shorts, put on the sound of the ocean, and let my body move and sweat how it wanted. i let it do its own thing for a good hour and a half and let myself be patient for once. i knew my poses couldn't be perfect, i knew i wasn't as flexible as i wanted to be, but for that hour and a half i reminded myself that i was-- and will always be-- in the midst of a process. i showed myself that i can find value in the in-between state... that simply using my body to work towards being better, stronger, more flexible and capable, is a joy in itself.
patience with our minds
when our mental state is impatient it is hard for us to grasp at any one emotion in particular. we bounce around and succumb to so many different feelings at once that we end up confusing ourselves and making poor decisions. for me, breathing is the key to patience. for others it might be counting to ten, or shutting your eyes. when my mind is flooded with stimuli i've learned that the best way to cope is by taking a huge, low breathe and slowly, gently exhaling out all of the nervous, impatient energy. it feels like sweeping to me. i'm able to sweep away the dirt and cobwebs that build up with overthinking-- the stuff that starts connecting each thought into one confusing superthought-- and provide some space and clarity.
patience with our desires
this is the big one for me. i firmly believe that we will all achieve a sense of ultimate peace and fulfillment if we can just learn to identify what we truly want and make sure that this desire is unshakeable. make a list. create a code for yourself. what do you want? what's in front of you? does it check off every single thing on your list? no, it doesn't? move on, move away. this applies to anything and everything: what to have for breakfast, what kind of shoes to buy, a new relationship (or an old relationship), where to travel, where to live, where to work, etc. patience is so crucial here because it is HARD to wait for what we truly want. most of us would rather settle, like i mentioned i have been doing. but settling will only make us yearn for our true desires more. settling is never enough.
patience with others
somehow it is so easy to forget that we don't all think the same, and that none of us can read minds. i admire the people who aren't afraid to simply express what they want and what they need from others. i have a bit of a mental block about this... it comes from deep inside of me-- from my childhood, from my relationship with my family, from a lot of places. i've always wanted everyone and everything to be "okay," and i concluded that expressing my wants as needs would ruffle too many feathers or bring a sense of imbalance to a situation. lately i've learned that that is completely ridiculous. i have finally FULLY understood that no, we don't all think the same, and that no, none of us can read minds, and that yes, people want to know what my wants and needs are because yes, we're all pretty in the dark and would like some more clarity. some people need more time than others to let people in. that's okay. be patient with others and have faith that they will let you in when they are ready, not when they are forced. be respectful of others' processes. be grateful that you have the opportunity to witness how another thinks and acts. learn from others, be open.
patience with our environment
our environment is the most obvious manifestation of our energy and our work. the space around us reflects us-- it's very simple. so if we aren't content with our environment it's important to turn inward to see what it is about ourselves that needs change. this is a fragile process because it will take a little time for our environment to reflect new inner changes. don't give up. live your true way and your outer life, your environment, will bring you inspiration and support. have patience in the process, relish in the process, and understand that each day is an opportunity to harmonize your spirit with your home, your work, your place in the world.
next week i will focus on awareness and what it means for self-care.