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Cultivating Patience

I'm cultivating patience right now as I stare at a blank blog page trying to find the right words. A few minutes ago I was cultivating patience as I positioned myself into pigeon pose on my yoga mat, feelin my tight hips slowly opening and relaxing through the discomfort.

I cultivate patience when my friends and family make decisions I don't agree with or when I have to adhere to certain processes at work that feel like a waste of time. I cultivate patience when I get stuck behind a slower driver or get stuck in traffic on the way to an important appointment. Who am I kidding? I am my worst self when I'm slightly inconvenienced behind the wheel. I'm still a work in progress of course. We all are.

I don't think I'm alone in the feeling that big shifts are happening right now. It's all around us - in our community, our families, our state, our nation and our world. Whether we're in the messy middle of a big shift or we simply feel it's coming for us soon, this is the best time to cultivate a little patience of your own. That's the message that keeps coming up for me lately.

Sitting through the discomfort of change - or even the anticipatory discomfort of change - can be one of the most challenging aspects of life. It's a lesson we have to learn over and over again. Every day we're reminded of how little control we have over this one wild and precious life.

Then there is the matter of cultivating patience with ourselves. Learning to accept where we are on our journey without comparing it to others.

The mantra I keep coming back to during times like these? "I am where I am and that's OK."

So how do we practice cultivating patience? I think it includes a practice of meditation to slow down the mind and leave space between the action and the reaction. It takes a lot of self-reflection to notice when it's happening. We have to make peace with the fact that our brains want to immediately react and steer us out of discomfort. You, as the observer of your brain, can decide to not act on that impulse.

That means not responding immediately to an email when you're angry. It means not making hasty decisions when your brain is in fight or flight mode. It's also having faith that the answers will come to you in good time. There's no need to rush. Sometimes you'll agonize over a decision for weeks only for it to work itself out without you. Think of all that energy that could have been spent elsewhere in your life.

It's hard work, but keep returning to yourself as many times as it takes.

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