Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Patience and presence

I often talk to friends and family about living presently and in the moment. This concept just makes so much sense to me...that is, when it is about other people's lives. I preach it, I believe it, I say it over and over again to myself and to others. So why is it so hard to live presently???

Frankly, in my opinion, patience is not a virtue. It's a bitch. I struggle with it constantly! Even as I type this blog, I'm considering what to do for dinner later, how I still need to finish the Thank You notes from my wedding gifts, and how nice it will be to put on some sweatpants, listen to music and just knit later when I get home! Yet, I'm sitting here on a stool, at a table, on a lap top and I am alive! Living, breathing, thinking, creating...ALIVE! So why can't I be happy with that? It's down right frustrating!

As usual my wise friend M and all the wise people she has in her life offered me a really important thought yesterday. And it made me realize how much this pertains to my life right now and most everyone else's at any given moment.

M writes:

"This is from my friend Janice.

'A waiting person is a patient person. The word 'patience' implies the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us. Patient living means to live actively in the present and wait there. Impatient people expect the real thing to happen somewhere else, and therefore they want to get away from the present situation and go elsewhere. For them, the moment is empty. But patient people dare to stay where they are, waiting.'


I read this over and over again. The piece that was most striking to me was how "impatient people expect the real thing to happen elsewhere, and therefore they want to get away from the present situation and go elsewhere." I realized that this is me. This describes me perfectly. When I'm at the office working, I wish I were working from home. When I'm working from home, I feel lonely and wish I were in the office. When I'm inside, I'm dying to be on a run outdoors. When I'm out running, I'm just waiting until it's over so I can finish my daily tasks and routines. I'm exhausted just thinking about it. This is no way to live! My life right now may not be my ideal life, but it's a beautiful life! I get to create on a daily basis. I have a loving husband who dreams big and works hard and loves me unconditionally. I work in an atmosphere of free thinkers with no boundaries and limitations. I have health and strength and fitness like I've never had before. This is a great life and I'm missing it!

So how do we slow down? How do we savor the good moments? How do we learn to appreciate the beauty in the sad moments? 

Again it sort of hit me while on a run today. It was getting dark so I knew I didn't have long to be outside and the temperature was only 30 degrees so my desire to be outside was not so intense. I ran only for about 33 minutes but in those 33 minutes I managed to think about a million things: the stress of work, frustration with my messy house and the lack of time to clean it, anger that the day didn't do as expected, excitement about going home in a few weeks for Christmas, anxiety that I don't know when we'll be leaving, uncertainty about finances, etc etc etc... Oh my goodness! Running is supposed to relieve stress. My word! When the run was finished I couldn't bring myself to get into the car. The park was empty, the trees bare, the squirrels were rustling in the dead leaves and I was alone. All I wanted was to revel in this aloneness. I wasn't ready to see my husband. I wasn't ready for the warm heat of the car and I didn't want to get right into the traffic. I had an opportunity right in front of me to seize some time to myself and really relish in it. 

Now I don't think there is a formula to this. I think it's about taking advantage of those moments to be present even if your natural instinct is to go home and put on the TV or drown out the quiet with the radio. So this time, I used this moment to tell myself that everything is ok. It's ok to be scared. It's ok to be uncertain. And it's ok to sit and feel these things. It's ok to stare at the barren trees even when I could be on my way home and "saving time." It's ok to laugh at the swans and geese all lined up in a row and marvel in their symbiosis. These moments are important because they remind you that life continues to happen even when you are not looking. So I took the time to look. And my heavy bag of stress felt lighter. And all it took was 20 minutes with the swans and geese. My mind felt peaceful and suddenly I could handle things more calmly and peacefully. 

I'm not here to tell you that my winter escapade fixed everything. These feelings have a ways of revisiting us over and over again with a rigorous monotony. 

But lets face it, as humans isn't  monotony necessary to really learn life lessons? Each day I am reminded of patience and why it is so critical to success and happiness. These daily visits help me practice and become a more patient and present person.  My husband and I even took time out of our work day to remind ourselves of why we are on the path that we are on. Why it is so important sometimes to go into tunnel vision and not become distracted by what others are doing around you.  And he said something really wise that helped me understand my emotions a little better.

He said we often use our free time to ponder why it is that we don't get more free time. And if we just really focused on one thing at a time, our work time would be more productive, our rest time would be more restful, and we'd feel a lot less longing for one or the other! My, what a concept! task right now is to stay focused. When I'm writing my blog, all I'm doing is writing my blog :)

one last nugget to ponder.... a quote by a really wise man, in my opinion...

"The poor, the unsuccessful, the unhappy, the unhealthy are the ones who use the word tomorrow the most."
Robert Kiyosaki

Today I challenge you to be patient, be present and Bpositive!

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