Been avoiding this module in the Be Gentle, Be Love e-course. My definition of patience has been under construction. My definition of Patience has been expanding. Patience used to be the top attribute on my personal prayer wall, where I checked in with God and placed my order:
My natal definition of patience fit with Amanda’s opening quote, “Patience is the ability to count down before you blast off.” My translation: And not be bossy and insist on my way. I felt I achieved patience when I allowed another person to choose the movie or the restaurant or when I sat through 400 photos of a friend’s African safari and never checked my watch or my phone. I was patient.
I never equated patience with the attributes Amanda describes, “waiting peacefully…breathing peace through frustrations…Juggling the wrenches life throws at you and accept them into the rotation of your day.”
What a more purposeful and elegant approach!!!
Head Slap: Patience can extend beyond episodic concessions to another’s point of view or preference. Patience can redefine my response to change.
With the exception of motherhood, every change in my life has been abrupt, scary, and something to be battled. I remember my first period. Although my mother swore she had “told me all about it,” I absolutely could not remember the details, especially the part about this whole deal going on a monthly schedule. We lived in Newport Beach at the time. I played tennis and body surfed everyday. Menstruation was an invasion of my privacy! I argued vociferously with my mom that I was absolutely not going to be subjected to this “invasion” every month. I would accept only once a year. In probably the first case of menstrual outsourcing, those were my terms. I would not be patient with this change.
A couple of years later, my father announced that he had been abducted by aliens. I was sure of it because he and my mother were making plans, ACTUAL plans, to move to somewhere called Oklahoma. From Newport Beach to Oklahoma? Not bloody likely!
I congratulated my dad with a big smile, hug, and gave him the 1970’s version of the high-five—the shoulder dap. Then I announced that I would not be moving. No tears, or theatrics—just stating the fact that I would not move. Or be moved. I would not be patient with this change either.
Although, I lost the menstruation battle, I won the relocation battle and stayed in California after producing a rotating schedule of who I would crash with and for how long.
Others battles followed: ideals adopted, memberships activated, picket lines walked, contracts negotiated, petitions signed, funds raised, policies modified. Admittedly, some answer were “No”. Some causes/campaigns/initiative battles ended against the “white hats.” But not all.
That, I think, is the lure of impatience. Sometimes it works. Although, my family’s adopted motto of, “be the change you wish to see in the world” transitioned me away from internal focus to external quests and rewards.
But I wonder…back then, what if I had accepted Amanda’s larger definition of patience instead? What if I had been patient with my body? With my parents? With the system? With others?
“Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience” Emerson
What if … (deep inhale)… I had yielded to patience and flowed with patience?
Is pursuing patience a fast pass to acceptance? Would the results have been the same minus the Sound and the Fury and dissociation toward myself? (I mean, who argues about menstruation? Really?)
Just last week at LaGuardia airport, my daughter challenged a TSA policy. Yes. TSA. The people with the guns at the airport who aren’t really into debate and passive resistance. The people who are in charge now.
She had no patience for this particular rule. (The apple does not debate far from the tree.)
She questioned authority. She made a cogent point. There was sound. There was a little fury. She argued. I watched. She disputed. I silently focused on the word “yield” and detached, wondering if her eventual bail could be charged on Visa.
She conceded. They let us board the plane. She walked disillusioned,down the jet bridge. I followed, Sherpa-like, carrying the remnants of her broken principles.
“I guess that’s what you mean by ‘pick your battles,’” she said to me as we settled in seats 14A and 14B. She continued, “I guess I should have yielded to them, even if it still doesn’t seem right.”
(Wow! She said that very same word!)
“Well,” I offered., “While your Stalin and sheepherding analogy was inventive, I’m learning that “Yield” is not a four-letter word,” I exhaled and paused. “Neither is ‘Patience.’”
I stopped there.
If Patience is the mask, then, as the flight attendant instructed, I will have to secure mine on first before I can assist her or anyone else.
Thanks, Amanda, for another stretch!