I spent most of the day waiting for the editor’s call before I decided I was ridiculous. By being so caught up in the waiting, I put off the rest of my life. I wasn’t connected to the present – in fact, I was distracted and made a couple of mistakes that I had to go back and fix. And, I found myself growing irritated, insecure – after all, why-hasn’t-she-called- it-must- be-me – and intolerant.
Not a good use of my time. I’m aware that there is great power in patience. It helps us settle in and find the peace in what is. It helps to be flexible and expansive. Open and accepting and from those qualities we gain gratitude and compassion and we don’t suffer as much.
Think about it, when you are giving your attention to the things that haven’t happened yet – and may never happen – you are not engaged in the life that is showing up. The possibility for growth and love and joy and peace is in the now, not what might be.
So, I’m working on becoming more patient.
Here are three practices I’m using to quell my impatience and become more present.
1. Savor. Pause throughout your day not only to notice the good things – the little things that illuminate beauty and fun and good feeling – and absorb the feelings that come. You don’t have to act on them, just tune in and allow yourself to feel them fully.
2. Go with the must dos and drop the rest. Often impatience comes when we’ve crammed our schedules with more things that we can possibly get done in the time we have. Then we are frustrated when others don’t perform, or traffic slows us down and we run out of time to accomplish all we feel we need to do. Knock it off. Revise your To-Do List. Each day put on three essentials for the day – pay the bills, feed the animals, finish the work presentation. Then do those essential things first and be flexible in what you take on after that. Many of the things we feel like we have to do, aren’t really all that necessary and just add to our stress and impatience.
3. Breathe and be still. This is counter-intuitive, I know, but when, in the throes of my impatience and irritation, I can take a few deep breaths and be still, I can see that the world hasn’t ended simply because the call didn’t come in, or I couldn’t get the bank on the phone in eight seconds. Even a short pause can help us gain perspective and the breath can help ease stress. When you unhook from your impatience for just a second, you realize that you don’t need to get all hyped out about the delays. Plus, impatience actually slows you down and keeps you from maxing out your efficiency.
When I’m feeling impatient, there is a message hidden there. Something to show me and more often than not, the enforced delays offer insight, or a new possibility. Sometimes they even keep me safe because I’m not rushing headlong into a debacle. When things aren’t happening as fast as you’d like, take a breath and then take a break. Savor the moment and look for the light within. Patience allows us to connect to this moment and that is where passion and possibility reside.