WHEN quizzed about patience, my immediate answer was WIP; work in progress. I admitted this to all, near and far. I admired teachers; convinced to my bone I could not do it. To nurture different student personality profiles and explain, without shattering the child’s confidence was a work of magic. I was easily irritated when things did not go according to my plan, schedule or expectation. It was not arrogance, or being a know it all. I was sincerely puzzled why we could not all be on the same page. Over the years, I learnt that patience is about trust, compassion and clarity of thought.
I must share the story of what happened in a Goan cooking class a few years back. My table was tasked to prepare a squid curry and the first step was to brown the onions. Within seconds of sweating them in the pan, I called for the instructor, “Is that ok? Move to the next step?” One look and he said, no. I repeated the question every few minutes received the same response. He may have equated my Asian heritage to culinary skills and seemed surprise at my impatience. About twenty-five or thirty minutes of an arm workout later, he came over and said, “looks good, get to the next.” That squid curry turned out to be one of the tastiest curries I had cooked. Each ingredient and spice, had been given time to simmer and infuse its aroma and flavours. It was a labour of love, time and understanding. Everything played a part and it was fantastic!
Skip the obsession of ‘why things did not happen’ and turn your thoughts to ‘what happened’. Chances are, the window, of the event not taking place, was an opportunity to do something else. Looking back, it will all make sense. The glitch is, at that particular time, the reasons are not presented to you. It is unwrapped later, could be days, months or sometimes years. The test is one of trust. Do you trust that what is happening is for your higher good? If no, what should you do about it. I was visiting family over the holidays last year, and the trip was extended to accommodate certain engagements. Whilst I rejoiced spending time with my family and friends, it bugged me that my hubster wasn’t able to join the trip. Looking back, months later, I am grateful beyond words for the extra time as I’ve been unable to see my family and close friends since Covid-19. Whilst technology has assisted with keeping in touch, I miss the in person meet tremendously and am so thankful for the relaxed and fun times spent in their company.
Nothing is instant in life. Water takes time to convert to ice. Even instant noodles, requires two minutes to cook. It’s not open, tear and eat! Being patient does not mean, be the carpet and let other people walk all over you. It’s about tolerance and compassion. Just like you, everyone has a point of view. Create space and listen; do not shut them out. It could be really good feedback for self-improvement. There are two sides to a coin; and, orange, green or pink could also be the new black. Keep an open mind. My ex-colleague pointed out that I could get emotional when confronted about work. I took this comment well as I understood it as taking pride in my work, delivering the best results. What she meant, was at times, I got defensive when hearing conflicting viewpoints. It was hard hitting but there was value in the feedback. We are attached to the thing we do, it’s natural. There is implied understanding, especially when we know the subject inside out. To a third person, it could be totally foreign. Taking a step back and seeing things from a fresh perspective, whether your own or others, is helpful. It takes courage to share feedback and even more strength to receive it. Without bubbling to conclusions, keep a cool mind, take a deep breath and look at what you’ve received. Sift and take the best for your personal growth.
Patience guides the mind to sit in stillness and clear the clutter. There is so much noise inside and outside of us. It’s distracting and challenging to focus. Taking a few moments of quiet for ourselves helps distil the mind, assimilate thoughts and brew a sense of purpose to our actions. Spend time understanding and observing. Assess if things could be done differently or more efficiently. Edit your choices. Choose well for yourself, patiently.
Sharing a few favourite quotes from beloved Rumi:
‘Patience is not sitting and waiting, it is foreseeing. It is looking at the thorn and seeing the rose, looking at the night and seeing the day. Lovers are patient and know that the moon needs time to become full.’
‘Listen with ears of tolerance. See through the eyes of compassion. Speak with the language of love.’
‘When I run after what I think I want, my days are a furnace of stress and anxiety; if I sit in my own place of patience, what I need flows to me, and without pain. From this I understand that what I want also wants me, is looking for me and attracting me. There is a great secret here for anyone who can grasp it.’
Love and hugs,