“Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” –Joyce Meyer
One of the luminaries of the modern era – a healer, yogi, doctor…a hero of mine and inspiration to millions, who taught us about enlightenment in one of his most amazing books – Dr Seuss, wrote:
“Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite. Or waiting around for Friday night or waiting perhaps for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil or a better break or a string of pearls or a pair of pants or a wig with curls or another chance. Everyone is just waiting.” –Dr. Seuss
The book: Oh The Places You’ll Go.
Another of my heroes said this:
..I would like to beg you dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”
Rainer Maria Rilke from Letters to a Young Poet
I was just in Las Vegas, where there is a sign: ‘You must be present to win.’
One of the best learnings for me in the realm of parenting, something that I am practicing – and truth be told, I am blessed for this to have come naturally for me: waiting is challenging, especially for children. In fact, it can be downright torturous. In fact, I suspect it is torturous for us ‘grown’ people too, and the only real difference is we have become sensitized to it.
Zaida (my nine year old daughter) and I often talk about the danger of falling into the illusion of waiting. Waiting is inherently a leaving of the present moment. And, in Las Vegas terms, losing.
We always have the ability to shift our focus, so instead of waiting. The time is going to pass anyway. We can be counting our blessings, visualizing what we wish to create in our lives and/or our world, or even simply noticing what is happening in the space of now; we can engage our senses to get present by paying attention, breath by breath, to what we see, hear, feel in our immediate environment.
I suspect that this sounds small (and in one way it is), yet it makes a profound, yogic difference in the quality of our lives.
Yesterday I checked out of the AirBnB apartment I’d been staying in the previous 6 days. As I had invested a bit of time in setting myself up for success in my time there – meaning that I’d brought a bunch of stuff, including kitchen stuff to facilitate making the elixers that feed me on a deep level, and work well in the midst of intense training/work days, plus I’d brought my rebounder, set up my little altar, etc. That’s to say also that it took me a while to pack up (always longer than I tend to think), and given that I had hours to drive and a couple of important calls, webinars and virtual meetings, I felt some pressure about the timing.
Simply put, I was tending toward being stressed.
That morning though, when I practiced, I set a specific intention and visualized myself staying in a radiant state (happy, playful, loving, grateful, present) even as I encountered challenges and pressures in the course of the day.
When I finally got everything packed, the house cleaned up a bit, and the car loaded, I realized that I didn’t know where the ‘lock-box’ key was. My host had guided me to a lock box key that got me into the apartment, and then I used another set of keys throughout my stay. I was to put that key back where it was upon my leaving. so that the owner or cleaner could then use it to get back into the apartment.
12:30 in the heat of the Las Vegas afternoon.
It’s more than an hour after when I’d planned to leave.
I’d taken a good 10-15 minutes trying to figure out where the key could be.
My poor little brain, under stress, started making up less than resourceful stories. If I don’t find the key, I’ll loose my deposit. I will have somehow been irresponsible. I’ve let the owner down. If I lose my deposit, that will have a serious negative effect on my finances and my life…
Know what I mean? In other words, there and then emerged a part of me that is instinctual, rooted in survival and driven by fear. We all have that part. It’s hard-wired, and even though it can be rewired and upgraded, and even though that part of us drives us to pain and suffering, to diminishing who it is we truly are and can be, that part often shows up and runs the show.
I was blessed to have envisioned myself and set an intention.
I managed to breathe. Stop. And consider my options. What can I do?
That question, by the way, is a great key to escaping the doldrums of waiting.
I could call the home owner…
I could just hope that I keep my deposit.
I could remember that even though part of me thinks my survival depends on that deposit, and the idea of losing it because I didn’t take care of the key engages my ‘I’m not good enough (smart, responsible, etc)’ story, the truth is, it doesn’t really matter in the big picture of life.
I chose to take one key off the other ring, put that in the lock box, and then send a message of explanation and apology to the owner.
There were a few other bizarre challenges (lock box malfunction, parking situation, funnily behaving gate…) that inspired me to remember to breathe. When I finally got on the highway headed through the desert and toward Joshua Tree National Park, I was overjoyed.
Ten minutes into the journey, having fully immersed myself into Beautiful Day by U2, I got a text message from the owner:
“It’s all good. I’m glad you enjoyed your stay.”
The lesson for me, which he summarized well, is that by us choosing not to wait, to invest ourselves into fully living the moment, we truly get to not only enjoy our stay, but make other being’s earth experience much more delightful too.
So pertinent to my message here is the song of my good friend Daniel Nahmod. Check out his song here.