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“Nothing in nature blooms all year. Be patient with yourself.” — Karen Salmansohn


View from the suspension bridge at Anne Springs Close Greenway


I have never considered myself to be a patient person. Neither do any of the people who know me well. I have thrown my share of fits when someone cuts me off in traffic or doesn’t acknowledge when I’ve done something to help them out in some small way. I’m not the only one, right? I mean, I’m only human. That being said, I would like to think I’ve got the ability to practice patience in some of the most trying of situations (i.e., when one of my daughters has experienced one of the ever so wonderful teenage emotional meltdowns).

In my own life, though, I have struggled to find patience with myself. I would say that I enjoy most aspects of my life. I’ve got a wonderful family, awesome dogs, a very nice career, good friends (not many, but those I do have I consider to be true friends, and they are all I truly need).

So why am I constantly questioning my decisions that have led me to where I am? I always wonder if I’m in the right job, if I’ve made the right decisions when it comes to my kids, etc. I think we all do this, to some extent. Times when our inner voice says, “This was good, but not good enough.” Or, “Why didn’t you do this?” Things like that. It’s an abusive relationship like any other, but we ignore it because it’s us abusing OUR OWN SELVES. Crazy, right?

I think if we took the time to slow down once in awhile and really pay attention to what is going on around us, it would go a long way towards helping us find that patience we so desperately need.

Several times this week, I journaled about my constant questioning of my own abilities. I was getting frustrated because I am not sure why I’m doing this to myself all the time as of late, moreso than ever before. And then I had a lightbulb moment.

I thought back to when I first began practicing yoga, to DVDs, way back in 1999. It took me a solid year before I went to a live yoga class because my body was so stiff that I was embarrassed to be in a room with others. But I finally did attend a live class, and I STILL could not do many things the other students could do. But I kept at it. 

Chaturanga was my nemesis. I just couldn’t seem to make my way down without dropping my knees as a modification. And then suddenly, I could do it without modifying. It probably took me about 3 or 4 months. Honestly, I’m not sure how long it took. I just know that I worked, and worked…and worked…until one day I could do it. Hmmm…maybe I actually have some patience after all. For the things I really want, anyway.

Thinking on that this week — how I had the patience to work at learning Chaturanga — made me realize how so much of my life outside of yoga is stifled by my pattern of rushing to the finish. I tell myself that certain things are out of reach for me, and so they are. I simply give up, rather than following the foundational steps of getting there. But I am strong enough and capable enough to do lots of things. With my yoga practice, I’ve done the work needed to move to the next level in poses. In yoga, I’ve fallen many times — too many to count. But I always get back up and try again, taking my time. I collect myself after landing on my mat, I think about what I could have done differently, and then I try again. Over and over.

So this week, it suddenly hit me that I don’t need to be perfect as a mom, or in my career, or anything else. I simply have to be patient with myself. Easier said than done, I know. However, if I can remember the lessons I’ve learned on my mat, the patience I’ve cultivated as I am tackling something new in my practice…well, maybe I can eventually approach the situations in my life off the mat in the same way.

What about you? When you fall, do you let yourself tumble down into a state of disappointment or depression? Do you become a victim? Or do you accept it, learn from it, and then try again?

I think that if you can accept where you land…if you can accept the good, the bad and the ugly, and sit with it in contemplation…then that is when the magic happens. 

Namaste,

Melanie

“There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs.” ~~ Zig Ziglar

Ever since I was a kid, people told me over and over again to be patient. My mom, my grandparents, my teachers, my friends, my husband. Over and over again, throughout my life, these people have said things like:

“Slow and steady wins the race.”

“Good things come to those who wait.”

“Patience is a virtue.”

“Just wait…don’t be so impatient.”

We’ve ALL heard these phrases (or similar ones) to illustrate the concept that we must be patient for the things that matter, right?

Well, I don’t know about YOU, but being patient and waiting for things is NOT in my nature. I am a redhead, after all! I typically get very antsy when I don’t get an expected result almost immediately. Then I get SUPER stressed from waiting…and waiting…and waiting some more. Which makes me miserable! Am I the only one this happens to?

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(This is how many of us look when we’re frustrated and impatient, wouldn’t you say?)

If you’ve been reading my blog, it’s clear that I’ve been moving towards more of the lifestyle and spiritual practices of yoga for quite some time. It’s been amazing, because as I grow my personal practice, the effects have been spilling over into every part of my life.

It hasn’t been instantaneous. As a matter of fact, it literally wasn’t until this past weekend that I really had my “A-HA!” moment. You see, this past month has been AMAZING for me, in so many different areas of my life.

In last month’s post, I talked about several things going on with me that were challenging, and I was working on just being OK with what IS. Focusing on the present moment and letting everything else go. This required an incredible amount of patience on my part, as a few of these things had been moving at what felt like a snail’s pace for many months (or years, in some cases). Within a few days of writing that post, however, things changed. Here’s a re-cap:

  • My new role at my full-time job is going very well. So far, it hasn’t been more stressful, and I’ve really been enjoying it. We had our Values conference right after I wrote my last post, and at this conference, teams and individuals are nominated by their peers and are recognized for going above and beyond. A couple of people I work very closely with had been nominated, so I was excited to see if they were chosen as winners. They were! And then all of a sudden, I heard MY name being called! I was in complete and utter shock! ME? I didn’t feel like I deserved this honor AT ALL! But you know, once I really stopped and thought about it, I realized I’d been able to focus on only one main project over this past year…TRULY focus! I truly feel that because of this, I was finally able to show what I can really do. In years past, I was focusing on multiple projects at a time…I remember one year, I had 5 different projects I was accountable for…all at the same time!!! And I remember during that time thinking, “Good Lord! With all that I do around here, and all that I am expected to keep track of, I should win an award or something!” So isn’t it amazing that, by having LESS on my plate, I end up winning that coveted award? I think I initially felt I didn’t deserve the award because I am not all frazzled and stressed anymore. Weird! Funny how life works sometimes.
  • My dog, Beta, is still with us. We switched her medications around, and it seems to be helping a little. She’s no longer hiding under the guest room bed ALL the time…she has actually come downstairs for some cuddles a little bit every day…God, I love it when she comes down and leans in to me as I am petting her! So it looks like maybe we’ve got a little more time with her than I was thinking, and I couldn’t be happier! I’m not expecting miracles…she IS almost 15 years old, after all…but I’ll take what I can get. We’re just taking it one day at a time, being patient with whatever we get on any given day.
  • My Lyme Disease treatment is really starting to kick in. When I first started this journey in December 2011 to figure out what was wrong with me, I was constantly frustrated because no one knew WHY I was sick and nothing was helping me to feel better. I was looking for that “magic pill” that would cure me instantly. Once I finally got diagnosed, it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. There are a variety of ways to treat this, and the first few things I tried didn’t work. Choosing the holistic route that I am now doing meant trying a few things at a time and waiting to see the effect. Deep down, I knew it was what I needed to do. But I had to be patient. And finally, after all this time, I am seeing a difference, and in a very good way!

Incorporating yoga and meditation into my life more and more has been key in all of the above. Trying different styles of yoga over the past couple of years helped me to see that for ME, one size does not fit all. I need a variety. I used to only practice the styles of yoga that “gave me a good workout”, because that’s how I thought it was best to tackle stress. What that actually ended up doing was causing me more stress, because I was pushing my body to an edge it just couldn’t handle. Eventually my body quite literally said, “ENOUGH!!! I can’t DO this anymore!”

Meditation, which is something I only got truly serious about since last February, has done wonders for my outlook on LIFE. My ability to do my full-time job has improved due to this, as I find I am not stressing over every little thing. And apparently, others have noticed, as evidenced by the promotion and the award I received. Lately, I have also noticed the difference it’s made in terms of my relationships with my family. My husband and I communicate much more effectively now, and I think it’s because I am actually LISTENING to him. Same with my kids…I’m not talking AT them like I used to, and am instead LISTENING and talking TO and WITH them.

027(Me and my dog, Ripley…can you see in my eyes that I am happy? I can.)

Though it seems like this great stuff happened to me all at once, it hasn’t. It’s taken time for me to get to this point. Many failed attempts at various things that I learned and grew from. I’ve never thought of myself as patient before, but as I look back at what I’ve endured to get to the point where I am right now, I know that I am indeed a patient person. That doesn’t mean I won’t complain now and again about how things may not be happening as quickly as I like…I am human, after all.

Try, if you can, to take your practice off the mat a little more this coming month. Notice how yoga is always with you. All you have to do is stop and take a deep breath…and you’ll see how it permeates your entire being if you let it.

Maybe you’re not ready to take it off the mat yet. That’s OK. You can practice patience on your mat as well. In fact, that’s how many of us begin. Usually, it involves working towards a particular pose. It may take you weeks or even months to get there, depending on where you’re starting from. Start from wherever you are, noticing how when you put a laser-like focus on one pose, you really start to see the progress happening. Even if it takes some time to get there, you’ll be able to see it if you’re focused.

On this day, which happens to be Thanksgiving Day, I am grateful for everything in my life, as these are the things and people who have shaped who I am. I’ve still got work to do on myself. I always will, and that’s excites me…I never want to stop growing! But hopefully, when I get hit with something that frustrates me in the future, I’ll stop and remember that things happen when they are ready, in their own time. I know what my goals are now, and I am happy to see how things unfold in my life as I steadily make my way towards my goals, getting to know myself along the way and becoming who I am meant to be. I hope that as you move through your own journey, you’ll be able to do the same…slow and steady…one step at a time.

Namaste,

Melanie

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