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