I’ve heard it said many times that we are Human Doings, not Human Beings…which explains our lack of patience: we continually seek to do, not to be. Living in the moment is one of the most difficult tasks we have as thinking, thriving humans. But it is one of the most important.
I just saw one of those memes that said: Worry means you’re living in the past, Anxiety means you’re living in the future. Calm means you’re living in the moment. Really, patience is letting go of that anxiety and worry and focusing on the things that need your attention now.
Patience is one of those essences that I seem to continually strive for, but am seen as someone who has a lot of. Truth is, it’s all about perspective and distraction. I feel like 1/8 of my life is sitting and waiting. So I’ve become good at entertaining myself, which to the outside observer makes me seem good at being patient. Truth be told, like a magician, it’s all about slight of hand to yourself.
Here are my secrets:
1) Resign yourself to it. Give in. Patience has to happen. Waiting will occur. Breathe. Shrug your shoulders. Give over the power and control to whatever deity you choose and say it in your most believable Ice Cube: Bye, Felicia.
2) Now that you’ve told whatever you’re waiting for, bye for now, focus on something else. I’m sure there are a million options to you sitting and staring at the situation to change. Go work on a hobby, go learn a new skill, go call friends/return emails/catch up, clean your home, read/write/watch TV, bake, sleep, basically turn your back on your waiting game and put all your focus elsewhere.
For example–I’m currently waiting to hear about an audition. It’s a very important one. A dream role. But I know I cannot show up and do my best work until someone else says they are available. This made me obnoxiously anxious for a few weeks–inside and out. I’d told a few people about it, and they are continually checking in with me, the one trying to wait patiently in the waiting room of my brain–which has no smooth jazz Muzak to soothe me.
3) Come to terms with, or realize, or acknowledge that for whatever reason, whatever deity or power doesn’t want this in your life right now. You can also say: whatever, FAIT. (I spelled it right. “Fuck All, I’m Tired.” F-A-I-T.)
This is kinda step one as well, but really, to be good at patience you have to hear that voice and constantly tell it to hush. That you’re busy in the moment, but you’re ready when the time comes. It’s just not the time yet.
4) Remind yourself that you’ve been patient before, you can definitely do it again. As Kimmy Schmidt said down in the bunker when turning the crank: I can do anything for 10 seconds. And when that 10 seconds is up I’ll do another 10. (As in: she survived the last amount of time, she can survive the next allotment).
5) Other than reminding yourself that you’re capable, don’t compare yourself to anyone else or even previous versions of yourself. Stories and myths of waiters like Job, Penelope, and even Sisyphus come to my mind a lot when I need to be patient–by the way if you need to go look up those references, go for it. I can wait!
Good you’re back–these are stories. Myths. If they did happen, their timeline and life is totally different from yours. Your timeline is even different from yours in the past. The last time I went to the DMV it was delightful, even though I waited for over 90 min. It was agony the time before that, and I probably was the same or less time, but I set myself up to wait. Which brings me to secret 6:
6) Prepare to wait. Set yourself up to be patient. To the DMV, I brought a snack, water, a fully charged phone and a book. I prepared to wait. I settled in and was actually annoyed when my number was called. Ha! I ALWAYS take a book to the post office these days–I know its going to be a wait, so I get ready for it. Auditions ALWAYS have waiting. I’ve just learned to keep a snack, a book, and a charger on me at all times–because you never know when you’ll have to be patient.
7) Don’t give whatever it is, the satisfaction when it finally arrives. Just pretend it’s a normal thing on a normal day. This will help your mindset and balance in the scope of the world next time you have to be patient.
Like anything else, patience takes practice, ESPECIALLY in our instant society. I now live for the ellipsis on text message to go away–I want my friends to finish their texts to me!!! But, time is a good thing. Living in the moment is a good thing. Patience is a good thing. Practice. Breathe. Bring yourself into this moment. The next one will come soon enough, a whatever you’re waiting for.
One of my favorite quotes from Rumi starts: Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves…