Exercising Patience

Further thoughts on this post (Patience, Tenacity and the Value of TIme)

I did not arrive on this planet with patience – I had to gather it along the way. My nature is to think and move quickly and I easily fall into a rhythm with others who do the same. Slow movers were, for many years, a source of discomfort for me. But a lifetime of conscious work and a plethora of deep experiences transformed my impatient responses and I am far richer for it.

Learning to play guitar taught me patience, but my stubborn habits knocked me around a bit along the way. I was too hard on myself and I hurried so much toward arbitrary goals that I neglected to listen to my physical and emotional bodies. My current mission is to help others avoid beating themselves up as hard and as often as I did. Tenacity, discipline, commitment, all cornerstones of deep learning and musical achievement, have always been mine for the taking and they have served me well. Patience, however, was not an easy fourth cornerstone for me to find and place. It was only with the strength provided by the first three that I managed to succeed.

Teaching guitar presented swift and straightforward lessons in patience. How could I truly give to my students if all I offered them was information? In order to give my students the best of myself, I had to meet them where they were – on all levels of their being. That meant I needed to relentlessly respect the tempo of the individual. As I practiced giving that respect to others, I began learning how to give the same to myself. In time, that gift provided a vital flow of creative and emotional nourishment and became a guide toward a fulfilling life.

Love brings a person to patience and I run on love. Waiting for a child to determine which shoe goes on which foot, a horse to take a long draw from the water bucket or a cat to decide “in or out?” – these are all acts that require surrendering to a tempo that may initially seem tortuous. But the magic of an open heart is that it adjusts quickly and willingly to merge with the pulse of the beloved.

Nature is the best teacher I’ve found for cultivating not only patience, but also an ability to tap into and respond to intuition and creativity. Nature invites us to sacrifice our artificial agendas in order to step into the mystery. I have come to depend on my peaceful country home to provide ongoing comfort and personal lessons.

I love my subdivision road. It takes 6 minutes to go the 2 miles to my house, if you drive it well, which means patiently. Of course, you can arrive in less time, but you not only risk banging the bottom of your vehicle on the rough, unpaved road, you will most certainly miss the albino squirrel, the occasional jackrabbit or the subtly changing view from the high, tight curve in the road.

Those who are in a hurry to get here sometimes report “I love your place, but I don’t like your road.” Of course, I understand that from a certain perspective, the delays can be frustrating and uncomfortable. But from another perspective, every rock in that road is sacred.

If you didn’t have to drive a slow and bumpy 2 miles to get to this place, you wouldn’t find this place at the end of the 2 miles. What is that sublime feeling that washes over you as you make your way up my driveway? It is the absence of traffic noise, the multitudes of unseen wildlife and the whispered wisdom of the trees. It is the non-violence of excessive machinery or hard, formed concrete. It is a history of respect between Human and Nature. It is the most exquisite harmony, complex, yet stunningly simple, and there for all who are patient enough to listen.

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