Exercising Patience

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
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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