everything in it’s own time: developing patience

Patience is a virtue, but I wouldn’t say it has been one of mine. I’m better at say…… getting things done as planned; quickly and efficiently. While that can be good in some situations- life doesn’t quite work like that, does it?

Since we have been out of the states, I have reflected more on my difficulty with waiting, with having things go not according to plan, with not knowing what is going to happen, and letting things happen in their own time. As I became more mindful of my initial responses to such situations- I had to laugh at myself when I noticed how often I said:

  • “Are you ready yet?”
  • “How many more minutes until you’re done?”
  • “Are we almost there?”
  • “Are we close??”
  • “Is there enough time?”
  • “This is taking forever!”

I sound like a child, I know. In Thailand, I practiced choosing a different response; releasing agendas and expectations and the way I think things should be. It started to get easier to go with the flow, especially in such a chill place. But do we truly develop patience in times of calm and safety? No. My true lessons began with India.

Pema Chodren talks about using patience during the big squeeze– the collision of our vision with the reality of the situation. Since we have been in India, my vision of what it would be and the reality of it have collided many, many times. It didn’t take too long to realize that I would either need to develop much more patience, or else not enjoy my time. 

Time is perceived differently in India. The Indian culture perceives time in a polychronic manner; time is elastic and meeting times are flexible. You can’t rely on google maps to tell you how long it will take to get somewhere. The best laid plans only sometimes work. And  processes and procedures are almost non-existent. Things happen at a pace of their own. As one of guesthouse owners would always say “Slowly, slowly”

Here is an example that seems pretty representative of getting anything accomplished here. I needed to mail a package. In the US, this might take half an hour even with a really long line. 

Here was our experience the other day: We got to the post office and went to the international shipping window. When we asked for one of the boxes that we saw behind the counter in a display, she told us those weren’t actually for sale. We would need to go to a different section of the post office and buy a box. Nothing is marked so after wandering around we finally found where to get the box, but no one was there to help us. Tons of people who worked there walked by and gave us the up and down look; but no one but the box guy could help us. We say there for 15 minutes until the woman who sent us over there walked by and saw us still sitting. She went to find the box guy again and said he would be there in “5 minutes” which really doesn’t mean much! Ten minutes later, Shane just grabbed a box. Then, he box guy showed up! He wrapped it up for us and sent is back to the room we started in. 

When we gave it to the woman at the counter, she told us we needed a copy of our passport to mail it and the electronic copy would not do.  “Come back tomorrow.” Ok. 

So we went back the next day. She said we needed 2 customs forms but she didn’t have any  (I mean, why would the international shipping counter have customs forms?) We would need to sit down for 15 minutes and wait until someone brought one. We waited. Then we filled out the customs form and when I went to show her my passport (it was the same woman from the day before),  she said she didn’t need it.

πŸ™‚

Life is more like this. Full of complications, interruptions,and waiting. As I’ve relaxed more into that, I’ve found that those “barriers” actually lead me down a better path than I first envisioned. 

Things don’t happen when you want them to happen, they happen when they happen. So until then, relax, be patient, and enjoy what’s around you. I’ve been telling myself this every morning. 

And speaking of mornings, this all reminds me of one of my favorite songs, sung by Nina Simone: “In the Morning”

In The Morning

In the morning when the moon is at it’s rest,
You will see me at the time I love the best
Watching rainbows play on sunlight;
Pools of water iced from cold night,in the morning.
‘Tis the morning of my life.

In the daytime I will meet you as before.
You will find me waiting by the ocean floor,
Building castles in the shifting sands
In a world that no one understands,
In the morning.
‘Tis the morning of my life,

In the morning of my life the
Minutes take so long to drift away
Please be patient with your life
It’s only morning and you’re still to live your day

In the ev’ning I will fly you to the moon
To the top right hand corner of
The ceiling in my room
Where w’ll stay until the sun shines
Another day to swing on clothe’s lines
May I be yawning
It is the morning of my life
It is the morning of my life
In the morning
In the morning
In the morning

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8 thoughts on “everything in it’s own time: developing patience

  1. Hey Kids ! Interesting post. I love the lyrics to the song ” In The Morning”, I have probably heard it but can’t recall the music. I will have to look it up online. Waiting… it’s been a constant exercise for me. Standing in line I think; ” why is it so hard to wait? All I have to do is stand here. It’s not like I’m doing the down dog or the plank….I’m just standing, that’s it, just be here in the “now”. ( it works for a while ) .. Got some snow here and it’s been cold but things are blooming and lovely. Be well, be happy, be talking….Ray

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  2. Ahhh, my precious daughter…you are gaining so much wisdom on this journey…thank you for sharing that wisdom with all of us…and thank you for sharing that wonderful song. ❀

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  3. What a freeing practice! Going with the flow is not my forte either. Not even close. It sure would be nice to get better at it, though. In general to have a different concept or attitude towards time is one thing, but the one and only
    friend I made in college (I was busy with kaila), was Indian so I know what you mean about meeting times not meaning much. I have to tell you as a mom of a toddler at the time trying to make plans to go to the mall around meal and nap times, I did not have patience for this. I understand culture, but do they understand having other things to do with your day? Isn’t it inconsiderate to leave people waiting?

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    1. I think when almost everyone is like this in a culture…..people don’t mind! They are so flexible and forgiving with each other in so many ways. But less so in other aspects of life πŸ™‚ I’m with you- I’m known to be anal about being on time. I’ve loosened up a lot since I married Shane since he is the opposite but it’s still my first instinct and I have to consciously practice a different way!

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