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On Patience

Patience is always there, beneath the surface of our resistance.

Photo courtesy of iStock by Getty Images

Patience is always there, beneath the surface of our resistance.

Sometimes we just cannot access it. Our ego gets in the way.

Before I started writing one morning last week, I spent 48 minutes trying log on to the complimentary wifi at the local coffee shop. My laptop recognized the wifi connection; it simply didn’t allow the pop-up screen to actually log on to use the internet.

Complete internet limbo.

Ever been here?

Three computer restarts. Three complete shut-downs. Fighting with the computer’s settings. And more swear words than I can count. Patience was nowhere near me. Truth be told, this tiny first-world problem absolutely frustrated the hell out of me.

Despite a meeting reschedule that morning, opening up another full hour of the day, I still felt behind. With looming priorities ahead, this internet inconvenience felt crippling. My thoughts began to race: ‘How can I get all this done if I cannot access the internet? How can I figure this out? What else can I do to find a solution? How come we’re all so damn reliant upon the internet anyway?’

I was hustling for a solution, a workaround, and a fix. I was heavily focused on doing all the things to try to solve the issue as quickly as possible. 

Most of all, I was resisting what was real in the moment; I couldn’t log in. Full stop.

I didn’t want this to be the reality so I chose to resist it.

Then something else hit me.

In my impatience and selfishness for not getting my way, I was completely ignoring my courage. Courage can show up here too. Courage isn’t just reserved for the milestone moments where our bravery is on display. Courage could be practiced right now; by actually listening to what patience has to teach me rather than trying to skip the lesson.

COURAGE ABIDES IN EVERY MOMENT WE ENGAGE ‘WHAT IS’ WITH NO RESISTANCE.

I took a few deep breaths, closing my laptop for another complete shutdown, and a brief pause with my eyes closed to settle down. I then acknowledged my impatience aloud to a kind coffee shop neighbor nearby.

When learning that he too had experienced a similar log-in challenge earlier that day, I smiled and asked, ‘What did you do?’ He laughed in reply,

‘I chose to do something else for awhile. I didn’t fight it.’

His wisdom offered a peace in that moment I couldn’t describe. This may sound silly but I had worked myself up in an absolutely ridiculous and selfish way, fixating on time lost rather than staying present. My ego was running the show. It was time to get over myself and allow what was deeply real and true – I was tired, hangry, and resisting far more than an internet outage.

His kind words invited me to return to the present moment, no matter the situation. Resistance is indeed futile and fuels nothing positive within us. 48 minutes lost but something far more valuable gained.

HERE IS WHAT I KNOW TO BE TRUE

Patience is a deeply courageous practice, friends. Patiently listening to our experiences—however small—and what wisdom they offer us is rarely easy but always holds enormous learning opportunities. Practicing patience in the little things strengthens our inner courage for the big things too. 

The traffic jams, schedule changes, long lines, wi-fi connections, slow elevators, and other inconveniences will always be there in one form or another. How we choose to respond in the moment is what really matters.

Forever with you in this practice, friends. 

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