Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Good Things Come...

... to Those Who Wait. But who has time to Wait, anymore? Or the patience to Wait? Can't the microwave pop that corn any faster?!?!

Patience is a virtue. Or was--maybe it's more of a lost art. I try to remind myself, especially when dealing with the Big Picture, that things take time and will reveal themselves eventually. With instant downloading, instant messaging, yoga in 15 minutes-or-less, it's hard to remember that most of the things that matter are not quick. They need to unfold at their own pace and rushing them will just foul everything up. Anyone who has ever dabbled in watercolors knows exactly what I mean.

But can you teach it? How do you convey the idea that you can't have a thing immediately, just because you want it? Is it simply a matter of experience, age? Do you have to sit, miserably, watching the black pigment soak across your entire sheet of expensive Arches watercolor paper before you get it? Burn your hand on a hot pan full of fresh chocolate star cookies (a painful bit of negative reinforcement for the 6-yr-old yesterday)?

I wonder if there is a way to learn patience through positive reinforcement. The more effective examples seem to be the lessons learned when you're not patient; especially because you have to be patient to see the fruits of patience. So maybe it is an age thing. Somewhere you have to find a source of calm, quiet reserve to allow stuff to just happen.

Obviously, yoga is great training for this (I guarantee it will take a lot more than 15 minutes), but you have to go into the practice already ready to slow yourself down. The realization sets in pretty quickly that it is "slow medicine," but even accepting that fact requires a bit of self-discipline. I have students who took a few months to get that, but when they finally stopped fighting, it was a beautiful thing. But I don't really think I taught that--I think they had to figure it out themselves.

So, again the question: Is it a learned skill or is it an acquired habit? Can some one show you, or do you have to discover it on your own? Sunny-side up or Over-easy?


Linda-Sama said...

in this culture I think patience has to be re-learned. western culture is an instant gratification culture.

personally I think one way to teach patience is to ship people off to India. after my first trip, I never complained about slow service in a restaurant again.....;)

Jenn said...

I once had a friend who briefly came to my yoga classes, years ago, asked why classes couldn't be shorter, or the time shared with something more vigorous like aerobics, so we could just hurry up and slow down.

I'm with Linda. We are such a culture of do more, get more faster. I think we have to each find the value of patience in our own time. We can foster it to the best of our ability for those around us, but ultimately the real value is never going to be seen by an individual until they can feel it themselves.

And even though I do pretty good with having more patience these days...it's something I will always have to work on myself because I am a child of the modern western world.

YogaforCynics said...

I just don't have time to leave a comment...okay, actually I do, but it got so long I decided I might as well make it into a blog post of my own...so you'll have to wait to read it...can't guarantee it's gonna be a good thing, though...let's not forget that sometimes bad and mediocre things come to those who wait, as well...

Brenda P. said...

@L-S: So is that positive reinforcement (getting to go to India) or negative (having to wait for your dal)?

@Jenn: It's no secret where my son gets his impatience. The only reason I didn't get burnt was I had a pot holder on.

@YforC: Maybe the better aphorism is Things Come. I can't wait to read your post!!

Kristin said...

We have definitely become a "want it NOW" society. We want our meal served NOW. We want that new pair of jeans NOW. We want to get fit NOW.

I see the impatience with which my husband greets me when he picks me up. I said 7:00, he was there at 7:00. It is now 7:10. Why wasn't I there exactly at 7:00 like I said I would be?

I see this in my young neices (2 yo and 4yo) as well - they want to be fed now (and usually their mother complies). They want to play now. They want to go here or there now. They want this or that.

I like to think I'm a fairly patient person - I have a rule to always bring a book to read or have my knitting at hand. I try not to get agitated when waiting for my meal in a restaurant - I don't know what's going on back in the kitchen; perhaps they got slammed with a group of 12.

With that being said, I KNOW I tend to be very impatient. There is a reason that little petal on the floor is called an ACCELERATOR! Poop or get off the pot! Don't lolly gag around in the fast lane! Sometimes when I'm in busy mode, The husband likes to come up behind me, hold me tight in a hug and see if I'll implode.

So it's a good question whether it's a learned skill or an aquired habit. I think it's both. With a strong side of learning it on your own. A person will either "get it" or they won't.

Emma said...

I agree with Linda and Jenn, we (and I mean even us over here in Europe) are accustomed to things going faster and faster, taking the time has become an under rated concept and we have to learn patience all over again. And this is coming from someone who is definitely working on it!

marinaj.net/e-books.html said...

Yes patience is the key to solve all the problems. I am also agreed with Linda and Jenn.