Good things come to those who wait-4 yogic tactics to chill you out when impatience strikes.
Recently I asked my mother what my birth was like and she immediately responded – ‘quick’. Apparently the mid-wife didn’t even have a chance to put her gloves on!
So to me it seems official – I have always been in a hurry!
I am the kind of person who bangs the button of a street light consistently until the light changes.
When I find myself behind an incredibly slow walker (and I find it very interesting indeed how they always appear just when I am in a hurry, do you think the universe is trying to tell me something?) it takes an enormous effort to slow down my pace and not dive around them and continue with my dynamic strut.
Yet at the same time I am very well aware that time is in fact an illusion, a human made measuring tool to measure the immeasurable. Like everyone, I have experienced first hand the way that time can crawl along and also fly by and I have also spent long periods in meditation, deeply absorbed in the timeless state of being. In that space beyond to-do lists and train schedules I receive the deep nourishment born of the simplicity of being, ringing with the beauty of non-doing. And it is the ‘plugging in and filling up’ of this nourishment that enables me to function in this world without getting disconnected and stressed out.
As a devoted yogini I approach my life as a living enquiry – a dynamic laboratory of experiential learning. With curiosity and openness as my ally I have taken the opportunity to have a good old look at Impatience.
What I have found is that when impatience rises up my body is no longer a pleasurable place to inhabit. My breath becomes constricted and my belly tightens. And how does that feel? Not good at all. There is no space, no fluidity, no freedom. I cease to be aware of my surroundings. Instead, my awareness is fully focused on where I think I need to be. My life force is constricted and my body is inclining forward into the future, a future that does not exist yet at this moment, this moment that I am missing out on`!
I have heard that impatience is a form of anger and once you take the time to explore it that begins to make sense.
Whether you feel it in your chest, your belly, your heart or your head, it is hot and uncomfortable and ready to explode.
When impatience takes control we are not able to feel, connect to and respond to our surroundings. We are no longer really here, open, receptive or spacious. Instead we are trapped in an idea, a concept that shrinks us into its shape.
So what to do in the face of Impatience?
When I get impatient these days the first thing I do is check out my breathing. Is it smooth, full and rhythmic? Usually no, so what can I do to introduce some more breath into the equation? I bring breath into the belly, to bring more space there, more sweetness. Especially if the pace of my movement is out of my control (for instance I am stuck in traffic), the act of pouring my awareness into the breath is the most constructive thing I can do, the only real power I have over the situation.
2. Settle in
And I take a moment to connect to the back of my body, to settle back into myself. Just this subtle inclining backward and resting into the back of my body brings me back to a sense of being within the moment, rather than trying to push past it.
Try it now, just a little lean back can bring the sacrum closer in contact with the ground and remind the spine to naturally support itself. Just the simple attention to breath and posture can radically transform our state of being, to bring us gently back to present time, to a felt sense of our connection to the earth and our place in a much grander scheme of things.
And then lo and behold we find ourselves in a good position to rationalize and be practical – ok, do I need to get to my destination in another way? do I need to text and say I will be late? do I need to drop it all together? If we begin to make plans from an ungrounded, anxious place the thoughts just jumble around and bump against each other and rarely bring clarity.
I find this to be the middle way of navigating life – to use my yogic tools of awareness and connection and THEN bring my rational planning mind onto the scene where it can act as an effective sword of discernment rather than an over-active anxious child with too much to say and not enough insight to help matters.
Another thing that I have noticed is that when I take the time to breathe fully, inhabit my body and relax into the moment, then things have their own way of working out in ‘perfect’ time – a kind of timing that I cannot control, the kind of timing that requires me to tune into the natural rhythm of life and let it take me on its flow without effort.
If I can trust life a little more I can find that it has its own timing and rhythm that will always get me where I need to go when I need to get there, that there are no mistakes and no detours, that we are all heading where we need to go at the right time for us. I have come to see that it is all well and good to be on time but if I miss out on life to get there, perhaps it is not worth it?
Yet can we be punctual and effective without losing our connection to the realm beyond time? I think the answer is ‘yes’. Integrity and flow are not mutually exclusive. For some of us we need to exercise the muscle of timing integrity more, while others need to let go of control in order to flow. Either way, with awareness and intention we can learn to navigate this dance in the world of time with minimal stress and maximum joy.
Personally I have given up hope of becoming an impatience free person, but I have found that if I approach the experience of it with awareness it is no longer the great burden and disturbance that it once was for me (and my friends!). I have practised using these tools to navigate this dance in the world of time with more clarity and ease and along the way I have discovered that it is true what they say-‘Good things really do come to those who wait!’