MoK: Patience as Kindness

Thank you for bearing with my late posts while I traverse a few challenging days on the family health front. Fortunately, today’s act in the March of Kindness is one that suits your willingness to wait perfectly. Patience is all too often invisible when it should be seen as the loving act of kindness that it truly is.

From letting little passive aggressive statements go by unchallenged, to taking care of something that was someone else’s duty, we all express a lot of quiet patience each day. The problem is that we often only note our behaviour when it feels beneath us, meaning you’ll notice the few times you’re impatient far more than the times you are patient.

Even knowing that everyday life requires all kinds of patience, it is nevertheless a kind and generous act, and so adding one more act of conscious patience can do nothing but good for all involved.

Today your March of Kindness assignment is simple: Keep your awareness up, and find just one opportunity today where you feel an impulse to offer a suggestion or you feel you’re going to react in an impatient way, and then divert that impulse into non-action. Let your action be stillness.

Interestingly, the time we choose to show extra patience might coincide perfectly with when a person really needed something to go well or they’d snap. We all know how good it feels when someone shows us patience when we know we didn’t act in a way that encouraged it. We might as well create more opportunities for those things to happen.

Make your own displays of patience more conscious, and find a way to add just one more act of patient kindness to today and you will have made the world better with your presence. Thank you for that. And thank you for your patience in receiving these last few posts. Enjoy your day.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organisations locally and around the world.

Daily Peace

The first scenario is how almost everyone moves through their basic experiences each day in an egocentric way. The second scenario is about staying peaceful despite those experiences. The differences are easy to see, easy to do, and the results are immediate.

714 Relax and Succeed - Impatience wastes

You’re in a hurry. You walk into a bank. The line-up is long… Agh! Why is it every time I have to come here it’s lined up like this? Don’t they ever have enough staff on?

For six agonizing minutes you wait, repeating various variations of that story… Come on lady! Why didn’t you have all of that stuff organized before you got up there!? Now I’m going to be late to my sister’s and we won’t have enough time to pick up the cake. Great. And just watch that place over-charge us too. At least they use the money to pay some staff instead of this stupid bank.

Eventually you get to the teller and… Great, a face I don’t know so now they’ll have to do all of the authorization stuff to make sure it’s me. That ought to add about 10 more minutes of wasting my time. Damn these shoes pinch. Why did I wear new ones on a day I was going to be running around? What is this girl doing?? And thanks for coming to work with a cold lady. That’s just what I need. Maybe your day can afford you to lay around at night with a box of Kleenex but mine can’t.

714 Relax and Succeed - There's nothing in this worldAgain, as the girl confirms your identity and carries out the instructions according to her new manager, you recite even more complaints about what you’re seeing as your situation. But she isn’t some lazy, dumb lady who came to work sick. She’s a competent manager at her daytime job but she’s also a single Mom with three kids and she’s working this extra job because she wants to make sure her daughter can go to a really good hockey school that’s important to her. But still she’s new so it takes her a bit.

Eventually you finish your banking, you curtly thank her while clearly indicating your dissatisfaction with her work, and you storm off to now take all that brain chemistry out on your sister and some bakers.

Or…

You’re in a hurry. You walk into the bank, see the line and realize it’s the end of the month. It makes sense that it’s busy. And your mind stays quiet. Because you’re in a state of being aware or noticing, what you don’t notice is the six minutes passing.

714 Relax and Succeed - One does not becomeBut you are aware that almost everyone in the line and behind the counters is sniffling and coughing. Clearly something’s going around. There’s some hand sanitizer in the line so you use it because you’re not sick yet and you’ll do what you can not to be. You can take a good guess at why the bank’s understaffed.

Eventually your teller comes up. You’ve never seen her before so you check her name-tag and underneath her name it says “Trainee.” Not that you really had any expectations, but if you did you’d change them here. You try to think of all of the ways you could use your knowledge of this monthly event you’ve done many times. You can probably help her remember the process. “Hi Sara. I’m Scott. I deal here all the time, I haven’t seen you here before, I take it by your tag you’re new with the bank?”

“Yes, I am. I’ve only been here a week. I apologize that I won’t be as fast as these other guys.”

“That’s okay, I was a customer here when most of them were in your shoes. No problem. We’re in this together. You just tell me how I can be of the most help.”

You can see her calm down when you say that. She relaxes and thereby accesses more of her own abilities and memories and so her service is much better than it would have been if she was tense. She carries out her responsibilities and thanks you profusely for your patience and you gratefully accept her thanks and also enjoy sharing a compliment of your own because she really did pretty good for a beginner.

714 Relax and Succeed - Those who wish to singYou leave the bank in a happy mood and because you saved a couple of minutes you’re going to pass that mood on to your sister by getting her her favourite coffee on your way to pick her up.

Boom. See the difference?

One version of you—your ego—bombards you with words about things and it just judges and judges and judges always with an eye toward seeing only confirmation of what it already believes. And all comparisons will be made against perfection. Yes, you will have to use some language and judgments to be functional in society, but you don’t have to live in a state of judgment the rest of the time. You always have a choice about what aspect of which issue you choose to focus on. You either live in your thoughts or you be aware. You’re ego or you’re clear. It’s that easy.

Don’t eat your days away gnawing at your own thoughts. Let them go. Peace will flow toward you naturally. Invest your thoughts in loving, caring, compassionate and beautiful acts and the rest takes care of itself.

Now use your mind consciously and use that awareness to choose a better day for yourself.

Love you all.

peace. s

What is Patience?

So what exactly do we mean when we say that someone is patient? There can be two men waiting at an airport, and both wait the same amount of time for the same flight to depart, but one man is considered impatient while the other is patient. What are they doing differently?

57 Relax and Succeed - Patience is not the ability to waitLet’s imagine the check-in desk where they first learn they will be delayed. Nick approaches the desk with an angry look on his face because he’s still thinking about that guy from 20 minutes ago that took the parking stall that Nick thought was his. Because of those thoughts, his brain chemistry has reacted naturally and it’s caused the cells on his face to contort into an angry expression which actually puts the Airline Clerk, Adele, on guard so there’s a slight tentativeness in her voice which Nick finds even more irritating.

Of course the reason that Adele is on guard is because she’s had a lifetime of experience with faces like Nick’s and she knows that expression often means experiencing a lot negativity. And Nick helps maintain that pattern by getting immediately angry, when he quickly attaches her news to his recollection of the two other times in the last three years that he was delayed. Of course, the only reason those delays were agonizing was because Nick did the same thing on those trips that he did on this one: he expected perfection.

So for the next hour, Nick engages fully with his own irritated, angry, victim-based story. It causes him to snap at Adele, even though it’s not her fault and she’s already having a challenging day. Nick can’t tell by looking at her, but Adele’s worried about the fact that tomorrow, her daughter goes into the children’s hospital for her next round of chemotherapy. But Nick thinks today is all about him.

57a Relax and Succeed - It is what it isNick then calls his wife to complain and tells her his agonized story—which is only agonizing because he keeps telling it to himself. He tells her the plane should not be late even though that idea is insanely implausible. He calls a co-worker to tell him how bad this airline always is. He finds another angry passenger impatiently waiting at a coffee shop and for the next hour, they sit and trade horror stories about past flights or seatmates or coffee-shops.

It’s angry, tense and they check the clock every five minutes. By the time Nick does get on the plane, he’s approaching the Flight Attendant with an even angrier look than he approached the Ticket Agent with. And 100% of his mood is blamed on the airline and its staff. At no time does Nick take any responsibility for his own thoughts.

Meanwhile, Simon has gotten to a parking stall at the same time as someone else but he has offered it to them with a wave of his hand. Feeling pleased he could help someone else’s day out, he happily finds another stall and heads into the airport noting the clear blue sky. He realizes he will get a great view out of the plane that day. When he gets inside he also learns the flight is delayed, but he accepts that this is a reasonable experience at airports considering weather and safety and security, so he doesn’t think about that part of it anymore. He doesn’t do like Nick and compare what’s happening to perfection. Instead he takes a look around to see what his consciousness might enjoy, and he chooses to invest his life energy into that.

So Simon notices a book store and he remembers that he just finished a book by an author he really enjoyed and so he wants to see if they have another book. In the store he gets talking to another person who’s holding a book by that author. They two readers end up sitting together talking about their favourite books and before they know it, Adele is paging them for their flight. They end up trading seats so they can sit near each other and by the end of the flight both Simon and the other reader are linked up on facebook.

57 Relax and Succeed - No matter where you runYou are not where your body is. You are where your consciousness is. If you are on sharp, difficult terrain with your mind, you will be off balance and sharp yourself. But if you relax into a fluid, flexible headspace, you will have room to adjust to events as they arise. This is what Bruce Lee meant when he quoted the Tao and said, Be like water.

If you act like Nick and continue to blame bad days on other people or situations, you attract other angry people and you hand away all of your power to affect your life. But if you anticipate an enjoyable day but stay open as to how that plays out, then you can be like Simon who doesn’t expect his plans to come true. He just believes that he can always find something good about a situation—like making friends during a flight delay for instance.

So when they get home to their wives later that day, Nick will go in and help to ruin his wife’s day by telling her all of the bad things that “happened to him.” Because she loves him she will care that he was apparently treated badly and she will be likely to start thinking painful thoughts herself. Meanwhile Simon’s getting home to happily tell his wife that his new friend will be joining them for dinner in a week and she’s excited to meet this person her husband liked so much.

That’s reality. That’s how simply it plays out. You create your day. So stop blaming clerks, and other drivers, and other voters, and other professions (etc. etc.) for your troubles. Because the only trouble anyone ever really has is trouble with their own thinking inside their own heads.

Keep your mental landscape clean. Then you can’t help but enjoy your day.

Happy travels.

peace. s