Patience—Grin and Bear It

Two Katmai Bears HuggingMany years ago when our children were wearing me out I went to a healer for help. She told me that if I brought her a hair from the chest of a bear, which lived in a cave on the hill near us, she could make a potion which would calm our children. I spent six months befriending the bear with food and when it finally accepted my presence, I walked up and pulled a hair from its chest. When I handed it to the healer she threw it into the fire. I was more than just upset, telling her what I had to go through to get the hair and the time involved. She turned to me and said softly, “Now go home and be as patient with your children as you were with the bear.”

man thinkingIt is, of course, very important to be patient with your children, but patience is also a big factor in your health. We use the term impatience to describe losing our temper or being annoyed, but impatience is really an expression of anxiety arising from stresses in our lives. When we allow those anxieties—those stressors—to overwhelm us, our body reacts with a higher heart rate and other responses that are not good for our immune systems or other organ systems overall. If you find yourself continually annoyed and sometimes actually provoked into confrontation, learn how to transport your mind through what I call quiet time. I tell people that when they take a walk or sit quietly, they should really try and be with their own thoughts. At first this usually is not nearly as easy as it sounds. I think that being quiet is the loudest noise I have ever heard. When I say quiet I mean being away from everything—totally alone. When there are no mechanical, people or animal noises around you at all, you have to pay attention to what’s going on within you. The intellect is moved aside and the lid is taken off what I call your treasure chest. Stuff comes up from your heart and soul. You can choose to practice meditation or just sit quietly. The important thing is to listen to your thoughts.

Use the insights you gain from quiet time to learn how to redirect negative feelings. The key word is redirect. I was brought up to expect problems would redirect me to something better in my life…like charcoal under pressure becoming a diamond. EXERCISE: Think about how a failure or problem redirected your life to something beneficial.

Choosing to see the things we call problems or stressors as opportunities for redirection will help you develop patience and become a more loving, supportive parent, spouse, friend, co-worker and in all other relationships. I try to remember the blind woman who smiled and said, “What a beautiful place!” When asked, “How can you say that—you are blind and can’t see anything,” she replied, “I have a choice as to what I see.” We all have that choice. As a mortal being, I know my time is limited. The truth is that today is the only day we have. Through the practice of meditation or just quiet time, learn the skills that empower you to approach life with the calm assurance that your mind and body are working together to make this the best day of your life!