Saturday, April 3, 2010

Coping with impatience

I am probably the most impatient person I know. My talents lie in making things happen rather than in allowing things to happen! And so I have spent my life in an endless, frenetic flood of busy-ness with my eyes always firmly fixed on the future attainment of my goals. And this has worked very well for me in accomplishing most of the things I have wanted to achieve in this reality. However, right now this approach no longer seems to be working. I’m also pretty sure that it is not going to work in my new reality and it is definitely in direct opposition to my stated intent of being here-now.

But still, I often find myself frustrated with the delays in realizing my forest dream. Everything is just taking SO much longer than I had planned. Had I known at the end of December when I quit my corporate job that 3 months later I would still be in Cape Town, I would probably have completely flipped my lid! So, what, if anything, has “gone wrong”?

Well firstly, as I have decided to take responsibility for my creations, I have to accept that even the most frustrating delays are of my own making and are therefore absolutely perfect. I am no victim of circumstance, so, perhaps on some level, I am creating this breathing space, this moment in which to take stock and to prepare myself for what is coming.

And when I actually do stop, take a breath, and think about it for just a moment, I find it really difficult to explain exactly why I am in such a hurry. Everything is steadily progressing toward my stated intent, albeit slower than I had anticipated. Why am I in such a hurry to get to “the rest of my life”?

My life is right here, right now.

In addition, there are no external time limits or deadlines, other than those that I choose to impose. Is impatience merely a bad habit, a learned response that I must unlearn if I am to find lasting happiness in a new way of being?

The Buddhists tell us that, in this reality, "pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional". What they mean by this is that being human inevitably means some physical or emotional pain at some point, but that our response to that pain is what causes us to suffer or not. And most suffering is caused by resisting THAT WHICH IS.

My current “suffering” is caused by my resistance to being where I am right now and my desire to be somewhere else (ie: the forest). I am so busy rushing at top speed towards my future happiness that I have failed to notice how amazing this present moment is. And actually I have but a split second left in which to enjoy the city life. To be able to walk across the road and enjoy eating at 6 different restaurants in our street, to amble down the road to the DVD store at 9pm if I feel like watching a movie, to be within walking distance of 2 different malls, and all the other wonderful benefits of city life. I have but a few moments in which to cherish my beautiful “yuppie” home and all it’s wonderful memories before I have to hand it over to the new owners. I have a brief interlude in which to enjoy entertaining old acquaintances before moving on to my new life in which I definitely will not see them as often as in the past. Why not enjoy this moment right now instead of wishing it were over?

It’s equally useless to hanker after the past; to wish that relationships could be the way they used to be or that I could have the body I did 10 years ago. Because, of course, 10 years ago I wasn’t appreciating the body I had, but was rather focusing on all the things I needed to do in order to “improve it” in future. What a terrible waste! Right now I am the youngest I will ever be. Why not enjoy and cherish this moment? For it too will be over before I realize it. I think we do ourselves and the world a thousand small violences every day by resisting WHAT IS, rather than simply accepting things the way they are and enjoying them, knowing that this too will eventually pass.

So, this morning I got up and made homemade muffins for breakfast and relished the fact that my dearest love and I could sit for over an hour together talking, drinking tea and listening to music. There is nothing we have to do and no place we have to be. This breathing space is a blessing and one I intend to enjoy to the fullest.

And so the journey continues…

Next: Return to Paradise


Educo said...

Fav quote from Benjamin Hoff:

"Our ... religions, sciences and business ethics have tried their hardest to convince us that there is a Great Reward waiting for us somewhere, and that what we have to do is spend our lives working like lunatics to catch up with it. Whether it’s up in the sky, behind the next molecule or in the executive suite, it’s somehow always farther along than we are – just down the road, on the other side of the world, past the moon, beyond the stars…

The honey doesn’t taste so good once it is being eaten, the goal doesn’t mean so much once it is reached; the reward is not so rewarding once it has been given. If we add up all the rewards in our lives, we won’t have very much. But if we add up the space between the rewards, we’ll come up with quite a bit. And if we add up the rewards and the spaces, then we’ll have everything – every minute of the time that we spent. What if we could enjoy it?

That doesn’t mean that the goals we have don’t count. They do, mostly because they cause us to go through the process and it’s the process that makes us wise, happy or whatever. If we do things in the wrong sort of way, it makes us miserable, angry, confused and things like that. The goal has to be right for us and has to be beneficial to ensure a beneficial process. But aside from that it’s enjoyment of the process that is important.
What could we call that moment before we begin to eat the honey? Some would call it anticipation but we think it’s more than that. We would call it awareness. It’s when we become happy and realise it, if only for a moment. By Enjoying the Process we can stretch that awareness out so that it’s no longer a moment but covers the whole thing. Then we can have a lot of fun."

Jonathan said...

Hi Lisa, Great to catch up on your journey. Looking forward to the forest. Love, Jonathan.

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