I've been writing about patience this week, about how it helps our children when we respond slowly rather than react quickly, about the benefit of slowing down to really listen. This is easier for some of us than others! Especially for those of us who weren't raised by patient parents, patience can be hard to find.
So are we doomed to stay in the habits and patterns we grew up into? Absolutely not! My mindfulness practice has expanded my patience enormously. It's given me skills that help me to notice the impatience and work with it rather than acting it out. It's allowed me to recognize my habits and create some space around them.
If you would like to expand your patience, try mindfulness!
A simple way to start is with an awareness practice. Just sit right now, where you are, and bring your awareness fully into the present moment. It helps to pay attention to something, so feel your body. Notice the weight of your body sitting, the pressure between you and whatever holds you up. Just feel that for a minute. . . . .Can you stay with it? Now notice your breath. As you got still and noticed your body, you may have naturally noticed your breath, stillness can do that. If not, notice it now. Feel your body, sitting and still, and now also feel how your body moves when you breathe. Your chest, your abdomen, your belly. Even the way air moves through your nose and throat. Stay with it for a few minutes.
What happens? Do you stay with it completely? Or does your mind start to wander off to an itch in your body, the dishes, kids, bills, an irritating conversation you had yesterday. . . If it wanders, your only job is to notice that. 'Whoops, I'm somewhere else.' And come back to sitting, feeling your body. And return to this breath.
Stick with this practice for about 15 minutes if you can. Don't worry if it's hard and frustrating, if your mind wanders and gets restless, if your body wants to move. Just do it. This is exactly the practice that will help you to develop patience.
I'm a mom, wife, daughter, friend, and teacher who has long struggled with the desire to be the perfect person I imagine that I should be. Practicing mindfulness has changed my life, helping me to make peace with myself as I truly am and to appreciate my family, life, and the world as they actually are.