As we continue down the path of sheltering in place, I am doing my best to make the most of this strange moment in time, going deeply into my own practices and sharing what I am inspired by with others.
I am also doing my best to welcome the full range of emotions that continue to move through. This morning I saw a photographic essay in the NYTimes about those on the front lines in Italy. I cried. So much loss and suffering.
And yet for myself and many others it seems that life in the present moment is good. In fact it feels more intensely awake and alive than ever.
Most moments I am aware that there is nothing to fear (other than the scary thoughts I may be innocently believing) and I can see I have everything I need, and more.
I feel grateful for how everything is slowing down. Even with the all pandemic tension in the air, I notice how happy young children seem as they get to spend quality time with their familes. I feel my own childlike nature coming alive as I am give myself permission to slow down and feel my natural rhythm.
I am spending time outside each day, laying on the earth, looking at the sky. I notice the squirrels and birds seem so much happier, with so much more space to sing and play.
One of the themes I have been contemplating during this time is patience. Patience is such a beautiful expression of compassion and seems particularly relevant to our current situation.
Patience is an invaluable quality worth cultivating as it is a way to self-sooth as well as providing soothing to those around us.
The dictionary defines patience as:
- The capacity to accept delay, trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset.
- The level of endurance one has before expressing negativity.
- The ability to remain calm when dealing with a difficult situation, task, or person.
Some people seem naturally blessed with patience, but for most of us, it is something we need to consciously cultivate through our intention. Our ‘capacity for patience’ and ‘level of endurance’ is often related to how well we are caring for ourselves, both physically and mentally.
Some questions we can ask ourselves – Am I making time for self-care as well as connection with others? Am I getting enough rest? If not, why? Am I consuming too much caffeine, news or other media late at night? Am I getting enough exercise and relaxation practices?
Reframing how we see a situation, task or person can also help us cultivate patience. When we notice our attitude becoming impatient, annoyed or angry, we can choose to take a conscious pause, breathe and instead feel gratitude for the goodness that is here and now versus expecting life or others to be different in order to please us.
Having a conscious intention to cultivate patience can enhance our moment to moment experience. It can also support us to have faith in the larger flow of life, trusting there is a grander scheme unfolding in this world than we can conceive of – so we might as well relax and enjoy this very moment of grace and aliveness.