The Power of Patience

Yesterday I found this fellow gracing my patio. He is so regal it takes my breath away. I’ve seen him around here before. It appears he’s established himself as a seasonal resident.

If you don’t know me, I should explain I live on a small man-made body of water called Lake Mirage. I’ve studied this bird a lot. In my estimation, he possesses an admirable quality, one I often lack. Yep, that characteristic is patience.

Perspectives. Inspirational quote typed on an old typewriter.

Whether resting in quiet contemplation or eyeing his next meal, my big bird friend waits, and waits and waits without flinching. Then, at the perfect moment he goes in for the catch of the day. Voila! Mission accomplished, dinner is served.

Do you have trouble mastering patience? If so, please read on. If not, I urge you to read on anyway and please leave a comment explaining how you keep calm and carry on while the rest of us are chomping at the bit to move forward when we should be more like big bird and wait it out.

You may think patience is a passive act. On the contrary, it’s more about control which takes focus and energy. For example, if I placed a wrapped gift in front of a five year old and told her not to open it for five minutes, you can bet the poor little tyke would expend all kinds of energy waiting out the clock.

Someone once defined patience as “the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears.” So how do you notch it down from full speed ahead to slow and steady wins the race?

Begin by defining what gets under your skin. If it’s the wait that does you in, start using some positive self talk. Take comfort in the fact that patience builds character.

Stopping to pause also results in better decision making. No doubt my big bird friend patiently passes on the tiny appetizer fish and nabs one large enough to whet his appetite.

This water fowl taught me another lesson about patience in thought and movement. He never runs but moves gracefully covering the ground in long strides. I on the other hand have a tendency to rush, to move too fast, hurrying along like a dizzy chicken in a frenzied manner.

It’s taken some time, but I’m learning to emulate the stately big bird by being mindful and carefully considering the journey on my way to the goal line.

The next time your patience is tested think of my big bird buddy at Lake Mirage. Slow it down, think it through, and step on the brakes. Doing so will help you be more resourceful and productive.

 

 

 

Popsicles and Pockets of Joy

Enjoy the little things.

Over breakfast my friend Dominique announced everyday is a Monday. Responding to my quizzical expression she filled in the blanks. Dom, a successful entrepreneur, is in the process of growing her second successful business, Escape Room Palm Springs. This venture means hitting it hard in back-to-back seven day work weeks. Understanding the amount of work that goes into a new business enterprise, I tipped my head in an empathetic nod.

My friend continued talking about her busy life and related how one day while listening to a CD, she discovered a way to keep the pace without spiking her stress level. Adhering to the advice of a female combat soldier, Dom cultivated a way to look for, and take advantage of pockets of downtime. For example, when she has the rare 2 hour chunk of time she heads home to soak in her Jacuzzi. An extra thirty minutes may be used in the grocery store with her headphones on. Dom finds strolling the aisles relaxing as she leisurely accomplishes restocking her pantry. For a mere 15 minutes, she can find a quiet corner to sit still and “just be.” If her pets are around, Dom indulges in doggy cuddle time. (Stroking a dog is touted by experts as a healthy form of stress relief.)

Dom and Dog

 

Author and speaker, Amanda Enayati, is in complete agreement with Dom about mastering “the pause” during a demanding day. In a recent interview, Amanda referred to these portions of down time as “pockets of joy.” Enayati, who authored the book, “Seeking Serenity: The Ten New Rules for Health and Happiness in the Age of Anxiety,” discusses a pause as a way to deal with negative stress. The author recommends not over-thinking a pause. Just find a quiet space to rest and renew, or head outdoors to commune with nature.

Free Happy Woman Enjoying Nature. Beauty Girl Outdoor.

Establishing one of these new rules in your life might take a bit practice. Like Dom, you must develop an awareness and capture those precious moments of “me” time. By setting up these buffers, you can minimize and neutralize your stress level. A word of caution here: Don’t fritter it away thinking you should use the time to knock off a few more things on your “to do” list.

Try it with me. This week I’m committing to my pockets of joy by instituting the 80/20 rule. For 20 minutes each day I’ll close my office door, think of nothing and enjoy my 80 calorie cold-brew coffee pop.

Chocolate popsicles on baking paper with scattered nuts and choco topping

Bye, bye toxic stress!

 

 

Finding Solitude During the Holidays

Cap 1

It occurred to me as I sat quietly sipping my cappuccino that lately I have been plugging a considerable amount of activities into my smart phone calendar. Today I took a closer look at the events over the next eight weeks and sighed. A little voice down deep warned me I would soon be bordering on over commitment. Thankful for that inner wisdom I decided to be more mindful regarding my schedule.

As we move into a celebratory season filled with friends, fun and a host of parties and get-togethers, it is easy to obliterate the white space from our calendars. Although the warmth and comfort of gathering together in thankfulness and love is what makes this the best time of the year, we pay a price when removing our much needed solitude.

Holiday Plate

Meaningful alone time is required to balance the hectic pace of our lives which increases during the holidays. According to psychologist, Ester Buchholz, “Being alone gives us the power to regulate and adjust our lives. It can teach us fortitude and the ability to satisfy our own needs.”

During my teens and early twenties I constantly craved being with friends and family, always active, always on the run to the next activity. I clearly recall one day being hungry and without a lunch date, which meant eating alone. I found going into a restaurant on my own both an enlightening and scary experience.  Looking back I realized it was really one of my growth moments because I discovered being alone was not lonely, it was necessary. Psychologists tout that time spent alone signals emotional maturity, so I had finally arrived. I discovered Henry David Thoreau was right when he said: “I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.”

Being in your own company provides the power of perspective. It enables you to analyze your priorities, your future goals and where you’re going in life.

enlightenment, silhouette of woman practicing yoga on the beach

But let me be clear, solitude does not mean sitting at your laptop alone interacting on Facebook or browsing on your smart phone. To embrace solitude, you must be alone with only your thoughts to guide you. Unplug from the world and just be. If you’ve forgotten how to enjoy being on your own, just observe a child alone at play. Children are totally content to take pleasure in a world they create. They delight in their own company.

So this season, do justice to your schedule. Limit the number of gatherings you attend.

Plates and Candles

Gracefully excuse yourself by acknowledging the generosity of an invitation but follow up by saying you are sorry you cannot be present as you have something else planned during that time. It is not untrue. You do have another pressing engagement, a quiet slot on your calendar. Enjoy the alone time and use it to be thankful for your many blessings.