Have patience with all things, But, first of all with yourself.
~ Saint Francis de Sales ~
Spousal Unit says that I have extraordinary patience, and he’s actually been saying it quite often lately. It might be true but he may just be saying that because he is notoriously known for having no patience, although I must say that his patience has improved with time.
I believe that patience is an acquired skill, not something that is a genetic trait. I’ve been learning more patience every day and it feels good. It’s one of the reasons I can sit out in the garden and wait for Little Miss Bossy Pants to give me the perfect pose.
Tuesday I embarked on a new adventure in patience. One of my amigas and I volunteered to help another friend asked if another friend with the children learning English at the same school SU and I take español lessons at. The class has gotten larger and there are now several small children in attendance making it difficult for her to give attention to the older children. For our first time teaching it went well, but it was a lesson in patience with a group of little ones that have barely begun school. No matter what country I’m in apparently it’s a trait of the XY chromosomes of little boys that they like to bug little girls. The children had fun playing the memory game and when we return on Thursday we’ll have some more games to play. The bonus is that as we teach the niños English they will teach us Spanish.
I’ve recently taken up yoga again after a long time away from it. Yoga is a practice of patience. Not Vinyasa Yoga, where you move so quickly that you barely have time to catch your breath, I’m talking about Iyengar Yoga/Hatha Yoga a slower, contemplative style that forces me to be patient with my body. Taking classes over the last few weeks has forced me to settle into the moment and stop being impatient with myself. Unlike my last experiences with yoga, I’ve returned to the knowledge that I’m not in competition with anyone else in the class. It focuses my mind on what is happening with my body and helps me to shut everything else out. There are some amazing teachers in our district that make the time go so quickly, I’m sorry when class is over.
I know that patience takes practice, just as yoga does. I think it helps that I’m a reader, because reading takes a lot of patience. Unless of course you just read labels. Reading certainly isn’t about instant gratification. It takes time to read a book, magazine or newspaper even if it is only poco a poco.
Panama has taught me greater patience. It’s shifted my viewpoint and in the year that we’ve lived here I find that I’m adopting a more relaxed attitude towards life. I’ve given up the illusion that I have control over anything Panameño. If I receive good customer service I am pleasantly surprised instead of expecting it. If we meet a bovine traffic jam I am still delighted, even though it may delay our arrival at our destination. If it takes SU a week to hang up something that I’d like to see on the wall, I keep my mouth shut. I try to remind myself to live in the moment. In fact one of the things I did as soon as I retired was to put my watch away. I may still have to sneak a peek at my cell phone once in a while to meet a timing, but it doesn’t occur often. And having a sense of humor has helped too.
Spending more time gardening, taking pictures and walking on the beach has expanded my patience. Photography forces me to concentrate and wait patiently. There is no urgency other than waiting for the next roll of the wave or the flutter of a butterflies’ wing. Being surrounded by nature and listening to the sounds around me is calming. Life in the campo has helped to alter my perspective to be a more reflective, patient me. And now the secret is out.