Patience with THEM
I am happy to say, without ANY kind of regret or sarcasm, I am glad to be finished 4 weeks of patience! Of course, I learned pivotal concepts about where seeds of patience begin (within and for myself), which then grew into an empathetic understanding for people close to me (seeing them in a more gentle way, as I learned to do first with myself), and last week was all about staying connected to what was true (discovering it was more difficult to stay patient while living outside of reality). These learnings were crucial and definitely the reason why I started this endeavour. I wanted to significantly impact how I live the rest of my life, but the thing that is impressing on me most in this final day of patience, is…. I finished 4 weeks of practicing patience! The fearful, doubting voices from Week 1, that worried whether or not I could find this discipline, that agonized over whether I would be able to handle the technology side of blogging, that debased my ability to have anything meaningful to discover, are all gone. Which finds me here at the end of Week 4, considering the scope of Patience with THEM.
Pins….if you read earlier this week….are what keep the diverse fabrics of our world together, until a more permanent structure can be put in place. So, I have spent a lot of time with mum’s ‘pin tin’ this week.
Hubby bought 3 new pairs of dress pants and asked if I would hem them. I spent 6 years in Home Economics classes, so the question was not whether I could hem the pants, it was a question of whether I would hem them. It was several weeks ago that he asked, so I had some time to deliberate, procrastinate, hypothesisate (okay, I made up that word, but it describes the lengths I went to, in order to understand why I was not just hemming the pants, already).
I thought about the financial gains of saving money by doing it myself. Since I do not know the going rate for hemming pants at a tailor’s shop, I guessed the savings would be around $50. That is more money than I give myself for a bi-weekly allowance, so it seemed a fairly decent motivator.
I thought about things that I would do for a loved one, just because they asked. Not necessarily things I would enjoy doing, but something in my wheelhouse and could do without sweating. There is no price tag attachable to that kind of act, so that also seemed a good reason for an inspired needle.
Then, there is my brand new sewing machine! I was never so happy to get rid of any item, like I was my old, clunky, half-broken down, parts held together by twist ties (see, I do use them for magic), no brand machine, bought at a grocery store, when desperate for some curtains I could not afford to buy. This new machine is digital, has all the bells and whistles, is smooth, sleek….. and I haven’t used it in the 10 months since I bought it. A few months ago, it made it out of the box, but I had yet to try it, so…..perfect timing! Pants need hemming, and new machine does that, however…. there would be a manual to read…. then some practice runs on scraps; steps laid out with relative simplicity, needing only my time and focussed attention. So why the BIG stall?
In fact, I was ready to concede the pants to a professional when this week began, but choosing the pins as my icon stopped me from following that through. I knew I would have to use them, in order to gain some insight into what they could mean in a broader context.
If I pick up where leaving off, on the concept of US v.s. THEM, pins would have the job of being a conduit between these 2 divisive camps. If I use my own experience this week, I can see that having financial gains is not motivational enough. Having an altruistic, emotional stimulus, is also not enough. Not even having the proper equipment with a ‘how-to’ manual is inspiration enough to get my hands moving. So what can move me? What takes me beyond my lack of motivation, into a place of action?
At first, I thought discipline, which involves getting my tough self-talk on, but that was one of the things that failed from Week 1, so I kept looking. Then, it seemed similar enough to attach a ‘pay-it-forward’ kind of perspective, which meant I was handing out cookies to the city workers in our neighbourhood park as they cleaned up autumn leaves, and was overly generous to my fellow drivers (not one curse left my mouth, nor were there any rubber necking stare-downs) for an entire week of driving! But, the pants were still not hemmed.
I whined to myself that it would take sooo looong and be such a bore; my bottom lip was hanging well below my knees, I was feeling so bummed by this task. I finally shocked myself with a deadline. After declaring the pants would be finished in 3 days time, I waited until the end of day one, to start. I was so tired by then, I could not accomplish much, so decided to pick it up the following day. Just like the first day, I waited until after everything else I wanted to do had been completed, and again, not much got finished. As I went to sleep that second night, I realized, if I did not begin my day with this project, it may not get finished. Prioritizing was going to be necessary to honour my deadline. Thankfully, the deadline, and a chance to reflect on my true productivity, plunked into my lap. So, on the third day, for 2 hours in the morning, and 3 hours in the afternoon, I dedicated myself to this task, in between other essential duties and putting aside non-essential ones for a while.
I would like to say that I felt like a superhero or had a rush of dopamine from that feel-good place, when I was finished. But that was not the case. ‘Whiney’ me was right. It was boring. It did take a long time. And there was nothing in it for me, except maybe getting asked to hem pants again someday. OH, goody. 🙁
How does knowing this, help me to be patient with others in a global sense, where we have seemingly little in common, cannot communicate in the same language, and have what looks like insurmountable opposing cultural differences? If I use a current global issue, like the Syrian crisis, how does my patience play into that scenario with any kind of impact?
Priorities. Reflections. Deadlines.
My priority is to be the best version of myself that I can discover. Can my best self reach the world? If my hubby, who now looks great in his newly hemmed pants, goes to his important job feeling whole and held, he might have a better chance of effecting changes within his business, as they consider humane and secure international relations. My part in that is to hem pants, or whatever smallest of tasks needs doing. Void of any spotlight, missing from an executive board room, on my own, working toward one goal, that helps another person do what they are called to do. I feel my nature is to want to be the hero, instead of supporting someone else taking on that role, so I balk at little efforts that do not put me in the limelight. Patience means, taking on any duty for a greater cause; being part of something, not trying to BE something. Where I place my priorities, impacts how I view my role. When my priorities stack up well against my values, any role is notable and worthy.
Since my reflections are happening on an hourly/daily/weekly schedule during these 52 weeks, I should not dismiss any thoughts as unimportant. The musings of a middle-aged, North American woman are just as vital as those of the Dalai Lama, the Pope, Deepak Chopra, Oprah Winfrey, or Nelson Mandela, because my thoughts are always with me. Allowing time for reflection could be the difference between staying in the dark, or finding a way through the dark.
The word deadline causes me some distress, so I could re-label it as a goal, a target, a destination, an intention…anything that leads me to a place of finding accountability, to myself. Even though the point of Finding 52 is to live in a way where others can clearly see what I am about, I am most accountable to myself and my Creator. I must find the strength to be my best self each day, because I do not know when my ultimate time (yes, that deadline) will be. Each day, each task, counts. And if each task is treated like it could be my last, I will get it done….well done.
Thank you for your patience, on this longer than usual post. I hope you will share some of your thoughts with me, on what your “hemming” duties might look like and how it may extend positively into our world.