Over the last ten days I've spent a lot of time waiting. After traveling and teaching yoga for five days, I landed home and immediately developed a head cold. While for some, the experience of a head cold involves lady-like sneezes and charming sniffles; there is nothing dainty about what’s been happening in my sinuses.
I decided that there was no time in my schedule that could be allotted to sitting and healing, so I continued with my week’s commitments. After a few days of trying to ignore the constant company of my head cold, it finally escalated to a full blown “respiratory event”. Gone were the days of lady-like sniffles. These were replaced by a roguish hacking cough that even western medicine could not improve. Upon the doctor’s orders, I was now destined to wait.
For the last ten days I’ve waited, and what has struck me is how much thought and energy I’ve put into the waiting process. There are 1,440 minutes in a day. I’ve spent all of mine thinking about when my personal invasion of the body snatchers will end.
I’ve been here before. A few years ago I tore a muscle in my shoulder. I wanted my shoulder to heal immediately, and risked injury by going on with my life long instead of being patient. In checkout lines at banks, supermarkets, and car washes I actively employ breathing techniques to maintain a relaxed state. Occasionally these tendencies toward impatience will accompany me onto the mat when I want my hips to release or my hamstrings to lengthen -- now.
Through our careers and family life we‘re rewarded for getting things done quickly. A sense of urgency becomes an advantage that enables our success. However, impatience can become a silent thief that we allow into our lives with a free reign. Impatience steals the enjoyment of our 1,440 minutes as we focus instead on a preferred future. A practice of patience offers the benefit of fully experiencing where we are, who we are with, and what we are doing. Being wholly in each conversation, fully engaged in every mundane encounter, average cup of coffee, and ordinary chore, without time traveling to an imagined future, is to be an active participant in our own lives. Each day holds 1,440 of these opportunities, none need to be mindlessly wasted.