Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Enduring little things so we can handle Big things

On our way home from Canada last Friday we were stopped for nearly two hours in really hot direct sun. It was the border and it was Friday and it was at a stand still in our lane. Bleach boy had this same problem getting out of the U.S and going into Canada. He choose a lane and it never moved. Turned out a bus had blocked it. The reader boards said 5 minutes to cross and it took over 45 minutes. However the trip home was a test of even my Patience. No air conditioning, past lunch time, sun right on my leg and arm and our lane wasn't moving and the other three lanes were. I could see bleach boy start to really seem unhappy. My mind was processing the following points.

1) bleach boy couldn't know his lane was not a good one

2) No one was going to care if I was getting a nasty sunburn

3) If I got cranky and bleach boy got cranky it would make the wait even longer

4) The only thing I did have control over was my mood.

Now I skip to my favorite little book "Don't sweat the small stuff and it's all small stuff" Once I got home from my vacation I got my book out and looked for the following advice. This book came out in 1997 and I still remember many of it's lessons.


Become more Patient

The quality of patience goes along way toward your goal of creating a more peaceful and loving self.The more patient you are, the more accepting you will be of what is, rather than insisting that life be exactly as you would like it to be. Without patience, life is extremely frustrating, you are easily annoyed, bothered, and irritated. Patience adds a dimension of ease and acceptance to your life. It's essential for inner peace.

Becoming more patient involves opening your heart to the present moment, even if you don't like it. If you are stuck in a traffic jam , late for an appointment, opening to the moment would mean catching yourself building a mental snowball before your thinking got out of hand and gently reminding yourself to relax. It might also be a good time to breathe as well as an opportunity to remind yourself that, in the bigger scheme of things, being late is "small Stuff".
Patience also involves seeing the innocence in others. My wife, kris, and I have two Young children ages four and seven. On many occasions while writing this book , our four-year old daughter has walked into my office and interrupted my work, which can be disruptive to a writer. what I have learned to do (most of the time) is to see the innocence in her behavior rather than to focus on the potential implications of her interruption. (I won't get my work done, I'll lose my train of thought, this was my only opportunity to write today." and so forth).......I have found that , if you look deeply enough, you can almost always see the innocence in other people as well as in potentially frustrating situations. when you do, you will become a more patient and peaceful person and , in some strange way, you begin to enjoy many of the moments that used to frustrate you.

He now reminds us to take our irritations out of things and allow patience to take over, you can practice in little 5 minutes sessions. When something is not going your way allow yourself 5 minutes of not being bothered by it. OK so I did that very thing at the U.S. border

First in the peace of my practice of patience I remembered I had poured lemonade in our water bottles and put them in an ice box on the seat. I fetched those out and bleach boy and I had a moment of relief. Just enough to change the mood. So I suggested I read aloud the book we have been sharing for nearly a year. That helped tons to get our minds off our long wait. The longer the wait went the more I practiced this patience and I remembered some Caramel's in my back pack and found a way to dig those out. Then some music that I'm sure truly bugged bleach boy as it was all in French but it was better to turn his attention to the African lady singing in French and it was calming to me. So we survived the 2 hour, no lie, wait at the border in the line that didn't move. We finished our book, a long time goal we have had, and we survived in style, and sometimes that's the best thing of all!

Our lives are jam packed with things we can't control. More and more each day things are happening that makes it harder for us to control things. Isn't now a good time to start the Patience practice periods? Say that 10 times! You will save your perspective if you can develop patience. In light of showing patience you will find amazing ways to cope to survive!

Good luck and I'm sure you will get an opportunity to practice most any moment in your life as a mommy and wife and women and neighbor and student and on and on. Lots and lots of practice.


Hildred said...

Oh Fonnell, once again you inspire me......

mandy said...

Love that portion of the book you highlighted. It's so easy for me to lose my patience with my little ones because I forget how innocent their actions truly are. Thanks for the reminder!

Fonnell said...

I have to tell you Mandy that you are an amazing mom! I've seen you with your family. I know what it's like to have kids day in and day out. Adding patience will just add to your skills for when your little ones get to be older. I look back now and think It's those older Children that test you the most.