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  • Resilient Practice

Patterns of Impatience

“Impatience can cause wise people to do foolish things”

- Anonymous

In the modern world, we often find ourselves rushing from one event or project to another operating under the illusion that, when we have achieved the next thing, we will be happy – then the next – then the next.

We recently found ourselves on the way to an event, stuck behind a tractor, but with plenty of time to spare because for once, we had set off early. Rather than using the time to enjoy the ride or discuss the meeting, we found ourselves railing at the traffic and at the delay that it was causing us. The emotion of irritation was unpleasant and draining.

We paused to ask ourselves:

“What are we doing?”

Quite apart from the fact that there was no opportunity to overtake the vehicle and so nothing could be done to alleviate the problem, the situation would not be resulting in lateness to the event. It was in fact, our perception of the situation and our response to it that was causing the discomfort.

We took it personally!

We were also probably becoming annoyed about the obstruction out of habit. It is our habit to rail at slow traffic because we have been made late by it in the past.

When did we humans become creatures who refuse to wait for results and are constantly looking forward to the next fix?

When modern humans plant a flower seed in spring, we hothouse it. We give it as much light as we can. We fertilise it. We even give it hormones to bring it on. We do not wait any longer for it to bloom than we have to. We are impatient for our flowers. A flowering plant is a thing of nature, but we push it forwards so that we can enjoy its blooms more quickly because we are impatient. Nature is not impatient. Nature waits until the time is right for the blossom to explode from the trees, for the frogspawn to hatch and for the rainbow to appear above us. We cannot force it. It comes in its right time.

How did we become so far removed from that?

According to early human groups recorded the phases of the Moon some 30,000 years ago, but the first minutes were counted accurately only 400 years ago. That was when we learned to measure time. In 1748 Benjamin Franklyn coined the phrase ‘time is money’ which encapsulated the developing attitudes of an era during which there was great economic change. Quantifiable time began to have a price. Here too was born the concept of wasting time and the accompanying drive to make use of it by keeping busy for the good of our wallets. Money had long replaced the exchange of skills and produce, and we learned to collect it as insurance against future poverty rather than use it straight away, which although probably sensible, is a behaviour that arises out of fear and projection.

Look around you. Everything that you own was once money and your money was once your time.

According to 'the devil makes work for idle hands' is one of the numerous variants of a phrase that express the idea that trouble or evil arises from not keeping busy. It is an old phrase whose origins are unclear but perhaps it reflects a collective fear that refraining from keeping busy will lead us towards giving in to temptation and partaking in unhealthy activities with negative consequences.

From an early age we modern humans are conditioned into impatience. The world is a competitive place. There are more of us here than there ever have been, and we teach our children, as we ourselves were taught, that those of us who strive to do more, achieve more and earn more, will be assured of the best life.

But what is the best life? Being so busy that we do not even notice that fleeting spring blossom and the frogspawn and rainbow that we mentioned earlier? That we are not satisfied to enjoy the current win without feeling that the next one will be better. That we compare ourselves to others with such scrutiny that we are unable to fully appreciate those things in our own lives that truly bring us joy?

Let us hope not.

Let us agree with each other that the bounty of life in the present moment is here for the taking. That there is so much for us here now and that we are wise if we are not encouraged to move away from it so quickly that we miss it, and its memory is lost forever.

Let us learn to break free from our patterns of impatience and liberate ourselves, our children and the species from the need to move forwards at such a pace that we do not pause to savour those things that bring us nourishment, sustenance and happiness.

Try this:

In the audiobook ‘the Power Path Training’ by Jose Luis Stevens PhD and Lena Stevens there is a practical exercise which seeks to enable you to become liberated from your patterns of impatience. We suggest that you try it.

Listen to the following recording of a rattle. This is a commonly used shamanic tool for shifting old patterns, ideas, and beliefs. Use the sound to help you to shake yourself free from all your patterns of impatience, wherever they came from. You may not remember who taught you or what they said or did. Just connect with the part of you that is anxious to move too quickly out of the present moment to the next win and shake yourself free of the need to do so. Pay attention to what comes up for you as you do this. Memories. Fears. Emotion. Thoughts. Let it all be felt, heard, witnessed and processed.

Experience the shift.

Feel the release.

Now make an agreement with yourself to regularly press pause. To invoke gratitude for each moment that life has to offer and whatever it has to teach you – without the need to hurry on to the next one.

Enjoy the feeling of letting go of old patterns which have been expensive in terms of your energy and are rooted in fear.

Agree to live your life in the now!

For more insights and a host of tools and techniques for exploring the Self and improving your

human experience see our book:

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1 Comment

Jun 04, 2023

As I began listening to the Shamanic tool, I immediately became aware of the fact that I was attempting to multi-task. I down-shifted at once from this destructive pursuit. I'm thinking of allocating the first 2 minutes of every day to this amazing tool. Thank you.

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