Over and over again, I’ve been told that, “Patience is a virtue,” and that, “Good things come to those who wait.” I’ve had the word “patience” thrown at me more times than I can count, but in all honesty, I’ve never fully grasped the concept of being patient until now…
One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned thus far from my short time living in the Caribbean is patience. Life here moves at a much slower pace. People aren’t in a rush like they are back at home. It’s completely normal for the car in front of you to stop in the middle of the road to have a quick chat with a friend. There’s no horn honking, no middle-finger flipping, and no shouting every four letter word in the book (which happens so often back in the States). You simply wait for the two people to finish their conversation and go about your way.
Things in general just take a little more time here; things rarely go as planned. Car trouble always seems to strike at the most inconvenient times, and the power, and water, goes out frequently. The internet randomly works, cell phone reception is definitely below par, and the swell that was forecasted doesn’t always show up. But, it’s all a part of it. You learn to work around the setbacks. Car overheats? Well it’s a beautiful day to take a walk. Power goes out? Great! I have plenty of candles to light, grab a bottle of rum and let’s call it a night. No internet? No phone? No problem, I’ll get lost in a book. And if the waves don’t show up, well the snorkeling here is pretty amazing.
This concept of “island time” definitely shows in the culture of the people who were born and raised on this beautiful island. They seem to enjoy life more; they seem to be able to let the little things go. Overall, they seem to be more tuned in with the present moment. The culture of the Caribbean doesn’t idolize being busy. Stress, anxiety, worry – it’s almost like those words are nonexistent here. “It’ll all work out,” is a common phrase heard around here.
These testing moments, these lessons of patience – it’s something that I’ve needed for a while now. It’s amazing how the universe sends us these messages when we need them the most. I’ve always considered myself to be a pretty patient person. That is until I got into situations that really tested my tolerance. I was quick to realize that I was, in fact, not very patient at all. And I’ve noticed this foreign concept of patience translating over into other parts of my life. As a young yoga teacher, I’m constantly working to grow my practice. There’s poses that I feel confident with, and then there’s poses that seem nearly impossible. At times I find myself getting frustrated, getting impatient with my progress. I want to nail that single-leg Crow. And why is Firefly so freaking hard? But then I return to the lesson I’ve been taught so many times, that one little word that’s been drilled into my brain over and over again, but I never really paid attention to until now.
Patience is an ongoing practice for me and it probably always will be. But I have noticed that time, combined with a little bit of conscious effort (breath, presence, awareness), has made it easier to deal with those situations that don’t seem to go as planned. So I encourage you to practice patience – catch yourself when your tolerance starts to slip from your grasp. What good does it do to lose your patience? Is it really going to help you get through that traffic any faster? Is it really going to make the power come back on? Is it going to help you get into that challenging pose you’ve been trying forever? The answer will always be no.
Patience, presence, trust in the universe… it all goes hand-in-hand. And remember, it’ll all work out, one way or another.