Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cheerful Patience


That was the concept with which my yoga teacher opened last night’s class. I could understand the need for patience, but cheerful patience seemed to be asking a bit much.

I remembered back to when my children were much younger. There were those times especially before they could talk when I was pushed to my limit by behavior I couldn’t understand. I’m sure any patience I demonstrated was not cheerful.

The concept of being cheerfully patient with our minds is an interesting one. I struggle each time I meditate to find stillness and calm. Perhaps an attitude of cheerful patience would excuse me when it takes half the sit to settle in.

My yoga teacher talked about the patience necessary to accept that our minds and bodies can’t always immediately reproduce the poses we practice. It often takes many attempts. For some of us, it may never happen. She challenged us to patiently keep trying, allowing ourselves to laugh when we fall out of a pose and smile as we hold a pose for what seems like forever.

At the end of class, she suggested that we take cheerful patience off the mat, embracing the daily frustrations of life with a new attitude that infuses time and levity with the business of life. After all, most things are not really so urgent and a smile feels much better than a frown.


Blogger karen said...

I have just discovered you are back! great! Now to go back and read the 3 posts that have appeared post-hiatus. Glad you had a bit of time to think about things, and it's great to see your words and images back here again, of course! :)

10:59 AM  
Blogger Cyndy said...

I guess this one of those chicken or the egg kinds of things for me. My notion of patience is a little more on the narrow side I guess. I think I agree with your yoga teacher.

I always thought that patience was a positive emotion so you basically had to be cheerful in order for the patience to happen.

If I can force myself into a good mood while waiting in line, then I feel like I have achieved some level of patience. But waiting just as long while not enjoying the process is more like resignation than patience, at least for me.

And when I'm standing politely in line, not fidgeting or rolling my eyes or whatever, but still thinking thoughts like "how long is this going to take?" or thinking thoughts like "I wish I could do this better after my 16th attempt" is me being impatient, whether anyone else realizes it or not.

Being cheerful definitely makes being patient a lot easier!

11:30 AM  
Blogger Angela said...

A smile is always better than a frown, how true. Once you DECIDE on being cheerful, things actually do look a lot better. When I have to wait somewhere, I usually try to make use of the time. Either I stand on one leg, or I chat with my neighbors in line, or I get out my paper back book. So no time seems wasted.

12:43 PM  
Anonymous Laura (Huck) said...

Glad to have you back! I missed you!

Have you seen this article and book?


1:33 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I could use a little patience, cheerful or otherwise...

1:42 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Karen -- I was hardly away long enough to deserve such a warm welcome back!

Cyndy -- I'm starting to think like you that maybe cheerfulness and patience do go together if either is genuine.

Angela -- I too have made some of my best connections while waiting.

Laura -- Looks like a great book. If I had a particular goal right now, it would be to learn how to laugh more. Maybe I need to read this book!

Kristin -- I have watched you be infinitely patient with the shelter kids. You don't give yourself enough credit!

10:08 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

My daughter is fond of quoting: Don't take your life so seriously. You'll never get out of it alive.

The pithy humor of it never fails to make me smile - and then reassess the situation.

7:00 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Pauline -- The yoga teacher said she had grown up with her mother always reminding her children about "cheerful patience". She just never included the part about "naughty children".

8:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ditto others' comments, plus: sometimes for me when I'm just undeniably Impatient, it's about learning to be patient with my impatience.

(I'm back from my trip, which amazingly offered virtually none of the usual travel impatience-inducing experiences!)


10:54 AM  
Blogger Ruth D~ said...

Patience is a choice, I've learned.

7:21 PM  

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