I’m writing today in response to our environment.
The social/political/economic/health environment that we are all living in right now is challenging, regardless of where each of us may stand on any of the major issues. The energetic of our USA environment is tense, combative and charged with fear and divisiveness. This is hard, and nothing I, or anyone else, can say will change that, in the short term. As of today, it’s an IS.
I’m not going to write to you using the words that are descriptive of our current times, yet have been used so much that we almost don’t hear them anymore: unprecedented, difficult, new normal, etc. However, the times that we’re in are an important consideration, because they are the environment in which WE THE PEOPLE are living. The people part is what has me concerned.
The Influence of Environment
The ENVIRONMENT in which anything lives or occurs is both instructive and important. The environment that a cell lives in (food, water, oxygen, thoughts, chemicals, etc) affects the integrity of that cell, including how the DNA housed within gets expressed. The environment that a child lives in affects them on every level—physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. The environment of your kitchen affects your food choices. The environment in which a plant is growing affects its health, reproductive capabilities and life span. And on. Environment is influential.
In my everyday work with people, I’m seeing that many folks are not “getting used” to the current environment—the lack of social engagement, the isolation and the negative vibe—instead, we are becoming incredibly fatigued. People are struggling. The words I hear from clients and colleagues include: isolated, lonely, missing touch (hugs!), missing group, anxious, exhausted, apathetic and afraid. We sometimes suddenly feel crabby, anxious and/or angry for seemingly no reason at all.
Beyond our physical concerns of the coronavirus, there is an equally weighty pandemic. Mentally, emotionally, and relationally, many of us feel we’re fighting against a tide in order to not become negative, chronically fearful, cynical or apathetic. And this is not who we Are, at our essence.
I encourage you to remember your essence, which is Heart and Love.
We’ll all be served—individually and collectively—by intentionally reminding ourselves of this throughout the day. I’m not talking here about our heart organ or even our heart chakra (for those that are chakra-savvy), but instead about our Beingness of Heart.
What’s required of us right now—among other things—is PATIENCE and AGENCY.
The Power of Patience and Agency
The last 60 years has seen human patience wane significantly. Not because we’re lame or crappy humans, but because our environment is such that everything has sped up dramatically—we rarely have to wait anymore. I can deposit a check from my phone, order some hard-to-find item on Amazon that gets delivered the next day, get food from any restaurant delivered to my door at the push of a button, and cars and planes take us on weekend trips that would have been a month-plus excursion in the 1920’s. A hundred years is a blink in 200,000 years of evolution! In the last 15 years alone the pace and ability for instant gratification has sped up exponentially. Hence, we’ve become impatient.
While some folks are just naturally more patient than others, patience is something that we can all develop. Like a muscle, the more we intentionally use it, the stronger it gets. Patience may not seem particularly note-worthy or important, but developing patience can powerfully change your life experience for the better, particularly during times like these. What IS patience?
Patience is a form of wisdom.
When we befriend the idea that often, things need to unfold in their own time, this is patience. Someone may give us a beautiful rose bud, ripe with the promise of blooming beauty, and we pull open the bud to get to the flower within. We never get to experience the flower in full bloom, because we were impatient and wanted it RIGHT NOW. We didn’t allow the natural process to unfold.
When we notice that our mind is busy labeling, categorizing and judging EVERYthing according to our long list of likes and dislikes, we can choose to bring in patience—patience with other people and with things that are often different than we might desire, and patience with ourselves for having a mind that resists what IS, all day, every day.
Patience with our own process as we unfold and evolve and screw up and succeed and fail and gain weight and lose weight and lose our temper over something rather ridiculous. Patience with a social/political/economic/environmental environment that feels challenging to many. Patience with ourselves, our kids and our struggling schools—teachers and administration—while we all work to figure out schooling during a pandemic. Patience with our own moods and struggles.
This environment is HARD. The more we can exercise our profound abilities for patience, compassion and a we-first approach to the issues at hand, the more united and strong we become. (We-first as opposed to me-first…see Wild World, Joyful Heart, chapter 10 for more details.)
This DOES NOT mean apathy or indifference or non-action, going forward. It simply means that we develop patience for the present moment while using our AGENCY to contribute to future evolution and solutions. We use our personal agency to influence the environment in which we live—the very same environment that influences us and all the people that we care about. We contribute more love and less hate, more patience and less impatience, more long-view solutions and less short-view choices that injure our species and our planet.
Patience and agency are a powerful combination that are sorely needed right now. Not just for others and for the larger situation, but for ourselves. We FEEL BETTER when we’re patient. Because who on earth LIKES to feel impatient?
Honoring patience reminds us that we don’t have to stack our life with activity and thinking, thinking, thinking in order for it to be abundant and joyful. In fact, the opposite is often true. We become patient by becoming increasingly open to each moment as it unfolds, accepting the present moment and using our agency with mindfulness and intention. And we notice that we more often feel peaceful, filled-up and content. In a deep and lasting way, not in a social-media-post-worthy way.
Breathe. Create space in your mind and emotional reactions. Cultivate patience whenever the opportunity presents itself. Use your personal agency for the benefit of yourself and the human family. We’re all in this together.
Create Vibrant Health: BodyMindSpirit®
In empowered well-being,