Last week I was at Costco. This story does not end with me exiting with $200 worth of stuff I don’t need. Such as a food dehydrator and 6 new towels, because, they are so inexpensive. No, that day in Costco, God started answering one of my prayers. Yes, in Costco, God apparently visits there as well.
I have been noticing my life has felt rushed and too busy lately and I have been trying to slow it down. But it is hard to slow down. Once that “hamster wheel” of busyness reaches a certain speed, getting off or even slowing it down can feel impossible. Or even feel like the wrong thing to do. Accompanying the rushing, I have been noticing lots of feelings and sensations of impatience. A tight chest and belly, shallow breath, clenched fists, etc. Any pause or hold up in my plans for the day caused me to get uptight inside and feel quite angry. Those angry impatient sensations are one of my cues that my life is becoming unmanageable. That I need a change of pace.
I started praying for help to slow down, to be more present and relaxed. In short, I prayed for more patience! I asked God to help me accept the pauses and the obstacles as a chance to slow down and settle my body. They say, “Be careful what you pray for, it may come true.” I knew it can be a “dangerous” prayer to pray, asking for patience, having prayed it before. But desperate times call for desperate measures.
My first indication that God was listening to my prayer came at 10:06, when the Pharmacy did not open at 10:00 AM as scheduled. I started feeling that antsy “let’s go” sensation at 10:02 ( I know, sad.) There were 2 people in line before me. After it finally opened both of them had unique problems that took a while to resolve. By the time they were done I had waited 20 minutes. I was tense but hanging in there. My transaction went smoothly and I thought my day could get back on schedule.
Reaching the checkout lines I saw there were only 3 registers open and many people waiting to check out. Who goes to Costco at 10:30 AM on a Tuesday? Apparently most of SE San Diego. So I waited some more, trying to breathe and let my frustration and muscle bracing go. I remembered the Positivity Pausing, which I will share in the next blog in the series, but was too agitated to use it.
I make it through the line and got my receipt. As I walked to my car I noticed it was really high. I checked and sure enough, I had been double charged for a few items. So back in the store I went. I had to wait in a line at the help desk and then wait for them to call a supervisor. This took a long time. When the supervisor came she re-did the transaction, but she messed up and refunded the wrong items. So she had to redo my whole order.
I have never had this many issues or delays at Costco and my stress levels were through the roof. Which is why impatience is damaging and problematic, as none of these delays were life or death issues. I was not in danger, i was just delayed and inconvenienced. But my body was responding as if it were the end of the world.
This is one of the issues of our body’s Autonomic Nervous system. Our ANS causes our bodies to respond to stress as if we are under threat. It also responds to things we code as bad, as if they are dangerous. This is why patience is such an important trait. Not only does it make us better people, it keeps our bodies from over-reacting to situations that are not really dangerous. Situations that we just don’t LIKE or prefer.
I realized I was overreacting and needed a timeout! So to my car I went and sat for a few minutes just breathed and noticed my surroundings. While telling my body everything was fine and we were safe. This errand just took over an hour when we thought it would take 15 minutes. As I slowed and settled my body, I remembered my prayers for patience. Duh, I thought, no wonder this happened. The only way you develop a new trait or habit is by exercising it and practicing it over and over. Just like a muscle. If you don’t work it hard, it does not get stronger.
I realized AGAIN, that God would not just drop patience through my car roof. But I would be helped to gain more patience as I slowed down, and as I reset the way my mind codes unexpected pauses and delays in my daily schedule. When I can see them as gifts and a chance to slow down, to take in beauty or a long slow breath. When I can use the gift of these extra seconds or minutes to do a Positivity Pause, my patience will naturally grow.
So tune in soon for part 2 and learn more about Positivity Pausing! Meanwhile, don’t pray for patience unless you really want it.
The dictionary defines Patience as: the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. For some more info on how Patience impacts success in life, go to https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/250211
What are your cues that your life is approaching warp speed and becoming unmanageable? How often do you listen to them? And, what helps you to listen and heed this cue?
Are you a patient person? If so, how did you develop this trait in such an impatient, “gotta have it now” cultural milieu? How does having patience help your daily life?