Saturday, February 02, 2013

Being patient & powerful

We had a beautiful rain here in Arizona last weekend. I loved it. My dog did not. She got me up at 2am and then at 5am again to go outside, only to realize that she didn't really want to go out in the rain. I tried to coax her. I went out and beckoned her. I stood in the dark downpour with my raincoat on, holding up an umbrella and called to her. She looked at me and ran back to bed. I knew what was coming, so I put pee pee pads under her and waited for the inevitable. Sure enough within the hours I was doing laundry… again.

In these moments it is not easy to be patient. However, I love my dog, and I knew from what the angels have taught me that unless I had compassion for myself first, I was not going to feel too compassionate towards her. So I loaded up the laundry, went into the second bedroom, shut the door, buried my face in a pillow, and bawled. It wasn't the most evolved behavior, but after little sleep and too much wash, it was the best I could do. Lucy tried to follow me around, but I wasn’t in the mood. "Go to bed," I told her calmly and firmly. She looked at me, felt the no nonsense energy and walked herself into the bedroom for a nap. I was able to do a quick meditation, grab breakfast and get myself back in a loving space. We ended up having a very nice day.

Being patient and tolerant does not mean we let others treat us badly. Caesar Milan, the dog whisperer for example is a very patient and calm person but he is also firm and commanding. The angels love that show! They got so excited the first time I watched it. “That’s it!” they were saying in my head! “Calm assertive! Loving but strong! That’s what humans need to learn when they don’t like another’s behavior.” Likewise, "Super Nanny" - the perfect babysitter - is very patient and loving, but also very firm in her insistence on good behavior. There are times in life for speaking up and not tolerating bad behaviors is appropriate. However, if we do so after first accepting our own feelings and being patient with ourselves, then we can be firm from a loving and powerful place, rather than a place of helpless frustration.

I will never forget one interaction with a hotel that charged me $600 for catering an event. No food was provided and according to the contract water was free. It was clearly their mistake. I was upset when I found out I was charged because I needed the credit on my card for other expenses. I allowed myself my feelings in private, then calmed down and called the hotel, assuming that it was an honest mistake. The local manager promised to send me a refund and did not. After several interactions over a few months and no check, I patiently reported him to the better business bureau and called their corporate headquarters. The local manager was furious! He had been caught in his bad behavior. He called me up and screamed at me. He told me that he was going to pay me but I hadn’t been patient enough. I just listened calmly and asked him when I could expect the check. If I had tried to interact with that rage it would have been a mess for us both. I had been patient with my own anger so I was able to be powerful, loving, and calm in the face of his. I got the check the following week.

Rather than having patience looking a certain way in your life, realize it is an internal state of being where we first accept ourselves, as we are, and then from that space, we can allow others to be themselves, while still figuring out the healthiest way to dance with them… if at all. If we are truly to love our neighbors as ourselves, we must first love ourselves.

So this week, be patient with yourself. Allow yourself your own feelings. And then see if that doesn't make it easier to be patient with others as well. It won't make you weak. Instead it will help you come from a more powerful place of love, compassion, and clarity.

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