Jul 16, 2021, 06:29AM

Patience or a Lack Thereof

The forgotten virtue, and how to get it.

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You may have caught Fidelity Investment’s “change in plans” commercial during the nightly news. A nosy daughter who just minted twins helps the grandparents unpack. She delivers a lukewarm, “Mom are you painting again? You could sell these.” Cue the Tears for Fears pop song, “Welcome to your life… everybody wants to rule the world.”

Now that’s all a big maybe. Having a gallery show takes an extraordinary amount of patience. How’s mom going to handle an inevitable rejection slip? “Love the work, however, jumping forward this season, we’re moving in a different direction.” Good luck mom.

Patience isn’t listed on the Endangered Species Act. It should be: the virtue’s been under attack for generations. Have we forgotten one of life’s basic principles? We need patience.

In a rush to return to “normal,” corporations show no restraint. They’re busy finding ways to capitalize on pandemic stress relief by offering everything from cars to soft drinks. That’s a slippery idea. Imagine what Socrates, Aristotle or Buddha might say under those circumstances: “Patience isn’t an impulse buy on the snack food aisle. Wait a second, those potato chips look good.”

Recently there’s been a disturbing number of assaults on airline crews and passengers. Humans tend to ignore themselves in a struggle. These air hazards show a lack of self-restraint, better known as patience. In addition to alcohol consumption, are pandemic-tired travelers high as a kite taking meth, psilocybin and gummy edibles before flights? “Hello, I’m Mr. Ed.” Don’t try to open the airplane door.

I’m guaranteed to get cranky over pet noise peeves: vehicles beeping in reverse, Nokia ringtones and a neighbor’s Peloton at 5:30 in the morning. High stress situations detonate the limbic system. Put aside negative experiences, technology and those with mental health issues for a moment: time to create your own private sanity. To achieve patience, one needs to practice.

For some, becoming a wellness warrior helps find patience. And to be fair, a mind/body reset is fine, many classes measure up. I recently overheard an excited yoga instructor announce, “I just wanted to let everyone know, I feel a little glow today because I just taught my first Zoom class. Online is such a huge space allowing me an intimate state of mind.” Participation in a group that claims knowledge of a better life and empowerment sounds appealing.

The fact is, the billion-dollar New Age for profit business model with its subtle spiritual persuasion techniques, strange ideas and esoteric unknowns isn’t without risk. Your mind can’t create its own “Goop” soup of magical healing powers, instant wisdom and nothing consciousness. For those seeking personal development in this field, it’s important to have an energetic exchange with money. Don’t let pride and ego pull the wool over your eyes. Be alert, because the world needs more lerts. Worthwhile? Let’s have a look.

To help cultivate your bursting with happiness inner peace, how about a gourmet cuisine, stretch, dine and unwind retreat in Costa Rica and it’s wait list only. Bon Appetit. That will cost you $3599.

Wearing ultra-tight paisley leggings, equipped with concealed weapon carry pockets and an $800 pair of sneakers, you place your mat on the floor. “Align your pelvis (there seems to be a consistent focus on the pelvic region) so it’s cosmetically sound. Touch the earth with your eyebrows and make a little pathway through your brain. Take in the rays of internal sunshine spreading from your elbows, traveling through your arms down to your fingertips. That’s it, exhale. Feel like you’re on a cloud?” Downward dog.

Martha Stewart’s patient voice describes food with an even temper. “The chili pepper, what a beautiful plant to know. The satisfying aroma of the pepper develops as it ripens. Spice memories are stored in your olfactory cortex. Add what you wish. I know what you’re thinking, you’d like to achieve balance in your life. Look no further than the chili pepper.”

Thriving in a bleak landscape, social media is a complex issue. Dangerous efforts are pushing ignorance, hatred, violence and fringe ideology. Psychiatrists say a sociopath has predicable signs and traits. Using self-analysis, you have to ask yourself, “Are my suspicions realistic?”

Patience plays an important role in defusing online wrong-thinking. Cults of discontent are trying to stop logic by spreading fear and unrest. It’s hard understanding a demented person’s ranting at full volume about nothing or something.

I seek patience every time I hear “It is what it is” or “at the end of the day” coming out of talking heads’ casual talk on TV. Admittedly, I do it too…when it’s funny. A vast majority of the public makes an “ick” face when swallowing Cod Liver Oil “hook, line and sinker” with no fishy aftertaste. As the old saying goes “It’s hard to swallow.” Sports and newscasters take note.

For me, patience is always a struggle.

Phone in palm, let’s contact the Department of Obvious. Everyone wants an instant answer with a strategy. Sometimes the answers are simple: you can’t change people, but you can change your response. Having common sense allows you to anticipate your own actions and how others will react. And, once we stress out, our values change, we run the risk of becoming selfish.

Patience is an investment in ourselves. Take a moment to use the power of courage and attempt to revive this forgotten virtue.


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