This is the ninth of 10 weekly reading assignments and kind action recommendations using the book “The Power of Kindness” as inspiration.
Reading: Read the chapter called “Patience”
Stop and consider any passage in this chapter that speaks to you. Read it again, this time out loud (even if you are reading aloud to yourself).
Kind Action: Practice Patience in a Situation You Might Otherwise Feel Rushed
The subtitle of this chapter is a question, “Have You Left Your Soul Behind?” and refers to a story Ferrucci tells of a group of scientists wanting to get their equipment to a remote place. They had hired human carriers to transport their equipment but the carriers had suddenly and inexplicably stopped moving, what the scientists saw as wasting time. The carriers explained they had stopped because they had been going too fast, causing their souls to be left behind. They were waiting for their souls to catch up.
Such is your assignment this week, to recognize when you are in a situation where you are moving so fast that you have left your soul behind and then pause long enough for it to catch up. In that pause, reach out to another person and provide them the warming acknowledgement that you are aware of their existence. This person could be the reason for your impatience or it could be someone else in close proximity. The key here is to recognize your impatience and then relax, engaging with another person mindfully and fully, making what Martin Buber refers to as an I-Thou connection.
Sometimes magic just happens… I have needed “this post” for so long and have not been addressing it for well over six months. Much thinking and work needed now. Bless you Andy and your Kindness Classes!
I realize I need to explore much more this concept of my “soul” which I tend to call my “energy or spirit” and explore patience as well… I have a place where I need to apply it for myself; within the interactions with my husband who is “highly functional” but has Alzheimers. In the last two weeks we have made a breakthrough with our therapist and a social worker and now we are back to a more stable loving relationship without so much tension and stress. It has been preceded by one of the worst years of my life… as I tried TOO hard to keep my husband as functional as possible. He was disliking much of how I was treating him and I was overly stressed out as I could see that my anger and inability to provide an even keel, was hurting us both. I am not out of the woods yet, but I have a new hope, which I have not had over the last eight years plus of knowing that Tommy has Alzheimers, and that there is nothing we can do to stop its progression, but we can keep him as involved and active as possible and also make every day, every month, and every year the best possible. Now the real work begins… acceptance comes first! Kindness in all its forms, including patience will be needed and because I have never been a very patient person, even with myself, I am not deluding myself that it will be easy… but I can only fall down and get back up to try again!
Oh! Linda, I admire your willingness to be open about your own struggles with this. One thing I learned from your story is that the patience part comes in more often when our own expectations are congruent with the situation, and impatience often arises when our expectations are not congruent. Your shifting your idea about how your husband’s functional ability and how that led to an improved experience is very helpful. Thank you.
On this week’s Kindness topic, “Patience,” I had mixed feelings in my reaction. I can see the benefit of taking a patient approach to building relationships, as Ferrucci describes. At the same time, I think it’s important not o allow myself and my own feelings to be suppressed while waiting for another person to respond in a more kind or positive way. I’m still very grateful for the first lesson on “Transparent Kindness,” and I’m still practicing that whenever I can.
About the kind action for this week, which was to be more patient when one might usually be in a rush, thinking back over this week I recall a situation in which more patience was helpful. I was visiting family in another state, and we had planned to go on an excursion Sunday afternoon. However, the schedule changed when they had a commitment come up on Sunday morning, which they still hoped would be concluded in time for us to go. And of course, the morning commitment took longer than expected, and it was a bit draining for them. I offered to change our afternoon plans to something less demanding, though we could still spend time together, so that they wouldn’t have to be rushing to do the excursion with me after having an exhausting morning.