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Practice Patience and Flexibility

One of my favorite shows got dumped from Netflix. I know that’s not an earth-shattering event, nor for that matter are most of the annoying hiccups of daily life: the trash pickup doesn’t happen, the stylist you’ve come to depend on leaves the salon, the dog/cat breaks your favorite dish.

I find though, that if I’m not mindful, I can let these annoyances turn me into Ms. Grinch, not a pleasant consequence for those around me, much less myself. Granted, there’s that immediate hit we get from blaming someone/something, but frankly things just don’t go well for me when I’m in Grinch-mode. I can’t afford to stay there for very long.

Lately I’ve been telling myself something a dear friend shared with me. She was about to embark on a family vacation. Lest you cry “So what? No big deal!” let me point out that her family of 20(!), all traveling together, included four generations, the oldest of which are somewhat health-and-energy-challenged, the youngest of which (great-grandchildren) are a blur-joy. You know, the running around in circles, high-octane munchkins.

My friend’s way of coping with the ensuing mayhem, hilarity and general chaos of corralling these disparate folk onto airplanes, through airport connections, into a foreign country, and then through the two-week vacation itself, was to remind herself of how her grandfather approached travel; “Patience and flexibility” he would say. All it takes is “patience and flexibility.”

What a great mantra for life! I mean, really, apart from the few major disasters that we may suffer through our lives, most of our daily irritations and annoyances are readily solved with a dose of “patience and flexibility.” OK, so my favorite show got nuked. Well, with a little patience and flexibility, I’ll find something I enjoy just as much. The trash didn’t get picked up. The nice lady at the trash company asks if I’m willing to wait an extra few days for pick up. Of course I am. Nothing horrible will happen if the bin is out there two more days. I can always find another stylist, it’s not the first time. And, I did love that dish, but oh well. I’m certainly not going to live without pets.

Thus it is. I find that if I just say to myself, “Self, be patient. You’ll figure out something. Be flexible. There’s always another way,” my irritation quickly dissolves, my load is lighter, and somehow the day goes better.


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