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Want to be patient? Close your eyes

A lesson in patience I learned from a yoga session at the gym

I am on all fours on the black gym mat, waiting for the yoga instructor’s next cue. I’m imagining I’m a table with delicate cup on my back.

I must balance or it will fall apart.

“Now raise your right arm straight in front of you, and your left leg straight behind you. Both should be parallel to your body,” he says.

Now I’m a table with a flying arm and leg. It sounds relatively easy and yet I am wobbling, trying to find my balance.

Whenever you need balance, focus on your core because it gives your limbs power. Don’t get balance from your limbs, they are unstable and you will fall. Always focus on your center.”

I harden my middle. I stay still. I breathe.

I realize my yoga instructor just taught me a valuable lesson without him even knowing.

The key to patience is calmness.

I am sitting in my corner desk, reflecting on my patience practice for the past week.

Since I started my daily patience intention, the outbursts have been very few and far between.

And as I recall my unexpected lesson from the gym, I rediscovered something more I can do to reinforce my patience.

Focus on your center…

Patience needs a high degree of calmness at its core. It’s hard to have an outburst when you’re feeling peaceful to begin with.

But when you start out the day agitated, stressed, worried, _____________ (add your adjective here), impatience is a given. Even just tripping over the stray Strawberry Shortcake doll on the floor can feel like you’re tipping over the edge.

How do you become calm?

I click and rummage through my laptop’s folders, looking for an old mp3 I used for meditation before.

Meditation. It sounds like a big word. Like something only spiritual and artistic people would do. But hey, if it’s going to make me a more patient mom, it’s worth another try.

I used to do it more to clear my mind than anything else. Now I’m doing it for a more specific purpose: to achieve calmness that can last me the whole day.

I popped the buds in my ear, clicked play and sat back on my chair.

Ah, this feels good. I hear a lot of noises on any given day and the soothing sound of a flowing stream is caressing my ear.

I empty my mind and I imagine myself being transported to one of the most peaceful places I’ve ever seen.

As within, so without

“Can I play with your action figures?”

The little one was referring to a motley crew made of Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters, Woody and his friends from Toy Story, the Chipettes and Spongebobs. Lots of Spongebobs.

“But they’re my action figures!”

“But I can’t find mine. You’re not sharing!”

Poor Mickey gets tossed behind the door while Spongebob gets thrown at the closet. It’s a tough time for the action figures tonight.

And it should have been tough for me too.

But there’s something about meditating early in the morning that filled my patience cup to overflowing.

I was calm.

I picked up the toys on the floor one by one.

“You know what, Mickey said he’d love to play with both of you. You can have a tea party.”

My girls seemed to have a lightbbulb moment and started to arrange their cups and cakes on a table.

“Would you like to have a tea party with us Mommy?”

And just like that, our bedroom was at peace again.

I’ve read it before that your vibrations affect the people around you, especially your children. So when you radiate peace and calm, they sense it and imbibe it. Simply put, they behave.

I realized, the more I practiced being calm, the less conflict happened.

And at the end of the day, my cup is still half full.

Focus: As you begin your day, focus on being calm and peaceful. Remember that whatever feelings you have inside you can be sensed by the people around you. If you want peace without, start with peace within.

Practice: Release worry, stress or agitation before you begin your day. Try meditating, listening to calming music or taking a morning walk. You can also find a quiet corner in your home and just be still and silent for a few minutes. One thing I used to do was write all negative thoughts on a piece of paper, tear it into pieces and throw it away.

How do you stay calm? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas in the comments.