I was driving to my job at the florist yesterday afternoon and pulled up to a stoplight just as it turned green. The driver in front of me wasn't paying attention, didn't know the light was green, and didn't go for a few seconds. Finally she proceeded, but then drove five miles per hour under the speed limit for the entire stretch of road until turning off.
I found myself getting irritated and angry. This person should be paying attention! They're holding me up! Then I remembered my blog. "Notice, don't Judge." "Relax, live in love." "You're being 'held up' for a reason. Accept it as the Universe taking care of you."
I calmed down and got back on track. Then I started beating myself up. "You write a blog about this, for goodness sakes. How many times do you have to hear something, read about something, write about something for it to sink in? You shouldn't still be getting angry at other drivers. You write every day how to live in love, yet you're not even doing it."
Then I realized that we don't just learn something and then do it that way every time thereafter, forever. At least I don't. At least not most of the time. And at least not with ingrained habits and tendencies.
It's not just about setting out your course ahead of you, setting the dials on the ship, and going along on cruise control.
Life needs constant readjustment.
Frequent reminders and nudges.
And that's ok.
Every time you hear or read the same concept about living in love, following your heart, being kind, etc, every time it sinks a little bit further into your psyche.
Every little bit helps.
We're not going to hear one presentation about following our dreams, think, 'Hey, that sounds good," and then uproot our entire lives and jump into the deep end. It takes time. Time for stuff to sink in. Time for our hearts, spirits, and even egos to adjust (though if the ego doesn't accept and adjust, we can deal with that).
Sometimes we need to hear a certain idea many, many times, in different ways, coming from different people, for us to finally decide to give it a try.
As we work on being patient with ourselves in this matter, we also need to remember to be patient with others.
I know I often think when I hear or learn something new that I think is totally incredible, that when I tell others, they'll be equally blown away. If I'm convinced of something's merits and value, then why wouldn't eveyone else? But it doesn't work that way. Everyone is on their own time clock. Everyone is on their own path, and it just may not be going in the same direction as yours.
I remember shortly after I went vegan, and I was all gung-ho about it. I had read books in which I learned loads of new information ("The China Study" and "The Kind Diet" were what did it for me). If I had known what I knew now, I thought, I would have gone vegan a long time ago. I couldn't believe the data out there of which I had no clue at all. So I assumed others, namely my family, didn't know this either. And surely if they did know, they'd eat differently as well.
Of course that's not at all what happened.
I remember one dinner at my parents' house in particular. I was all excited to tell everyone what I'd learned because for me it was life-changing information. I remember my dad saying something like, "If you want to do that, that's fine, but don't expect anyone to follow you." He said it with a tone of... what was it.... feeling threatened, perhaps protectiveness of his own ways, with a slight air of arrogance, condescension, and anger.
I was hurt. The comment may not sound that bad, and I suppose he could've said much worse. But I was hurt that all I was trying to do was help my loved ones be more healthy, and he didn't want to even listen. He was basically saying, "Go away, leave us alone." Or at least that's how I perceived it.
Those two examples, me getting angry behind the slow driver and my dad not being as excited as I was about what I had learned about food, are examples that things happen in steps. Little by little usually. (My dad later read "The China Study" and told me how enlightening the scientific findings in it were in regards to food and health...but he's still an omnivore and I don't think really changed his eating habits at all.)
Everything is a seed planted. Some will grow. Some will not. Some take a long time to germinate. Others sprout right up.
For me, my lesson yesterday was to not beat myself up when I slip up. Be kind to myself. Be gentle. I know I know how to live in love. I believe in it. But that doesn't mean I won't act in anger at times or get irritated. And when I do, as long as I gently and lovingly guide myself back on track, I'll be fine.
I need to extend this courtesy and patience with everyone around me as well.
Live in love.
Allow others to be who they are, where they are, and to follow their own paths.
And when you slip up, as you inevitably will from time to time, be kind to yourself. Gently guide yourself back on track. It's ok.
*The first three quotes are the "serious" ones. The last two are more for humor, although still very true.
** All quotes today (below) are from www.wonderful-quotes.com.
Quotes of the Day:
"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
"Patience is the companion of wisdom." (St. Augustine)
"Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish." (John Quincy Adams)
"You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance." (Franklin P. Jones)
"Patience is something you admire in the driver behind you and scorn in the one ahead." (Mac McCleary)