How many times did you hear ‘Patience is a virtue’ as a child? I wouldn’t know how many times my parents said it to me and I think I must have ignored their attempt to teach me this life skill every time because it’s a lesson I still don’t seem to have learnt.
Patience is a virtue didn’t mean anything to me as a child, it was just an old fashioned saying that old people spouted whenever I couldn’t have what I wanted, or so it seemed.
I think perhaps it would be better phrased as ‘you can’t control everything to stop trying’ these days. Returning to my spiritual home, Nepal, I am reminded yet again that patience is a life still I still need to master.
I have been coming to Nepal since 2004 when a stress breakdown forced me to change my lifestyle. Have you ever felt like ‘running away’ from your life? Well I did and Nepal is where I ran away to and I still return every year to take groups trekking in the Himalayas.
Nepal has a subtle way of teaching me many life skills; humility and patience to name just two skills that need continuous practice for us to live happy, calm and balanced lives. It also has a not so subtle way of bringing me back down to earth with a bump forcing me to re-examine my beliefs about how to live life on so many levels.
I think it’s ironic that our modern progressive so called first world country we need to take lessons from a third world or ‘developing’ country about how to cope with life.
When I arrive, like all us ‘Westerners’, before even getting my room key, I’m chasing down the wifi access code so I can get online to check my messages and emails. I use work as the reason I’m in such a desperate hurry to check in with life; perhaps I feel I need to justify my choice of priorities, but I’m not alone.
Wifi code in hand, I connect all my devices (yes, one isn’t enough) and its at that point my lack of patience comes forth. For the next three days my stress levels soar as I battle with internet connectivity insisting I must continue my way of life and how I want to work. It’s only on day four that I remember that I cant change an entire country and infrastructure to suit me – it is my attitude that has to change.
Once I’ve had a word with myself, I relax, I reprioritise and find a different way of achieving what I need to.
I use Nepal as an example because for me it’s a blatant reminder and I do have a little smile to myself because I should know better. It might be a different continent and culture but this equally applies for the stress and anxiety we allow into our lives. Getting frustrated about someone not returning our messages or calls, the weather not doing what we want it to, a traffic jam when you’re late for work or someone who is not a ‘perfect’ driver gets in our way, people walking slowly when we’re in a hurry, other people faffing around at the checkout in a supermarket or the one person in front of us at the ATM people being slow.
It is worth a reminder to yourself that you can’t control everything, especially other people because the only person affected by your frustration is you.
Allow this to continue unchecked and anxiety levels rise leading to mental and physical conditions such as OCD, eating disorders, headaches and migraines. Addictions.
I am not alone in my failure to learn the skill of patience, it is probably one of the most common failings amongst clients seeking help with hypnotherapy to greater or lesser extent. Learning acceptance of the things we can’t (or shouldn’t try to) control and letting go of the little things we don’t need to will lower stress and allow you to let go of anxiety, depression and/or anger so you are calmer and happier.
They have a saying in Nepal ‘Ke Garne’ that literally means ‘what to do?’ that they use during those times when things happen they can’t control. It’s a wonderful phrase of total acceptance and it’s been said more than once to me when the internet isn’t connecting or I can’t charge my mobile phone because the electricity is off again.
If you visit Nepal you will notice how happy and calm the people are, perhaps this is one of the reasons why, they don’t go into battle with things they already know they can’t overcome. We could learn a lesson or two from their skills in acceptance.
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