Lessons in Patience

I landed in Bermuda on Saturday just before noon, and more than 24 hours later am sitting in a 90% unfurnished house looking out at the unbelievably warm and clear aquamarine waters of the Bermudian Atlantic Ocean.

Once again, I’m surrounded by boxes, this time that need to be unpacked, not removed, but I have no dressers or bedroom to house all the clothing they contain. I’m also lacking some basics, like a dining table, chairs, and a coffee machine. Hardest of all, I’m missing WiFi and my negative Covid test that will allow me to leave the house and enjoy all the wonders of this blissful place, just 90 minutes from New York. But I have my Buddha, my dish-ware, silverware, my dog and interim necessities.

It’s moments like these when I catch myself getting frustrated and irritated with the slowness of other people and cultures.

Why isn’t my new house done?

Why is there no internet?

Why hasn’t the government sent me my test result yet?!

Why?!

Why?!

Why?!

Then, a honk at the door and a smiling face reminds me, it’s Sunday. You’re not in New York any more, you chose this. Take a deep breath. Light a candle and stretch out on the Prayer Rug that has followed you from Morocco to here, and say Thank you! Why do you need the internet when you can walk down the steps to the pool and enjoy the sunshine and water?

It takes adjusting and patience to slow down, realize what we think is ESSENTIAL actually is just a distraction from the essential, and let the stress go. My friend Liz warned me of this before I left on Saturday… “Give it some time… It’ll be a few months before you’re really there again, ready to take on clients and prepared to fully start the new chapter. Give it time.”

Of course, I didn’t listen, and of course she was right. But the most important part of what I almost missed out on was recognition of my own tendency towards impatience. And my constant need for the Google approach to life of ANSWERS NOW!

The irony, of course, to the whole scenario was that my Buddha was sitting right there with me the entire time I was going through these mental gymnastics, quietly, peacefully and patiently smiling at me in her transcendental way, waiting for me to remember that all these agitations were really irrelevant in the grand scheme of reality being exactly what I make it to be. If I make my life aggressive and impatient, it will be, and my stress will once again increase. But If I allow my life to be patient and slow and appreciative of all the gifts and beauties that surround me, it will be that instead.

So as hard as it was to do, I forced a smile, took a deep breath in and said a prayer of thanksgiving before I headed out the door with Pippa only to find our friends Raphie and Phil had been patiently waiting for us outside to take us shopping for those ESSENTIALS we had just come to terms with not having. And so, my Buddhist lesson in patience had been rewarded.

Holly Lynch is a 20+ year communications veteran and life-long social impact advocate and strategist who has helped individuals and companies tackle the toughest challenges in their worlds. Having survived countless life setbacks and two rounds with terminal cancer, while seeing the country-wide collapse of the systems and safety nets for the most vulnerable in and outside our communities, she is now shifting her life and career trajectories to focus on coaching those facing down fundamental shifts and transitions as they try to navigate and rebuild their lives and businesses during these unprecedented times.

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