There is an old Tom Baker episode of Doctor Who where the people on a grounded space ship keep replacing parts over and over and say that “we just must remain patient” and the Doctor says, “too much patience gets you nowhere”… he knows that the ship, sitting for years, is capable of flight.
I’ve thought about that the past few months. I used to be sort of famous for being patient. I could work with students others could not, work with horses others did not want to handle, stand in long lines telling myself that I was being protected from something. My practices of meditation and Yoga were sources, I believed, of my patience.
Enter, into my life, a long series of disappointments, tragedies and a big chunk of confusion over these past few months and the patience flag becomes one of surrender – white and waving frantically at the back of my consciousness like a beacon screaming, “I give up, I need to rest, I don’t understand”. I feel like I need to be patient a little longer and then everything will magically explain itself and I will nod in understanding like some Katharine fashioned bobble head.
Nope. No more. The ship is capable of flight. This captain is ready to fight her way out of the miasma of doubt and second guessing that grounded the whole thing in the first place. My will be done. My life, my dreams.
It’s time to leap forward. I did a lot of: it needs to perfect, I need to get it right before I publish it, use it, change it – and now I just need to get things done. We were working on collected trot in a lesson today. My student had to send her horse “forward, forward, upward, upward” I kept “chanting” to her. And, “Dance, dance lower back” to get the suspension of stride and elegance of a dance with lightness. They did it. Horse and rider were truly lovely. Forward, Upward. That’s the way to collect ones life and dreams and dance with them.
I had a friend, years ago, who criticized everything I did. I drank a soft drink – “Gotta have that sugar, don’t you!”; I gave her shower gel for her birthday (it said, in French “douche”) – “Oh I don’t douche” as she handed the gift back to me… really!? I said that it was French for shower… I stayed patient too long while being rudely treated where it was never deserved. There could never have been a close friendship there – too much patience got me nowhere.
So, nope. No more. This ship is capable of flight! When I start to mount a horse, I make certain his legs, his hooves are standing squarely and he is ready to have my weight swing aboard. This is properly applied patience. If the horse does not want to stand quietly, I just have him make small circles around me, walking, until he wants to stop. Then I try to mount again. I will continue to send him on tiny circles when he refuses to stand until he finally relaxes and decides that standing for me is much easier than going ’round and ’round. I remain patient. I teach him to be patient. Sometimes, it is very appropriate. The potential beneficial outcome is well worth the waiting.
Some things, though, are not going to turn out lovely enough to balance the effort or agony involved in getting to them. I have simply got to get this through my head and hone my intuition to better sense the varied outcomes in all the relationships and situations I face. Information makes that easier. Vacuums tend to elicit either anger or submission.
So, nope. No more. My ship is capable of flight. I will have infinite patience with a new, beginning rider. I will have infinite patience for a frightened student or horse. I will be patient with myself learning to play the guitar and the didgeridoos. I will have no patience for anyone who hurts an animal, a person or me (physically or emotionally). I will always be an “open book” in this world. I will newly protect my deepest core while remaining honest and open as well. It can be done.
So all I am saying tonight is that we all must weigh each situation and choose just how long we can put up with something or go without something before we say, “Enough!” – and just fly our ship on down to the next adventure. Too much patience can get you nowhere. The ship is capable of flight.