Do you ever become impatient with yourself? Do you let that critical negative voice in your head be so loud that the kind, encouraging one cannot be heard? I do and was reminded last week when I had used those helpful 'bring ourselves back into the present' tools '(It's like this now! Now what!') to connect with the present And my responses to many tricky situations had been quite good, but then the final limbo bar - Could I, in the face of criticism, extend that same patience and kindness to myself?! Let me tell you about my day last Tuesday.
Ever have a day when everything seems to go wrong? Last Tuesday was a bit like that for me. Well that is not entirely true, because some amazing things went right on my Patience Limbo Tuesday. And as Wendy says, it was all right in the end.
I started my day on the tram to Melbourne Uni, and was joined by who I now know was a Pastafarian. He was a tall, well dressed man with a metal colander on his head and an unusual case with the words 'The end is far away, relax and enjoy some pasta.' I thought the relax bit was good advice, so went with that.
Limbo Bar One - Right place, wrong time
I dropped something off to my daughter at tram stop one at Melbourne Uni and went on a lovely walk to the museum to meet my friends Bec and Donna for lunch. I had planned to meet them and get a lift with them to beautiful Brunswick to drop something off at my friend Rosie's house. Not only had I not told them of my plan, but I had also mixed up the Tuesday I was meant to meet them! Amazingly and to their surprise I ran into them. We cleared up the confusion and I joined them for lunch in Smith Street, before their first appointment. We had a lovely lunch and I was excited to see a yarn shop I had been wanting to go to right there. So I went in and bought some wool before walking to Parliament Station to take the train to Brunswick. So far so good with being patient with others and myself. Lovely lunch and the opportunity for another walk.
Limbo Bar Two - I realise I have lost my wallet!
I got to the station and discovered I did not have my wallet! I stayed calm, as I thought through the last few hours and decided I must have left it at the yarn shop. I rang my friend who was fortunately still in Fitzroy opposite the shop and she kindly collected it for me. I was a bit tired, so decided to hail a cab back to Smith Street. Lovely cab driver agreed to take me to collect my purse and then onto Brunswick, only he got a call and could only drop me off to collect my purse. More patience opportunities! He kindly refused to let me pay him for the ride and bid me farewell. I collected my wallet from Donna and avoided the temptation to get angry at myself! with my 'that can happen', 'it's like this now, what is my wisest response? tools. I decided to go with patience and kindness to all, including me. So I'm over limbo bar two and now walking back to Parliament station.
Limbo Bar Three - Wrong house number in Brunswick!
On my way back to Parliament I decided to give my weary legs a rest and hail another cab. A social worker masquerading as a Pakistani cab driver stopped for me. He was telling me about how his previous passenger was a young man who was having a hard time - not only did he not charge him but was speaking with his mother on the phone, concerned about his welfare! Amazing, kind man. So I arrive at the street in Brunswick only to go to number three and find no one at home and the house not looking like the right one. I went next door to find a very helpful friendly Greek lady who accompanied me down the street searching for Rosie's house. We met a painter and a couple of other neighbours and with all their help I found Rosie at number thirteen! I had copied down the address incorrectly. More 'that can happen!' So over limbo bar three, lots of patience with myself and others, gratitude for all the kind help and no critical negative self talk. I spent a lovely time with Rosie and her beautiful daughter and was filled with admiration and gratitude for their generosity and kindness.
Limbo Bar Four - Respond to criticism with criticism! Whoops
I finally made it home after catching the express train through Armadale and tracking back! Then limbo bar four brought me undone. We had guests for dinner and one of them was questioning me regarding why I had cancelled my trip to Bali. I felt criticised and defensive and assumed they were out to have a go! I put my 3-breaths into practice and was careful not to respond critically back. I asked 'why all the questions?' and they responded with a 'I am just curious and trying to help.' Ah, so the intention was not to have a go - then why do I feel criticised and defensive? I
I got my answer in the morning, when after my meditation, I did some journaling. While I had resisted the urge to be self-critical during my many mishaps and mistakes during the day, the evening brought me undone. I was being self-critical and doubting decisions and choices I had made! I was not being a kind, encouraging supportive friend to myself but rather a hard taskmaster who was angry, discouraging, critical and negative.
So enough, I sat down and wrote a kind, encouraging letter to myself and decided to watch those negative critical thoughts about myself and others too and replace them with kind, encouraging ones. I encourage you to do the same, if you feel the need. I wrote a sincere text of thanks to my guest and they responded kindly. So while I did not get over this bar the first time, I'm in training to get over it next time.
Have a great week.
Thank you all once again for your continued support, friendship and generosity.
Kind Regards and Best Wishes