The first day of school brought happy reunions with my staff, parents and students. Everyone was anxious to share summer travel adventures and family updates and the question, “How was your summer?” and “What did you do over the summer?” I was in awe of the wonderful travel so many enjoyed, the beach days, camping trips and experiences with family and friends. My summer looked a lot different, although it was an adventure…and a huge learning experience.
This is the summer I moved into my new home and my summer encapsulated the learning experiences of developing patience and letting go. Control is something I am pretty good at and it is something that I have needed throughout my life of raising and teaching children. I have had to control environments, schedules and learning experiences for my students and have had to help my own children learn to develop patience, perseverance and establish their own control. Nothing prepared me for the patience needed to complete my own move.
I had decided to update my new kitchen and bathroom and to make needed safety changes in my new home. Fortunately, I had a great contractor, whom I trusted and who had great design ideas. I had some time before moving in, but even with that, it was a tight schedule and there were a million decisions to be made. I spent my summer in Home Depot, Lowe’s, OSH and Fergusons selecting faucets, tile, cabinets and fixtures among other things I selected paint colors and did my best to create a home I would love on a budget I would be able to live with, too.
This is where the letting go comes in. There is only so much one can control and even though the choices were mine to make, the timeline had more influences than just my desire for completion. There came a point when I clearly remembered thinking that I just needed to let go of trying to control everything and to relax as things unfolded on their own. This was the lesson of my summer and a great reminder moving forward.
We really only have so much control in this life, whether it is control of where we live, work, our health or the children we raise. Some things are just out of our control and we have to learn to ride the wave of patience, letting go of the need to fix or control everything.
Letting go can bring with it, a sense of peace because we don’t have to try so hard to make things “right.” Letting go can allow things to evolve naturally and, more amazingly, we find out that end results really are for the best. We think we know so much about the way things should be and often are so strongly invested in our own opinions that we are blinded to opportunities and possibilities that can offer wonderful life experiences.
Developing patience can have a positive impact on our lives in many ways, including our health and our relationships. Practicing mindfulness can enhance patience and life offers many opportunities to practice patience from lines at the market, to traffic on the 101 Freeway. We can spend our lives getting agitated, yelling at people and loudly exhaling or we can quietly inhale and practice letting our heart guide us instead of our noisy mind. In these times, in our country, perhaps patience is something more of us need to practice. We need to develop the patience to give others a chance to buy their groceries and drive their cars, the patience to let children enjoy their childhoods, to learn at their own developmental pace without undue pressure, to make friends and find their own interests without fulfilling our unfulfilled childhood dreams. Patience is a gift that we can give others and the practice of it can actually add to our lives through longevity, better health and increased enjoyment.
There is so little we really have control over in our lifetimes, but one thing we can control is our reaction to events and circumstances. We hear stories of people overcoming obstacles who go on to accomplish great things, to succeed and live their dreams.
Having the patience to view life with perspective and learning to let go was my summer break and now that I think about it, it was a pretty great summer.