Monday, October 7, 2013

how to cure impatience

I've been walking more than usual lately.  the dog likes this, and for the first little while, I do, too.
and then I get antsy, I think I've walked much further than I have, and I'm ready to be done.
I'm impatient.

yesterday I tried to focus on being in the present moment.  this is something we're encouraged to do every minute of every day, but I usually find it difficult to accomplish.  as I type this I'm simultaneously thinking about what else I need to accomplish today, what my daughter is doing in the other room, what's for dinner, what time I need to leave for my appointment, and what I'm going to do with my hair.
so yesterday, while cycling, I decided to keep my focus on the beautiful day around me, the leaves, the air, the boundless sunshine, my body on my bike, my breathing . . . everything that was happening at the time.  thoughts of future events flitted in, of course (I wonder when I'll be ready to ride big mountain again, gosh I've got a lot of volleyball games to attend this coming week, wonder when I'll get my car's tires rotated, you know) but I gently ushered them right back out and pulled myself back to the road surface beneath my tires and the warm sunshine on my back.
I did pretty darn well.

I try this when I'm walking, but I just get antsy.  I want to be there already.  perhaps it's because I'm just so accustomed to moving at biking pace, not walking pace, where I'm used to things moving by more quickly and the tenths of miles ticking off much more rapidly.
from my short-lived attempt to become a runner, I know many distances around my neighborhood.  I live on the corner of a fairly large street, and know that it's exactly half a mile to the next fairly large street.   each cross street in between is somewhere between 1/20th and 1/10th of a mile.
I use this tool frequently when cycling:  oh, a mile is just twice the length of my "block."
if I'm climbing a steep hill, I'll pick a landmark up a ways, and tell myself that will be the next cross-street, and after I've hit 8 such milestones I'll have half a mile done.

it's not always easy to estimate distances, and there have been plenty times I've watched my little cyclometer, waiting for it to tick to the next 1/10th of a mile, knowing it's long past due.

this happens to me all the time when I'm walking:  I just know I've walked further than I think and for a longer period of time than I think.  sometimes I'll come home from a walk, knowing I've walked two miles . . . and only 25 minutes have passed.
I cannot walk a mile in 12.5 minutes.

and now you'd probably like me to tie my thoughts together, so here goes.
if I could learn to focus on the present moment, I could let go of my impatience, and then I wouldn't need to worry about how far I've gone, because I'd be enjoying it so much the miles (or tenths of miles) would just slip away under my feet.
there you go.

this is what I will focus on for the rest of the month:  being present to the degree that I forget my awareness of time and distance.
being present as a cure for impatience.  sounds like something worth trying,
and something I think the dog might like.

No comments: