One of my favorite stories growing up was, “Wait till the Moon is Full” by Margaret Wise Brown. This story is about a young raccoon that is anxious to go out and “see the night” but keeps being told by his mother to “Wait. Wait till the moon is full.” The story describes all kinds of things that the little raccoon hears in the night that he wants very badly to see. He hammers his mother with questions about the night and her answer remains the same; he must “Wait till the moon is full.”
The pictures in this story are done in black and brown right up until the last page. After the mother tells her little raccoon that he may go out into the woods and see and do all that he has anticipated, the reader turns to the very last beautifully, colorful page which reads, “…for the moon is full.”
The raccoon was being taught patience (though I would say he remained rather impatient throughout the story) and in the end he was rewarded for that patience with a glorious adventure out into the night. I remember hearing the story and waiting, maybe a little impatiently, for that last page where I loved looking at the picture of wonderful things that the little raccoon was doing now that he had come to the end of his long wait. The wait had paid off!
Many of us spend much of our lives being impatient for one reason or another.
“I’ve learned that whenever I’m in a big hurry, the person in front of me isn’t.” I think we can all relate to this scenario. We get impatient with circumstances that delay our plans: Being placed on hold listening to elevator music; sitting in traffic on the way home from a long day at work; getting behind somebody out for a slow Sunday drive on a two lane road with little opportunity to pass. For some reason, our ego thinks that our plan is more important than whatever is causing our delay and we become impatient. It is our inner self shouting, “What about me??”
Or, we may become impatient with the fact that things are not happening on our time-table: finding a new job, affording a new car or having a baby. Our impatience screams, “It’s taking too long!”
When we are impatient with another person, we are really communicating to them criticism and irritation about what they have said or done to us. Impatience sarcastically says, “You mean, you don’t get this??”, or, “You are really so wrong!” When somebody is patient with me I feel grateful for their patience. But when someone is impatient, it can, if I am not careful, get my hackles up causing the situation to deteriorate even more!
In “Just One Thing” by Rick Hanson, he says that “Impatience interprets circumstances as you being hindered or mistreated, so you feel frustrated, let down, or annoyed. Impatience is dissatisfaction; it is resistance to the way it is.” By contrast he writes that “Patience means handling delay, difficulty or discomfort without getting aggravated.” Patience makes us more tolerant and keeps us open to the bigger picture rather than focused on the wrongness of things.
Impatience can cause us to be angry toward a circumstance or a person; and anger never leads us to a good place. Anger and impatience cause stress and who needs more of that?
Wayne Dyer relates a story in his books and in his lectures directed at checking our ego. The story centers around ‘Rule Number 6’ (check out the audio, its short….) which admonishes us to NOT take ourselves so seriously. Each day of our lives we are presented with multiple opportunities to apply Rule Number 6 and take a step back from thoughts of righteousness, superiority and insistence; the chance to reign in our ego and return to a place of calm, of patience.
“Patience is the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping the gears,” says writer Barbara Johnson. It’s taking that deep breath before you respond, counting to 10 and reminding yourself about Rule Number 6. It’s refocusing your mind back on a positive and ridding your thoughts of the negative. It’s being open to the notion that, no matter what the circumstances, basically I am OK right now.
Where can you practice patience in your life? Is there a circumstance that might benefit from you taking a step back? Is there somebody that you talk with regularly that would gain if you paused before you responded? Is there any situation where you could apply Rule Number 6 and help yourself feel less aggravated? Patience truly takes so much less energy than impatience and aggravation! And the payoff can be huge…….
The little raccoon eventually got to go out into the night and see it all for himself. He got to “see the night, and know an owl, and how dark is the dark, and how big is the night, and listen to the Whip poor Will, and see the moon isn’t a rabbit……” for the moon was full.
On the journey with you…….Kathy
(Quote: Age 29- The Complete Live and Learn and Pass It On, by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.)