Impatience gets the better of many of us; and I am certainly more guilty than most of possessing this trait. If I were to characterise my overall level of impatience, it would be comparable to a person with explosive diarrhoea, searching desperately for a vacant loo! Such a lovely visual image I've served you there, but it conveys the urgency in which I am prone to live my life – if I don't catch myself on, practice mindfulness and keep myself in check. Mindfulness is the art of paying attention to the present moment, with intention, whilst letting go of judgement, as if your life depended on it.
How many of you can identify with my fragrant and unsubtle characterisation of impatience? How many of us want to have a fast forward preview of life, to know how our life will be lived, before we actually live it? Let's face it, when we set out on a road trip, we plug ourselves into a SatNav device to tell us where we are going and how to get there; rather than venture forth on instinct and prior knowledge alone.
We don't like the unknown very much, it can make us feel vulnerable and powerless if we're not careful. We believe we are more likely to make more “mistakes” and “wrong turns” being led by our wits; but therein lies the beautiful opportunity for exploration and discovery. A great many inventions and medicinal cures were found in error; a happy accident resulting from some other, unrelated research or trial. So why not embrace this theory for our own lives and just live it, mistakes and wrong turns and all?
I read an article recently by Mark Nepo, in which he likened us to “...a breathing puzzle, a living bag of pieces, and each day shows us what a piece or two is for, where it might go, how it might fit. Over time, a picture starts to emerge by which we begin to understand our place in the world”
We may all have an image in our mind's eye of how we want our life to eventually look, like the picture on the front of a jigsaw puzzle box, but how much enjoyment would be gleaned from completing the puzzle, if every jigsaw piece was numbered? By numbering the jigsaw pieces, our only task in this life would be to mechanically place all the pieces together, in accordance with some preordained set of instructions. That's not living! That's not having a human experience. The sense of enjoyment and achievement comes from having worked out where everything goes, and learning how everything fits together, in the image of our choosing. And if we tire of this picture, we can simply start again by manifesting a new one; because we can.
So for the impatient likes of me (who has been known to try and make jigsaw pieces fit), we must learn that life is a process not an event, and to allow it to unfold as it should. We must embrace the challenge of creating our lives unnumbered piece by unnumbered piece, by trial and error; and perhaps revelling in the happy accidents of discovery, rather than trying to avoid them. Who knows what we may see, who we might meet and where we might discover, by falling off the beaten track and onto the road less travelled?
At the end of the day, the simplest and most effective way to inner peace is to live in the moment, to trust, and let the future take care of itself. If a piece doesn't fit or belong in your picture at this precise moment of your life, you must keep looking for the piece that will – and trust the other piece will belong somewhere eventually.
Until today's pieces fit into place as they should, this day will remain unknown to you until it is lived.