July 12

PATIENCE MONTH: DAY 12: “Patience is an inner pause, a brief stillness, a moment we give ourselves to breathe through our initial reaction, so we can move to the place where a calm, thoughtful response is born. Patience is a gift of time we give ourselves, so we can give the gift of peace to others.” ― L.R. Knost

This is the ultimate goal for me. Peaceful pauses. I am a reactionary. I shared this story yesterday with a friend, so will write about it today. It is the perfect story for patience.

I learned about seaglass a couple of years before I moved to my current city of residence. I found an unbelievable stash of glass someone had dumped on the beach and thought it would always be like that. Hahaha…but it taught me a great deal more about mindfulness and patience and being still with nature. I also spent many hours during a difficult time in my life walking on the beach alone for miles every day for several years. I learned to breathe with the waves and calm myself and work through all the anxiety that had been with me for much of my life.

One day, out on the beach before the sun was fully up, I was walking along and there was not another person anywhere. A huge ray washed up on the sand right at my feet. It astonished me! It was at least 2 feet across and right there!  Because it washed up too far on the sand, it began to flop around on the sand.

In my usual reactive fashion, I began to panic about how to get it back into the water without being stung. Thank goodness I had that much mindfulness at work…I have done stupider things in the moment, without thinking! So, I looked around everywhere, truly frantic to get this stunning creature back into the water. I had nothing with me that would suffice, and the ray was flopping like crazy, which hurt my heart, I knew it was suffering without water.

This went on, and I got more and more panicked about the poor ray. After maybe 5-7 minutes, which can seem like an eternity in situations like this, another big wave came and picked him up and took him back out to his home in the sea. Wow!

Still, no one on the beach. I could not believe this had all happened right at my feet and all I could do was to watch it. I thought about this event all day. It was a powerful experience! And later on, I was with a therapist I saw only a few times and told her the story. Being a Jungian, I asked her what she thought this ray had come to teach me. I truly believe everything that happens in such a powerful way is a great lesson.

And she laughed, having sat with me for a short time, she already knew my penchant for being reactive to helping others and my “issues.” And she looked at me right in the face and said, “you know, it is perfectly clear to me. This was a great message for you. Do you know what I think it is? I think it is telling you to WAIT FOR THE NEXT WAVE.”

OMG! I laughed and laughed. There is no Pause button on me! And I always react instantly to life. It is a good trait in an emergency, but I view all of life as an emergency. It is my default setting. She had been trying to teach me to take a step back and not respond to everything right away. I am pretty sure she arranged this whole thing for that purpose…hahaha.

I have worked to remember this incident and the message of the ray. I was given a small metal sculpture of a ray, so I keep it where I can see it often. A reminder to wait for the next wave. All of nature comes complete with its own solutions. I spent so much of my life living in a virtual battleground that I react to life like it IS an emergency. That is no longer appropriate, but it IS my default setting. Learning to practice breathing and waiting for a small space before I respond is a challenge, but one I continue to work at. I love this stuff!

Published by: Kelly

I am a therapist and counselor with long-term recovery from addictions and personal trauma. My writing reflects these experiences and the road I have traveled in 12-Step recovery settings, along with the work I have done for over 30 years in the field. My love of dolphins includes the stories of them being healers in places all over the world. I long to offer every broken spirit and body the experience of a healing hug. May my words and stories inform, uplift and delight your spirit and soothe your weary heart.

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