April 12, 2023
Moving From Patience to Acceptance
It is said that patience is a virtue. By this we mean that impatience and impulsivity are things we must overcome in our journey toward emotional maturity. As children we want it all now. Yesterday even! We wind ourselves up and become anxious, we push the river, we demand! We want and we create angst in that wanting. Maturity comes in recognizing that there is a divine timing to all things. For us to get what we want, the universe has to do a lot of shuffling and reshuffling of the deck. And then, when and if the moment is right, everything lines up and it is time!
In the Andean Healing Arts we learn that we have 6 human capacities. Each one is associated with a ñawi, or energetic eye, planted along the length of our spines. One of our human capacities is called atiy. Atiy is right timing. It is the capacity of our siki ñawi, the perceptual lens located on our back at the very base of our spine. The siki ñawi faces directly into the fan of possibilities that make up our future. The capacity of atiy is knowing which timelines to lean into, when it is time to act, and when it is time to wait. Think of a jaguar who knows just when to pounce to effectively catch her prey. It is something we must refine and hone if we want to use it with precision and grace.
We recognize in this tradition that because we all have free will the future is forever changing and therefore uncertain, or probabilistic. Our siki ñawi faces this array of future possibilities. Each choice we make reroutes the siki ñawi’s internal GPS system as it tracks the future for timelines. The same thing is happening in everyone else; we all have free will and we are all connected to this tangle of futures. So to find a timeline into our future that has our wanted result takes patience. It has to line up with the consequences of other people’s free will and the choices they make too. Much like a surfer who sits on their board waiting for a set of waves to come in we must be patient. When all the right circumstances converge and the waves finally arrive we can then pop up on our boards, position ourselves to catch the sweet spot of the wave, and ride it through to completion. If we start too early the waves will pummel us, if we start too late we won’t get underneath the momentum of the wave and we’ll lag behind it. So atiy, or right timing, is honing that sense of when exactly the right time to act is and knowing when it isn’t. It is also sensing which waves have the power to ride out and which ones do not. In this sense patience is a virtue.
There is a dark side to patience however. Part of patience is waiting. Implicit in the waiting is expectation. If we are expecting a specific outcome and are patiently waiting for it to happen we put ourselves in a precarious position. In human dynamics, especially, expecting something from someone else and waiting for it, patiently, can have a rash of negative downstream consequences. Waiting for a specific outcome that is not very probable can end up being an act of self negation as we forgo other more probable outcomes in favor of an unlikely one. We may think that if we are strong enough and can wait long enough we will have our way. But this is an endurance game, built on our need to control a specific outcome. If we are enduring significant abuse in a relationship, for example, and are waiting for them to come around and start loving themselves enough to treat us with respect, our patience slips into enabling and even avoidance of making a healthier decision. In this sense patience is not a virtue.
Expectations often lead to suffering. In expecting something we can feel disillusioned and let down when the expectations are not met. The downside of patience is that we can hang on indefinitely overlooking and enduring abusive behavior based on the expectation that they will change. If we just wait long enough, we tell ourselves, and are strong enough, we will be rewarded. In this process of waiting, however, we are undermining our self worth by enduring the bad behavior. What if they don’t want to change? What if that wave where they do change is crashing on the shores of Australia while we are sitting on our board in the US of A? Do we just continue to sit there and have patience? Or do we realize that all the divine timing in the world is not going to bring that wave onto our shores in this lifetime? Sometimes patience becomes an exercise in futility, misery, and self sacrifice as we throw away our lives waiting for this unlikely happening. And sometimes we hide behind forgiveness and the virtue part of patience so we do not have to face making a healthier choice. When is it time to throw in the towel on patience, face reality, and reroute that GPS!?
Atiy is having that visceral sense of which timelines have momentum and which do not, of which waves are within our reach and which are not. It takes a deep sense of self respect and inner knowing, or kanay, to honestly face the field of probability without the bias of our emotional want. We have to ask ourselves what is behind this wanting? Is it healthy? Why is it so loud and persistent? And what is the cost to our self esteem to be in wait? Atiy is also knowing when it is time to reevaluate and look for other healthier waves breaking within our reach. We can certainly intend for that specific wave to meet our shore. But there is a time when patience fades into acceptance, and acceptance becomes the virtue.
© Christina Allen, All Rights Reseverd