I have this great relationship in my life. It’s with a rock.
No, seriously. It’s a little quartz bit that is shaped to a point and it hangs from a chain. It’s a pendulum, and it is changing my life with all sorts of insights. Today it told me that “What’s going on” with me emotionally is that I am struggling with perseverance and patience. And that clashes with someone else’s challenge to cope with my “Drive to Win”.
If you know me, even a little bit, you understand this post fully right now. I could basically stop typing and you could surmise the rest based on the juxtaposition of Patience and Drive to Win. Because they struggle internally, but apparently that struggle is now coming out, and potentially driving away others whom I don’t wish to repel. So …
I approached my day with as much patience and perseverance as I could muster. And this day definitely took some of each. I needed to call the housing authority that subsidizes my rent, because I felt they had made an error in figuring my new rent amount after the approval of my accommodation request due to disability. I talked to two people, and then they put in a request for the person that I spoke with on Friday and Monday to call me. I suggested he may know more about my case, considering we had discussed it twice already. He called me back, walked me through the same response I had gotten earlier, and then I patiently thanked him for his time, while still feeling a mistake was made.
But I didn’t let my Drive to Win intervene. I let it go and hung up the phone. Fifteen minutes later, I received another call. I was correct. Anthony, who had been looking at my case repeatedly, noticed that I had not been given the utility amount for a two bedroom, and the change lowers my rent and increases my subsidy.
There was a woman in line at the market earlier who could have driven me nuts. She was very scattered and also chatty and I could have thought, “If she would shut up and focus I would get my coffee and tomato and get home much faster.” But I reminded myself that patience was an important focus for me right now, and instead I said to myself, “Isn’t she adorable. I’m probably like that when my brain fog kicks in and I’m in public. Good thing I usually have Luke along to do the things for me when I get all scattered. I wonder if I pull it off as adorable?”
And that response made my day go an entirely different direction.
I left the store feeling peaceful and entertained and a bit joyful. I’m pretty sure I was smiling. I laughed aloud at a text Adam sent and people looked at me like I was strange. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. And that was just a trip to the market.
I also went to the pharmacy. I said I needed to know if I could go without one of my medications, since permission to refill hadn’t come in. The tech forgot to ask the pharmacist. I gently reminded her and she called him over. He gave me three days worth of pills and told me to get in touch with my neurologist to get a new script in as soon as I could. He didn’t want me experiencing symptoms. Perseverance and patience win again!
A little later today, an old partner, whom I used to help with work tasks he didn’t have the capacity to perform–like typing things and using big words, for instance–called and asked me how to get “a blank page to type on” to come up on his laptop.
Breathe. Breathe. Patience, Christy.
This one took a lot of extra patience and perseverance.
He finally found “Office” on his desktop and then “Word” inside that. And a happy cheer came from the phone as he found that blank page. I congratulated him and then politely ended the conversation.
Minutes later, he called again. “Could I bother you for a minute?”
“What is it that you need?”
“Well, you can figure this out and get this printed. I can’t figure all this stuff out. You can do this in a minute. Can’t I just come up and you can do it up there?”
Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Patience, Christy. More patience, Christy.
“You just need to click the little print symbol, or go to “File” and then click “Print”, so I think you can handle it.”
“You’re better at this stuff. I don’t know how this stuff works. Why don’t I just bring it up there?”
“My printer isn’t connected to my Chromebook yet, so you will have to wait for me to transfer it to my tablet and print from there,” I said, hoping to deter him from utilizing my skill to do his job.
“Well come down here and use my printer then.”
“No. I don’t want to come down there.” Breathe. Breathe.
“Okay. I’ll be up in a minute.”
Breathe. Breathe. Plug in the computer. Move the desk away from the window. Prepare to do the task with haste and grace and then go forward with your life.
As soon as he arrived I texted another man and asked him to call in a few minutes time to give me an excuse to shove out this one. But he was with a client. I said I would make another excuse, but maybe he should call when he was done working, just to be certain I was freed from these clutches. He said that wouldn’t be until 8. I’m not that patient. I would have to deal with this situation on my own.
But, frankly, the texts to the other man were part of dealing with the situation. The jealousy meter on the ex-partner went up to “fuck this bitch, I’m outta here” with my second coy smile and giggle at the arrival of a text. And we weren’t talking about anything to be coy or giggling about, but I knew that the fact that someone else had my adoration and attention would frustrate him. It’s a terrible way to play with a person’s emotion to get the outcome I want. I can admit that without hesitation. But I don’t really have any shame over it, because I have been used for his outcomes time and again, without even a thought about my care or concern at all. And I was being used by him at this present moment. He had a task that he didn’t want to try to accomplish on his own, so he bullied his way into getting me to do it for him. So, I fought back with my text game, and it worked. I was patient enough to complete the task that he needed me to complete–simply typing out some names and addresses, and then he went on his way.
Now I am impatiently wondering if I will still get a call from my other friend after he finishes work. Which is probably the worst impatience I could have, because he is one who cannot stomach my Drive to Win, and I cannot be impatient with him. So, all of this patience today and all of my persevering is for naught if I cannot hold onto it for the long-term.
The long-term is kind of how patience works though, right? Playing the long game. Waiting for the right moment. Anticipating the needs of others. Being able to stop demanding instant gratification.
I fail at those things a lot just because I am super open and available as a person. I say what I feel. I put things out there. And I am accustomed to being around people who are comfortable with that.
I suppose I have always known that there are people who are not comfortable with that. But those people simply were not my friends. They were outside the circle where I spend most of my time living. And the thought that the shy, quiet, slow-moving, considering deeply, and taking their time to decide people should have space in my circle, and that I needed to make a space for them wasn’t one that concerned me much until now.
He isn’t a bore. He isn’t a nerdy, weird, unsocialized guy. He just has lots of layers of stuff. It takes time and energy to get beyond the surface. And there are nights when I want to break it open and get in there and figure it out and know it–whatever is down inside there. That isn’t how he works, though, so trying to do that won’t work. Only Patience and Perseverance and letting go of my Drive to Win will work. The only way to know what is beyond the surface is to wait and watch and be present and let things slowly unfold.
I don’t need to be different to do that. I just need to see differently to do that. I just need to interact differently to do that. That doesn’t change who I am or how I am, at my core. It just opens me up to a possibility that I hadn’t taken the time to make available before. It gives me an opportunity to learn a way of interacting that is foreign, but may have beautiful results.
So, my rock told me today that I have to focus my attention on patience and perseverance and not my drive to win. And it is proving to be an excellent guide.
It is a guide. And that is what I call it. Before I use it I have a mini incantation that I say, basically ending in “my guiding stone you shall be”. It helps me find the way when I don’t really know which direction I need to point myself.
There are days when you wake up feeling strong and ready and full and you just go. You know where to go and how to go and you do life. And there are days that you need a little guidance. Today my guidance came from a little bit of quartz. It is a really smart bit of quartz, I think. It gave me excellent advice.
I’ll keep working on Perseverance and Patience. I’ll keep trying to let go of my Drive to Win. If the Divine is offering me guidance that says these changes will serve me well, I believe that it is true. And I do believe that my bit of quartz is one way the Divine speaks. That seems foreign to many, I am sure. But seeing is believing, in many cases, and I have seen over and over that this little pendulum tells me the truest of things and the best of things. I’ve grown to trust it over time. And I guess that is what it is asking of me now–to grow to trust people over time, if time is what it takes for them to let down all of their walls and let others see them truly.
I think I can do that. It won’t be the easiest journey upon which I have embarked, but it might be a great one.
Operation Patience, here I come … or wait, I suppose.