Watering the Patience Seed

October 11, 2015

While waiting for the elevator to get my haircut I noticed something interesting.

Just moments before, I dashed hurriedly into the lobby rushing past people and things to the elevator bank.

I was in a hurry. I was running a little late.

Of course, the elevator was not available when I arrived. I pushed the up button and waited.

And waited….

And waited….

I was only going up ONE flight, and I could not find the stairs.

I did that thing some of us do - “push the already lit UP button” thinking I may persuade it to come more quickly.

I nervously strum my fingers. I grabbed my phone and looked for something to hold my interest on Facebook.

Still. No elevator. The woman waiting with me was just as anxious, pushing both the up and down buttons repeatedly and pacing back and forth.

I noticed the pace of my breath, the quick beat of my heart and the parading thoughts in my mind.

“I’m late. This is going to mess up my afternoon. I’m going to be late for my 2:00 call, then late for picking up the kids. I need help; I can’t balance all of these responsibilities. Did I pay the parking meter? I don’t have time for this. What is wrong with this woman next to me? Why is she so anxious? Why are the stairs blocked off? That’s unsafe! What if there was a fire?” blah…blah…blah…

Mind you, that was all happening in my MIND in about 15 seconds.

As I sat there tapping my anxious toes, it hit me.

I had a choice.

I took a mental pause and then began to slow my breathing down. I invited one deep slow breath in and felt my breath exit my body. I took another and another.

Soon my heartbeat slowed, as did my mind.

It was only a few short moments before I calmed down and relaxed into the moment. The elevator finally arrived and carried me to my appointment on the second floor.

It was one of those simply profound everyday moments that bring me back to myself again and again.

Patience is a parenting muscle I need to strengthen over and over. It is moments like these that I can choose to practice building that skill with some awareness, attention, and just a few short breaths. It’s moments like this that remind me what life is all about.

When I reflect back I can see how much I missed  on my way to the elevator, the warm October breeze (an unexpected treat in Chicago!), the incredible skyscrapers I live amongst, the beautiful flowers in the lobby, and even the woman with me in the elevator lobby. I cannot even describe what she looked like, the color of her hair or what she was wearing.

My wandering mind had robbed me of so much in those moments.

I also thought back to my family and how many moments look just like that, the moments when I am too busy doing and not noticing my kids or partner or the simple pleasure of being together.

In that moment not only did I learn once again about patience, a skill much needed for me as a parent, I was reminded to slow down, take pause and be present to all of life.

It’s amazing what can happen while simply waiting for an elevator.

Annmarie Chereso
Founder, BringIt! Home

Here is one thing I know for sure. Practice does not make us perfect.But it certainly helps to smooth out the rough edges. The most important lesson I have learned in my crazy mixed up life is that practice is all there is and I am devoted to it. And I’d like to share it with you.

Let’s face it, life can feel out of control and crazy much of the time. My life is no exception. As a single working mother of three children, I have come to realize that my personal peace and emotional well being are the key for being a good parent, a good friend, a good partner and coach and for leading my happiest, most fulfilling and emotionally satisfying life.  My 22-year practice of yoga, meditation, and mindfulness has taught me how to be present, conscious and aware of how to cultivate this personal well being.

I have been fortunate to study with many of the great wellness leaders of our time. In addition to being a certified Martha Beck life coach, I received my training and certification to teach mindfulness through Mindful Schools and the Mindful Education Institute.  I have had the honor and privilege to study under inspiring leaders in the field of Contemplative Practices such as Jack Kornfield, Susan Kaiser Greenland, Linda Lantieri, Daniel Rechstaffen and many other pioneers in the field of mindfulness and education.  

I have been trained by prestigious mindfulness industry leaders including John Kabat Zinn, Professor of Medicine Emeritus and founding director of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

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