There must have been a cosmic fire as I was coming into this world! As I was rushing through the life skills & preparation processing lines, I must have missed collecting one of the most important virtues for my lifetime swag bag. … the all elusive ability to be…wait for it…PATIENT! Ha! Who am I kidding, this Pitta, Aries Dragon in a classic show of impatience, probably pulled the damn fire alarm, to expedite my first peek into this world!
For those of you that know me, believe it or not…I have learned somewhat of a modicum of patience, and all the hours of asana, pranayama and meditation have helped. But with full disclosure, being patient is still one of my biggest challenges!
Carolena, one of my most dearest spiritual friends, whom I lovingly call “Big Light” invited me to the Spirit Rock meditation center for their Monday night dharma talk. Jack Kornfield, the founder of Spirit Rock, was going to be speaking.
After a 35 minute meditation, Jack informed us that he was going to talk about one of the 10 perfections of Buddhism. The universe must have known I would be attending since the evening’s topic was the 6th perfection – Khanti.
The Ten Perfections of Theravada Buddhism
PERFECTION OF GIVING (DANA)
PERFECTION OF MORALITY (SILA)
PERFECTION OF RENUNCIATION (NEKKHAMMA)
THE PERFECTION OF DISCERNING WISDOM (PANNA)
PERFECTION OF ENERGY (VIRYA)
PERFECTION OF PATIENCE (KHANTI)
PERFECTION OF TRUTHFULNESS
PERFECTION OF DETERMINATION (ADHITTHA
PERFECTION OF LOVING KINDNESS (METTA)
PERFECTION OF EQUANIMITY (UPEKKHA)
I am not going to discuss my aversion to the word “Perfect,” as that would be another post titled, “Imperfect Perfection.” However, I actually enjoyed Jack’s talk and all the witty quotes and excerpts from the great spiritual writers that have been patient enough to write about patience. I appreciated Jack’s soft sell on the positives of being patient, as a more esoterical, Buddha-esque philosophical presentation would have caused quite a commotion as 90% of the impatient attendees, rushing for the nearest exit, mowed over the 10% remaining calm bodhisattvas. Just 15 years ago, I would’ve graduated summa cum laude in the study of “No-Khanti.” No Khanti I wait any longer, No Khanti I accept No for an answer and No Khanti I accept my dreams and visions not manifesting. Jack’s gentle reminder to take the time to evaluate why we are impatient was a great reminder to be more vigilant, aware and conscious of my practice of patience.
Jack urged several times that all of us get off the “Doing” wheel and be quiet and still enough to “rest in the rhythms of our lives and our own true natures.” I agree with this advice wholeheartedly and have truly come a long way in learning and practicing patience. From the child that would kick and scream on the floor and have to be hosed down to the current adult who can sit and meditate for 35 minutes before an hour lecture…I have learned to appreciate the beauty of patience. Of course, my dancing rhythm resembles more of a hummingbird on crack than an ambling tortoise, and I’m totally okay with that. I have made great strides toward managing my speedy mind and body and learning how to downshift to a lower gear when it will serve me. I was not created with lower, slower speeds, but I have found my own speedy tempo of patience and it works just fine for me.
These are the 10 ways that have assisted me in becoming friends with patience:
1. Practicing Asana, Pranayama & Meditation
2. Being as present and aware as I can be
3. Reflecting on why I am being impatient and what is triggering it.
4. Trusting in the universe
5. Having no attachment to the outcome
6. Understanding it is truly the journey and not the destination
7. Loving and accepting myself just as I am
8. Remembering that I am not alone
9. Knowing I am imperfectly perfect, and there is nothing I need to do
except be my unique self
10. Let my Light Shine!
The dharma talk on patience brought me full circle, and I started to think about Aloha Inspiration. Janene and I launched Aloha Inspiration last October, and since then we have had the most amazing journey of spreading and inspiring ALOHA. The most profound lesson in creating and selling our line has been in the physical usage and daily wearing of our products, and thus being truly conscious models that walk the walk of ALOHA!
Our very first creation was the ALOHA card and the last “A” in the acronym is Ahonui (patience). Applying Ahonui toward the creation, production, marketing and selling of our products and advancing our mission of spreading and Inspiring ALOHA has been my biggest challenge. My great visions of Aloha Inspiration being the next ALOHA spiritual gangster fashion icon, spiritually, consciously and subconsciously, affecting an energy of true ALOHA throughout the universe has been more on the track of a go kart race than the Indy 500.
Business has not been at my usual warped speed, but slowly but surely, tee shirt by tee shirt, we are spreading our message of ALOHA globally with great Ahonui (patience) and Haʻahaʻa (humility). The biggest universal sign, confirming we are walking the walk, came 6 weeks ago, when Maki, a hula sister of ours, placed an incredibly large order on our online store website.
Maki, her husband James, two sons, six crew members and one teacher embarked on a sailing odyssey around the world last summer. Maki was not even on Oahu when Janene and I launched Aloha Inspiration. Maki sent a follow up e-mail that she was meeting so many new friends during her travels to Palma, Spain, Gibraltar, Antigua, St Kitts, Nevis, Bonaire, San Blas islands, Panama Canal, Panama City, Galápagos Islands, Marquesas, Tuamotu and was currently heading to French Polynesia.
Maki wrote, “I miss you all, hula sisters!! Hope all is well with you! I just ordered lots of Aloha Inspiration t-shirts and hats for friends and family!! I started the trip in Palma, Spain last December and crossed Atlantic ocean, Caribbean islands, Panama Canal, Galapagos and now in Marquesas. So beautiful here! I watched a girl’s dance practice and almost cried. Thinking of you… missing you so much…I have been meeting other boats and local girls! I always want to share Aloha when they share their heart with me.”
Maki’s next destinations will be to New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Madagascar, South Africa, cross to Caribbean then head back to Europe, Finland and Norway. She is the perfect ambassador
for Aloha Inspiration. She truly understands our mission and is literally spreading and inspiring ALOHA around the world.
After playing back to Janene all of Jack’s nuggets of wisdom and gracious reminder of Ahonui, she excitedly shared her day of practicing Ahonui. She had just gotten home after going to the DMV twice that morning to try and change her driver’s license but to no avail. She was turned away the first time for not having a bill showing proof of her new address, and the next for not having a bill with both her husband’s and her name on it. Janene said she just had to laugh at the entire DMV drama because she was wearing her ALOHA tee, and there was no way she could go off on the poor woman wearing her own creation that reminds people to be kind, unified, agreeable, humble and lastly PATIENT!
The most touching part of Jack’s talk was his reading of “The Garden” with Toad and Frog. Not having any children of my own, I was not familiar with the popular teaching stories of Arnold Lobel.
*ALERT! If you have reached your threshold for patience, I bid you a fond Aloha. But, if you still have a little time, I hope you enjoy this story as much as I do.
Jack closed with a quote by Pablo Neruda, “You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming”. He then announced that we would conclude with a short meditation. Immediately, 8 people were almost out the door before he ended his sentence. We all laughed, as Jack made a light joke of their example of impatience.
Frog was in his garden. Toad came by walking by. “What a fine garden you have, Frog.” he said. “Yes,” said Frog. “It is very nice, but it was hard work.” “I wish I had a garden,” said Toad. “Here are some flower seeds. Plant them in the ground,” said Frog, “and soon you have a garden.” “How soon?” asked Toad. “Quite soon,” said Frog.
Toad ran home. He planted the flower seeds. “Now seeds,” said Toad, “start growing.” Toad walked up and down a few times. The seeds did not start to grow. Toad put his head close to the ground and said loudly, “Now seeds, start growing!” Toad looked at the ground again. The seeds did not start to grow. Toad put his head very close to the ground and shouted, “NOW SEEDS, START GROWING!” Frog came running up the path. “What is all this noise?” he asked. “My seeds will not grow,” said Toad. “You are shouting too much,” said Frog. “These poor seeds are afraid to grow.” “My seeds are afraid to grow?” asked Toad. “Of course,” said Frog. “Leave them alone for a few days. Let the sun shine on them, let the rain fall on them. Soon your seeds will start to grow.”
That night Toad looked out his window. “Drat!” said Toad. “My seeds have not started to grow. They must be afraid of the dark.” Toad went out to his garden with some candles. “I will read the seeds a story,” said Toad. “Then they will not be afraid.” Toad read a long story to his seeds. All the next day Toad sang songs to his seeds. And all the next day Toad read poems to his seeds. And all the next day Toad played music for his seeds. Toad looked at the ground. The seeds still did not start to grow. “What shall I do?” cried Toad. “These must be the most frightened seeds in the whole world!” Then Toad felt very tired, and he fell asleep.
“Toad, Toad, wake up,” said Frog. “Look at your garden!” Toad looked at his garden. Little green plants were coming up out of the ground. “At last,” shouted Toad, “my seeds have stopped being afraid to grow!” “And now you will have a nice garden too,” said Frog. “Yes,” said Toad, “but you were right, Frog. It was very hard work.”