Dealing with all these changes
For Vipkid teachers this Pandemic in many ways started back in January now we have added civil unrest to the equation plus the seemingly never ending barrage of changes coming from Vipkid often without warning. These factors regardless of what our personal beliefs may be are somewhat exciting at first. Similar to fight or flight reaction, not to be confused with the good type of excitement.
After a bit we enter a phase where our body begins to adapt to all these changes and starts to heal. This is that stage where you probably started to increase your productivity. This is resistance and though it sounds like a great place to be this too begins to wear on us over time. We become irritable and frustrated.
After the many weeks we get worn down.
We experience it as boredom, tiredness, exhaustion. We experience it as ongoing burden, and can’t wait for it to be over. We lose patience, and want to do anything else but this.
That all makes sense. It’s also exactly why we have difficulty sticking to habit changes, to long-term deep commitments, to ongoing projects and long-running challenges.
It’s one thing when things are new, novel, exciting, fresh. It’s a completely different thing when things are boring, dull, tiring, burdensome.
What would it be like if we worked with these changes instead of resisting them?
What if I told you that you didn’t have to get tired of long term challenges?
What if we could develop the joy of patience?
Just a few possible benefits of shifting this:
We can endure long challenges.
We can shift habits long term, instead of dropping new habits after a couple of weeks.
We’ll have more patience for people who usually tire us out or get on our nerves.
We’ll be less drained by things that weigh on us or bother us over the long term.
We’ll have a greater capacity for endurance, fortitude and patience overall.
I’d say those are benefits worth working toward!
This is the time to practice, right when we’re feeling like not facing this difficulty.
So how do we do that?
Let’s first discuss why these kinds of situations try our patience, and then how to work with them during the current situation.
Why These Things Try Our Patience
Think about it, there’s nothing in most situations that we face that makes them inherently difficult or annoying. We create the difficulty.
Imagine you had to sit in a room with no devices, nothing to read, nothing to do. You would probably find this tedious, boring, tiresome. Why though? There’s nothing wrong with an empty room. It’s not worse than any other situation; except that we make it worse, by deciding that it’s not fun, not exciting, not interesting.
This is a decision. The experience of boredom, burden, difficulty, are all self inflicted.
The truth is that if we create the experience, we can change it. We have the power to not be bored, impatient, burdened, annoyed, frustrated.
To make this shift we have to let go of the thoughts we have about the situation, which are creating the difficult experience.
We create the narrative that it’s bad or good. We can let go of the narrative. We have power!!
Let go of the beliefs and narrative and thoughts about the situation, it’s not good or bad. It’s just life.
It’s a miracle to be alive, to witness the universe like this, to be interconnected to other living beings in so many ways; that it’s something to be grateful for. Or just experience the experience, without thoughts and narratives.
It’s up to us.
Let’s use this current crisis to practice patience.
Whenever you’re feeling restless, bored, tired of the situation, frustrated, unhappy, exhausted by it all … delight in the opportunity to practice!
Find the beauty in the practice.
Look at the situation around you, and ask, “Why is this frustrating or tiresome? Why don’t I like it?”
See what thoughts come up. “I just want it to be over. I just want some human contact. I just want to go to my favorite restaurant. I don’t like having to stay home.”
Notice that a lot of those thoughts are about what you want or don’t want. What you like or don’t like. This is about us getting our way, and we always want our way.
What would it be like to not need to get our way, but to love things just as they are?
Now I am not suggesting that teachers who have seen their bookings drop love the loss in income. Embrace the new challenge and the opportunity to grow and adapt.
I am not suggesting that you find joy in impending pay cuts, but rather see it as merely a part of the human experience. It’s just a moment in your life.
Look around, and see the beauty in this moment. See the incredible miracle of life and the world around us. Feel the connection to all other human beings, to all living beings, in everything you see.
Or just experience the moment without the thoughts. Just the sensations of this moment.
When you’re feeling frustration, it’s also an opportunity to experience the sensations of frustration, without judging them. What does it feel like in your body to feel frustration? Can you just experience that?
Over and over, the feelings will come up. We can just experience them, without judging. We can just experience this moment. We can see the beauty in this moment.
These are practices of patience. And with practice, we can increase our capacity.
Or we can practice frustration with not getting what we want.
The choice is ours!! What choice will you make today?