It’s beautiful up here on a quiet pond in Maine. My twin sister and I have organized a wonderful week for family and friends at a lakeside cabin on North Lake in Norway, Maine. Each summer we enjoy getting everyone together to laugh and play by the water either on the West or East coast. This time we are in western Maine filled with endless waterways and kayaks. So as Diane and I carefully step into the bright orange kayaks early this morning it occurred to me that I’m not sure I’ve ever taken a single kayak out myself. “Have you ever done this before?” I ask my twin. “No, I don’t think so” she responds – but we figure it can’t be hard and it wasn’t.
We paddle slowly but sometimes bump into each other kayaks because we’re still getting the rhythm of the stroking down. I practice doing slow donuts so I can go backwards and forward as needed. So with a bit of effort, we get going down the shoreline toward the distant mountains. I ask her, as a family psychotherapist, what would be the personal or professional lesson that we could learn from this quiet experience of kayaking in Maine. Diane doesn’t hesitate “Patience” she says . . . “you’re not going anywhere too fast and that feels wonderful”.
We don’t get many times to practice patience in this way. Smooth and steady and we’ll get there just fine. I loved seeing the lily pads with flowers in the “secret cove”. And then a slow donut turn and we’re headed back to our cabin, breakfast and sleeping teenagers. How else can we practice patience? Here’s one more way . . . being the last person to watch the bonfire die down at the end of the evening. Just chatting and watching the flames become embers and the ash. Now that takes patience.