Island Time

"If you can wait with joy there will not be much need to wait for long, if you cannot wait with joy you may have to wait for many lives — because the divine can happen to you only when your waiting is ecstatic, filled with joy" ~ Osho
 
 
This is the most recent life lesson I've learned living in Belize. One cannot maintain their sanity here without patience. Fortunately I've always had plenty of this valuable virtue and have lovingly been referred to all my life as "The Jamaican" by friends and family. The real lesson I've learned however is to "wait with joy". I am good at waiting and letting go of control but the trick is mastering the art of being ecstatic while I'm waiting months for an important package to arrive or (ahem) three hours in the treasury office today! That's where I've had to work on my Zen mindset.
There are so many things to wait for here... documents, licenses and permits (if you plan on working or driving), mail, visits from friends and family; we must wait not only for government offices but retail shops as well to open again after their lunch-time siesta, leisurely staff can be found everywhere and please let's not talk about the internet. I'm currently working at about half my regular productivity level due to very slow internet here but I'm learning to "wait with joy" while the little blue circle spins around and around.
Ah yes, I am experiencing the process of "slowing down"...  So, why is it that some can survive this process and some cannot? In my short time here I've seen new expats come and go due to their inability to adapt to island time. The secret is in your perception; it's all perception baby! Initially I allowed myself to fall into the "I'll be happy when..." trap and was very anxious to get settled here and felt like I wouldn't relax until all the details were sorted. I now realize that it will be a very long time before all my ducks are in a neat row here. 
I am also realizing the meaning of the above quote. If I tune myself into the feeling of being settled even though there may still be business that needs to be sorted, I will take myself out of that place of discomfort that is impatience. There will always be things in life to wait for but if I waste my time jumping ahead and feeling unsettled until they happen, I will spend my entire life in limbo. At the same time simply tuning out and waiting patiently means that I am losing precious time as well. The only way to wait is happily... I may not be able to get my browser to load a page in under 30 seconds but if I align myself with joy and ecstasy during those 30 seconds it will not feel as though I've been waiting at all. 
No one knows more than a single, working mother just how valuable time is but if you can find your happy place you will find yourself shrugging off long lines, slow internet and never ending red tape. Even in this world of urgency I am now able to catch myself appreciating those extra moments we call life.
 
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