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If patience is a virtue, then my good god, I am one immoral woman. Whoo dog. Can’t wait for nothing. It’s not in my nature.

When I was about 5 years old, my Dad bought me my first bike. Your first bike is the kid equivalent to your first car, so like a boy racer getting his spoilers, I jazzed it up and had those neon spoke janglers on the wheels, long, colourful streamers hanging from the handlebars, a decent, comfortable seat (it was no banana seat, but respectable nonetheless), and for the first few months in my possession, it was (much to my chagrin) also equipped with loathsome training wheels.

All in all, the ride was pretty sweet, but the trainers? C’mon, they were cramping my style. I begged my Father to take off the damned wheels. The other girls on Bonavista Drive were riding circles around me on their “Lil’ Angels”, and besides, I hated the way the bike would lop from side to side as you inched along, never quite trusting that the wheels were going to catch your fall and save you for real. I just wanted to know how to ride. Frig the training bit. Dad refused to comply.

But see, I have this awesome little trick where I can be really annoying. Nag, nag, nag. Even at 5 I was a devil of a thing who just couldn’t be quieted. If I took a notion, that was the end of it, because I’d argue it until I was blue in the face. Who knows what my reasoning was for why I should be allowed to “just ride”, but I certainly knew how to present my case. “Cynthia, I swear to Jesus, if I take these things off, I’m NOT puttin’ them back on! You want them off, fine. But that’s it.”

Hurumph. Well. “I’ll show him!” I thought to myself. So the day after the dreaded wheels went by the wayside, I got straight to work. I set up a mini obstacle course in my backyard. I found a few pieces of plywood from under the patio, and set them up next to the house. That was my starting point. I would get my balance, and start wheeling until I could make it around the tree, around the garden and back to the plywood. I couldn’t tell you how many times I fell that day – especially at the garden, the real tricky part – but there was a fire lit under my arse, that’s for sure. I had to prove I could do it. Around, and around, and crashing and tumbling until finally, finally, I just got it, and away I went, sailing back to homebase.

Victory. I took a couple of extra spins just to be sure it wasn’t a fluke, and by golly, I had gotten it. “Hey Dad! Look what I did today!” I said with the smuggest, shit-eating-est grin ever, as I embarked down the driveway on a mere two wheels. “Well, I’ll be.” I remember going all around the town of Cornwall that night, dipping down through ditches, triumphantly picking up the most thrilling speed. Mission accomplished.

The older I get, the more apparent it becomes how influential those childhood experiences are on the rest of it all. The coping skills and attitudes exhibited in preschool, pretty well set the stage for the big stuff still to come, and while being persistent and determined have certainly served me well in some areas of adulthood, the severe lack of patience has been a struggle to say the least. It’s not always smooth sailing around the garden.

It’s one of those recurring themes. I’ll push to make it happen, perhaps even succeed, but more times than I’d like to recall, I’ll end up having to revert back and retrain because I’ve missed the substance in the subtleties, the nuances of the nitty gritty. Years ago in a yoga class, I was stoked when I could perform the headstand almost as soon as it was demonstrated. How cool is that, right? Wrong. Yeah, OK, I was going through the motions, standing on my head, but it was pointless because I ended up having this stupid pain in my neck because I didn’t take the time to properly train, and ended up backtracking, as per usual. The “slow learners” in my class were the truly victorious ones, because they had put in the hard work to get it right in the first place. Patience paid off.

And so I had an epiphany.

A friend introduced me to a new album by the local Maritime schweetheart, Joel Plaskett, and on one of his hit singles, he sings, “Good things come to those who wait….” How many times have I heard that phrase? Countless, I’m sure. But something about the way the stars were aligned that night, it struck a different chord in me, and I understood the concept of waiting in a whole new light.

“What is your goddamn hurry, CYD? Hmmm? Relaaaaxxxxx…”

Whoa Nelly. It’s a really great feeling to pull on the reigns a bit and get the old horse to slow down. Suddenly everything is a bit…slower?? Taking it all in, taking it as it comes, serving my time on the training wheels. It’s cool. It’s fine as wine, really. I’m happy to do it. I’ve spent a lot of time, rush, rush, rush, push, push, push, and to be honest, I don’t really think it’s carried me anywhere fast.

Pam, my yoga teacher, said the other night, “As yogis, you want to conserve your energy. Use the least amount of energy as possible when performing a pose. If you don’t have to turn your torso to align your leg, then don’t, because you’ll just have to turn it back. Don’t do it in the first place.” Coupling these words with my new rock and roll wisdom, and I’ve got a whole new vibe on things. Be constantly careful about where you spend your energy, and be vigilant with your patience. Rest assured it will all come together in time. That’s the real way to “just ride.”

July 2009
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