Impatience, meditation and page loading

One of the differences that daily meditation has made in my life is that I’m more patient.

Am I the soul of patience? Nope.

But I’m more patient than I used to be. I don’t finish other people’s sentences as often. (I still do it, but not as often.) I interrupt people less. (Or, later in the conversation, anyway.) I’m more deliberate about the things I say, even when emotions are running high.

An example of a time I’m not patient is when I’m online, waiting for a page to load. While recognizing the absurdity of this impatience—having to wait FOUR WHOLE SECONDS for information it used to take hours of research to uncover—I’m startled by its intensity. When results aren’t instant, I’m overcome with frustration. Neck tight, shoulders hunched. And when I get that page-not-available message, and have to hit Refresh? Rage. Cursing. Ranting.

When not ranting, I’ve been feeling bemused by all the energy that goes into resenting the time it takes for information to come to me, practically instantly but not fast enough, over the Web.

And it occurred to me: What if I used those moments of computer-generated waiting as breaks—all those breaks I mean to take while I’m working, but don’t get around to? For ergonomically healthy stretches? For perspective shifts? Meditation teachers advise using the ringing phone as a reminder to breathe—I never could do it, too worried about missing the call—here’s an adaptation that might work for me.

Now, this may be one of those great-sounding ideas that’s impossible to carry out. Electronic devices keep me hooked. But I like the thought of sidestepping frustration, while at the same time interrupting that powering-through habit, and the physical strain and boxed-in thinking that go with it.

Nothing too complicated, or I’ll forget. And I won’t ask myself not to feel impatient. Just, when my browser is loading…close my eyes and take a few slow breaths. When I see the page-not-available message…stand up, look away from the computer, stretch. (Say! I could hit Refresh and then do this! To save time! Ack!)

Can’t hurt to try. I’ll let you know how it goes.


  1. Janet, this post couldn’t have been more timely for me. I’m struggling along on a borrowed laptop (hate these tiny keyboards!) because my own computer suddenly took a notion to stop connecting to the Internet for no apparent reason. And this thing is slow as molasses. It doesn’t belong to me, so I can’t offload all the programs *I* don’t need, and frankly, I’m just grateful enough to be connected while I figure out what to do in the long term.

    I’ve started (when I remember) combining the chores I don’t like and avoid with waiting for pages to load. It’s not so big a deal to fold a few t-shirts while waiting for Google to load, typing in my search string, hitting enter, then hanging up some slacks…by the time I’ve navigated through the pages I want, the clean laundry is almost sorted.

    I like your idea, too. That looking away from the computer that we’re all *supposed* to be doing? Perfect opportunity, and great tip!

  2. Joan Price says:

    Janet, I had to smile at this post because in one of my books, The Anytime, Anywhere Exercise Book, I give several energizing exercises to do while you’re waiting for a website to load or a file to print!

    Just as one example, get out of your ergonomic chair and jog or march while you’re waiting — it will invigorate you for your mental tasks once you sit down again. Try it!

    Joan Price

    Author of The Anytime, Anywhere Exercise Book: 300+ quick and easy exercises you can do whenever you want! ( )

  3. Janet Bailey says:

    @Michelle – Sorting/ tidying during slow loading times sounds like some very healthy and productive multitasking. I’ll have to try that. Hope your computer starts behaving soon.

    @Joan – Marching in place to energize — excellent idea. I have your exercise book, and I’ll look in there for more ways to move.

  4. Sherri says:

    “FOUR WHOLE SECONDS” – I laughed when I read this. It feels like an eternity these days, doesn’t it? I spend those few seconds trying to figure out what to do. Should I do something else while I wait? It’s too short of a time to really start anything. I usually wind up muddling through that time awkwardly like a school girl trying to figure out something witty to say to fill her crush’s silence. I like your idea of using that time for meditation. I may give that a try, too.

  5. Janet Bailey says:

    @Sherri – Four seconds not only feels like an eternity, it’s an indignity! “Why are you making me wait like this???!” Sigh.

    Trying to fill her crush’s silence, funny.

    Breathing does help…

Leave a Reply