Ramblings on Patience

Patience: A minor form of despair, disguised as virtue.
— Ambrose Bierce 
Samson is, without a doubt, one of the greatest aids on my path to forbearance. 

Samson is, without a doubt, one of the greatest aids on my path to forbearance. 

Our theme this month is patience. It stands on its own, but I’ve realized that it shares connections with and similarities to those we’ve already considered: Courage and perseverance.*

A professor once asked the class about fear and bravery. I can’t remember her exact words, but I responded: One cannot have courage or bravery without fear or uncertainty. In a similar vein, one cannot have patience without something getting one’s goat. There must be a stressor: A moment or period of despair through or by which we can practice our forbearance, accept the issue--resolve it when we can--, and, ideally, forego complaint throughout the process. 

Furthermore, patience is in part the postponing of instant gratification, which my generation and those after me esteem so highly, and understandably so. It’s tough submitting something and waiting for the results. (“Did you grade my paper,” says the student five minutes after turning it in.) It’s terrifying making a mistake and knowing that the ramifications are coming. But I can decide to accept those results when they appear and limit the amount of stress I feel about them in the meantime. Or at least I hope to be able to. 

I have found myself becoming a little more irritable over the years. Especially at the Paris airport, CDG: I'm automatically at an 8+ on the scale. Wolverine claws are out and venom's on the tongue. (It’s not yet time for me to enter my curmudgeon stage of life!) I’m also a person who frets and overthinks my words and actions. Worrying can be good. Without it, I’d not care much about myself, my responsibilities, the performance of the business, etc. But excessive worrying about things I can’t presently help is counterproductive, and it's that type that often occupies my mind. I get worked up, but I know it doesn’t serve me in the long run. I’d prefer to worry, take action or accept that I can't, and move on. (Or to worry, know I’ll take action, and fall back asleep.)  It’s so easy for me to say, much harder for me to practice. 

Yes, I need to work on my patience, external and internal. It is with this mindset that I will set out to accept more easily things that are out of my control and deal correctly with the things that are in it. I plan to take time to meditate, to breathe, to consider as objectively as possible the problems, issues, people, etc. that come my way… To deal with them patiently and most effectively, knowing that there may not be an immediate or perfect solution.

(Samson, yes. And Seamus, too!)

(Samson, yes. And Seamus, too!)

This is the lesson I want to learn this month. It’s a lesson I’ve not done terribly well with. But I’m ready to take it on.

Be patient with us as we explore patience this month. 

Me, patiently waiting for Matt to take a picture. 

Me, patiently waiting for Matt to take a picture. 

 

 

 

 *Matt and I are taking a week to get back on track: We’re going sans booze, drinking a gallon of water a day, eating healthier, and meditating daily. You can read a bit about my thoughts on patience and perseverance in a forthcoming blog post. Please check back!