“The two hardest tests on the spiritual road are the patience to wait for the right moment and the courage not to be disappointed with what we encounter.”
Paulo Coelho, Veronika Decides to Die

I realise that writing on a topic so well-thumbed as Patience is unlikely to get much traction, but then again, that’s not why I write these blogs.

I write to unearth or rediscover (and then share…) something that’s lingering in my subconscious.

It would be fair to say that I’ve never had much patience.

But then again, patience isn’t something you own, is it?

You either have it — as my dad does — or you don’t. 

I did posit the question on Twitter whether patience could be taught (or was a learned skill) and I got a mixed response. It wasn’t that there opposing or contradictory views, it was more a case of waiting patiently for patience to arrive or creating circumstances where through failure, patience would seep into our pores and become part of our psyche. 

For the record, I think patience finds you, rather than training it like a muscle — but I could be wrong.

Of late, I’ve begun to explore some of my decisions, particularly those relating to work. Once again (and it’s no surprise to me), patience has reared its gnarly head. 

“If only…I hadn’t been so hasty.”

One job after another came and went. In the main, it was because of my expectations about what work should offer us. If only I’d been more patient with my circumstances, I wouldn’t have jumped from one gloriously-appealing frying pan to another sorrowful, muted fire. 

To be more precise, I’d have explored my love/hate relationship with private practice (law) and why I couldn’t make sense of an environment that was intent on squeezing the life force out of its incumbents, even those who seemed better disposed than I to withstand the political shenanigans. 

But it’s not just work.

It’s my whole damn life!

I was on a mission to get somewhere. Where, I didn’t know. 

But I was going somewhere, or so I thought. 

I was so impatient. Sure, I’ve mellowed over the years, but it’s taken its toll on my body, my mind and, most of all, my spirit.

I can now see that if I’d been able to lay to rest the incessant need — often overwhelming at times to get on — and instead look inwards at a) the anger that was driving me on and b) the question that I was trying to answer — i.e. “Why am I here?” — then perhaps I might have settled into a less peripatetic life.

But of course, hindsight is a wonderful thing.

And now?

I don’t know; and I’m aware I keep saying that in my writing but I’m sincere in admitting to no longer having an answer to so many of my past failings or even the small number of triumphs — if you can call them that.

Instead, I’m beginning to understand the importance of living in the questions:

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart…” — Rilke

I know what that means for my over-anxious, and often unsettled mind: I may not get done all the things I’ve promised myself; but it’s far better to understand why I’m doing what I’m doing than rush from one thing to another in the hope of discovering some secret sauce of life. This also chimes with the need to simplify all aspects of my life: downsizing, minimising, doing less and keeping myself to myself are all part of the axis of bathing my subconscious in patience.

I will, I’m sure, return to this subject and write further on the practical aspects of how patience has come upon me. I’m particularly interested to explore walking, nature and writing in ink. 

Anyhow, let’s hope that I don’t get impatient with trying to be more patient!

Blessings and deep bows.

Photo by Noah Silliman on Unsplash