“The years.” How significant those two words. They reference a manner in which we score time. They are also an expanse that provides us space to assess and test ourselves.
This past Fall I took my mother on an Eastern Mediterranean cruise. We spent time in Rome both prior to and following beautiful seaborne excursions. While she is still amply able-bodied and of sharp mind, I wanted to share more time and experiences with her.
I also wanted to test my own patience.
As do most children, I love my mother. She is responsible for countless aspects of my grounding, my growth and my character. She also tests my patience. :)
Patience is the ability to tolerate waiting, delay or frustration without becoming agitated or upset. It is also the ability to control our emotions or impulses and proceed calmly when faced with challenges. It comes from the Latin word pati which means to suffer, to endure, to bear. Needless to say, patience does not come easily for many of us.
In today’s world of instant everything, technology, and a readily available universe, we can obtain, experience, and consume practically anything we want – almost immediately. Some wonder, do we even need to be patient anymore?
Time with my mother helped me to better understand and appreciate how we wait alongside and accept others. As a grown man, I needed to reassure myself that I possessed and embraced this capacity. “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” In the spirit of this quote, planning and measured growth take time and taking time takes patience.
Eknath Easwaran, a spiritual teacher and author once said, “Patience can’t be acquired overnight. It is just like building up a muscle. Every day you need to work on it.” It makes sense then that the more we can remain patient, the easier it gets. It’s a muscle we build over the years; a muscle I am still developing.
To those who acknowledge patience as a virtue, these three considerations may be worth your time and practice:
- Accept the reality of your humanity. You are going to need time, effort and energy to change and grow. There will be natural resistance to altering long-standing habitual ways of acting, reacting and believing. Simply give it time.
- Plan a day to make patience your goal for the entire day. Take your time and think about everything you do. At day’s end, reflect on all the ways you made conscious choices, got along better with others and actually understood what took place.
- Be patient with yourself. Keep this kindness reminder in mind when it comes to life. Things don’t always go as planned. You will do things you know you ought not have done. Don’t beat yourself up. Or give up.
Consider being a benefactor of patience.