Monday, September 26, 2011

Patience: It's more than just waiting around

I used to think that being patient meant twiddling my thumbs, waiting for someone else or something else to catch up with where I was. "Be patient" was code for "Settle down!" "Take a chill pill!" "Relax, already!" It was the hard fact that Santa wouldn't come until after I went to sleep, that boys wouldn't understand me until some distant time after high school, and that potty training my child wouldn't happen overnight.

Unfortunately, that definition of patience was really only thinly disguised impatience!

As it has many times over, the teachings from the Sweet Medicine SunDance path have given me something more substantial to work with:

"Patience teaches the people tolerance. Patience is caring for all the little things that matter so that a larger thing is served."

That's what I wrote in my notes at a talk ThunderStrikes once gave on the topic of the 20 Great Teachers (Patience is the 20th Teacher). That's very different than how I'd been thinking about patience! It's much less about trying to control myself, and more about creating that which I truly desire.

In other words, it's working with the progressive steps toward potty training, not just wishing for the day it will be done. It's the fact that the promise of any holiday is much more possible when I bring my best (rested) self to the day. It's learning to understand myself so that I can more honestly and fully be understood by others.

Most importantly, patience isn't about holding myself back. It's about being so clear and dedicated to my vision that I'll do what it takes to make it happen. For a go getter like me, that's an understanding of patience that works.