The Art of Building Patience

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The art of patience is something I’ve always struggled with…

I can remember as a child looking forward to things with so much passion that my immediate world would practically dissolve. Whether it was a ski trip, Christmas, or the visit of a friend I hadn’t seen for months — I would build the experience I was going to have from the ground up.

And now as an adult, sometimes it’s still easy to get wrapped up in the future.

“Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans,” wrote Allen Saunders in the Reader’s Digest long ago.

I know this to be true in every sense of the word.

Prime example: I’ve always dreamed of spending my life with an amazing being. I have met a few that have spun my world on its axis, but the pieces haven’t fallen together as I had wished.

Life’s journey took me in one direction and my relationships in another. For five years, I spent my life with a best friend and partner, but we were both pulled to live in different countries, our destinies not lining up as we thought they would.

For months, I found myself so very lost. Wondering whether I had made the right decision. In my world was a new job, my family that needed my support, and a hope that everything would turn out alright.

“You have to believe that things happen for a reason,” my friend Rob told me a few days ago over breakfast.

A few days later, he sent me this quote:

“I have always been fascinated by the law of reversed effort. Sometimes I call it ‘the backwards law.’ When you try to stay on the surface of the water, you sink; but when you try to sink, you float…Insecurity is the result of trying to be secure…contrariwise, salvation and sanity consist in the most radical recognition that we have no way of saving ourselves.”
– Alan Watts from the The Wisdom of Insecurity

I read Watts’ words and thought about the countless hours I spent swimming in pools, lakes, and oceans as a child. I’d try so hard to stay on the water’s surface, and inevitably I’d sink like a rock. Or I would try to sink down deep with all my might, yet this only lead me to float.

Like many people on this planet, I usually seek results. I try with all my might to make things happen in my own timing. However — and this is one humongous HOWEVER — I’m certain I have to let go. Be patient. To be where I am right now and be so very satisfied.

This doesn’t mean sitting around and letting life knock me down left and right. Rather, I do my very best at the task at hand or enjoy the bliss of a single moment.

Whether we realize it or not, life is falling into place as it should. The art of patience and letting go (when practiced) provide the perfect soil for things to fall into place.

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” — John Quincy Adams

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