“Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.” ~William S. Burroughs
Patience can be a struggle.
I know this firsthand. My experience with impatience used to be confined to overusing the microwave or skipping to the end of a long novel.
Back then, when waiting at a traffic light for more than two minutes seemed like an eternity, I didn’t know that life would teach me several advanced lessons in patience.
Shortly after finishing my morning bike ride I started feeling queasy. I wondered what was happening, but tried to ignore the feeling. The queasiness was replaced with severe abdominal pain, and I had to be rushed to the hospital.
Waiting in the emergency room for hours while in deep physical pain was a first test of patience. I passed the test because I had no other option. I couldn’t wait to be told I had indigestion and to be sent back home.
When the ER doctor came into my tiny room and announced they would need to perform an appendectomy, I didn’t ask if I would be okay. Instead, I asked, “When will I heal? How long is it going to take?”
Smiling, the doctor answered, “Two weeks.” I panicked. I could not possibly be in bed for two weeks! But the two weeks turned into four, and by the fourth week, I had finally learned my first advanced lesson: to be humble.
My experience recovering from surgery taught me to slow down and to listen to my body, and once I allowed myself to relax, the healing happened.
A few years later, I was tested again, and this test would prove itself to be one of the hardest challenges in my life. I lost one of the people closest to me. This was someone who I thought would always be there for me.
Beyond devastated, I fell into a depression. It wasn’t an immobilizing depression, but it led me to a period of deep grief and sadness.
Weeks and months went by, but my negative feelings seemed to remain unchanged. Anxiety and fear crept in. I wanted to heal, but it wasn’t happening. The most pressing question in my head was, “When am I finally going to heal?”
People would tell me, “You’ll be fine,” or “This too shall pass.” I listened to them, acknowledged their good intentions, and understood the message they wanted to convey. And yet, healing still didn’t happen.
I was not able to heal until I was willing to be patient with myself and my emotions.
It was only when I let the feelings be and stopped putting a timeframe to my healing that I created the space my soul needed to receive the answer to my question: When will I heal?
The first answer I received is that in a universe in which everything is in divine order, things might not happen as quickly as we want them to happen.
The second answer is that, in order to heal, we need to take down the subconscious wall of anxiety built by our impatience. Once I took down this wall, grief lost its power over me.
When I became patient, I realized I was in control, and once I gained control, emotional and spiritual healing started to manifest.
Regardless of how fast I was healing, I wasn’t concerned about how quickly it happened. A Course in Miracles says, “Infinite patience produces immediate results.” The result I achieved by being patient was peace, and peace was automatic healing.
So, whether you’re trying to lose weight, take on exercise, learn a new skill at work, or adjust to a cross-country move, keep the word patience in your mind.
Allow yourself to be still, and remember that if you’re aligned with who you really are, all the pieces of the puzzle will fall into place at the right time.
Spend some time in silence, and listen to the voice of your intuition, which is the voice of your true self. Sometimes you won’t be able to hear that voice, so be patient. Trust that you will receive the answers you seek in time.
Finally, celebrate the small milestones: a pound lost, a mile ran, a spreadsheet done, a new neighbor met, a happy moment. As Lao Tzu said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Photo by Cornelia Kopp