The Patience of Patients
Patience is not passive; on the contrary, it is active; it is concentrated strength. ~ Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton
Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet. ~ Jean-Jacques Rousseau
I find it curious that the word patient has two distinct meanings, yet both encompass bearing some level of discomfort over a period of time (even if it’s just being in the waiting room of a doctor’s office!).
We all have individual and collective anniversaries, memories and milestones that we share to some degree or another; regardless if they were positive or negative, hopefully you are able to see the growth and healing that has since transpired. Tomorrow will mark three months to the day* my mom underwent open-heart surgery, and after minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, day-by-day, week-by-week attention, care and rest, she was back out at her clubs (yes plural, and yes, as in nightclubs/dancing) this past weekend.
It’s truly amazing what time can do when you give it a chance to work its magic. But in this action-oriented, left -brained, results-demanding, pill -for-everything, instant-information, fast-food society, time gets a bad rap. Faster is perceived to always be better and action trumps rest in the eyes of others. With almost everything available to us on demand and bottles of 5-hour energy at our disposal, we’ve grown impatient beyond reasonable expectations.
“Patience is a virtue” and “Time heals all wounds” are two of my favorite adages because they express the type of ‘muscles” I’ve exercised and “tools” I’ve developed — you guessed it, over time — as they become realities when you see the proof in the pudding. In my coaching and speaking work, I am constantly trying to get folks to understand that although we are living in a 24/7 instant access technological wonderland, Nature does not work that way — the acorn does not become an oak tree overnight!
Clients are often frustrated with me when I advise them not to do anything that they consider as “doing” or will have a direct and immediate impact on their job search or life’s path. What I suggest doesn’t mean they should sit around twiddling their thumbs; it’s about understanding that there is a process, and it’s inner work through activities that don’t seem “productive” or results-producing, when in fact they are the true heavy lifting of personal growth. We all have wounds that need to be healed, and not addressing them or allowing them the time and space to do so is often what blocks us from moving forward; therefore, that is where time and energy needs to be spent.
I am always planting seeds when I work with clients, giving them ideas and suggestions they may not necessarily be ready to implement immediately, but should think about, pay attention to and consider down the road. I also guide them towards the many stepping stones they need to take on the path to their ultimate goal, whether or not they are aware of that goal.
The philosopher Kierkegaard said, “Patience is necessary, and one cannot reap immediately where one has sown.” I have had the pleasure of finding out recently how many of my clients are beginning to reap what they have sown, with projects, jobs and opportunities that are only now coming to fruition, one, two and even four years after we met, which is extremely rewarding and only reinforces the “method to my madness.”
The paradox and balancing trick, of course, is that time doesn’t stop; it can pass us by quickly, so we need to be in motion with it and “make hay while the sun shines.” But on the other hand, we need to accept and be comfortable with what is realistic in terms of how long things take to change and develop. Just like we are all students in this school called Life, we are all patients in the healing of our lives which is part of what growing means — healing the wounds of our past so we can move forward ever more healthy and strong.
Need a little help on your journey from acorn to oak tree, or from wounded to well? Give me a buzz and I’ll take a look to see how you can use the gift of time to speed things up or slow them down, keeping in mind, that might just be the opposite of what you think…
(Originally published on www.kristinaleonardi.com on September 11, 2012)
About the Author:
Kristina Leonardi is a career/life coach and motivational speaker who has a proven record of getting “stuck” clients empowered to make lasting changes aligned with their true passions and talents in a short time. She provides a practical framework for each individual to make the most of their personal and professional lives, allowing them to recognize, connect to, and fulfill their role in the world at large and live with clarity, balance and direction. For more information visit www.kristinaleonardi.com or check out her profile on The Muse’s Coach Connect.
Click here to check out Kristina’s book of 131 “thought-provoking, inspirational and entertaining essays to keep you connected to yourself and this journey called Life” Personal Growth Gab (PGG) Volume One from Amazon.
Read more about me and my work in these essays, which I refer to as PGG’s: