People occasionally compliment me for being patient. It makes me giggle. When I tell Theresa or my mom about those compliments, they giggle, too. Patience is most certainly not one of my superpowers.
I practice it, though. I practice noticing when my patience is waning and tuning into my desire to react; I practice pausing instead of enacting whatever reaction feels like it’s about to burst out of me and, when necessary, disengaging until the pressure passes.
And when it’s an easy thing – when I’m just tired and I want the dog to sniff fewer things on our walk, for example – I can do it all fairly easily and even find a little humor in it. “Haha, that’s so me to get frustrated with a dog acting like a dog!”
Then there are the other times, when I’m not just tired but also feeling the pressure of financial stress or interpersonal challenges or hormones or discord in the world or what-have-you, and it’s not so easy. At those times, reactivity is easy. Falling back on patterns of believing my gremlins when they justify stress eating or speaking snappishly or blaming others for my grumpiness are easy.
And that right there? That rotten, in-a-hole-where-no-light-can-reach feeling? That’s the awful/good stuff. The awfully good stuff. That’s where we get to see how far we’ve come in practicing the tools during easier times and where we still have room to practice and grow and develop.
That’s where the rubber meets the road as we’re driving on toward the horizon of our bigger, badder selves.
And yeah, even when the car feels like it’s sputtering and you can’t find a thing worth listening to on the radio and all you want is to be at the destination when the road feels like it’s going to go on forever – even that is progress.
In fact, that’s especially progress.
Every weekday, I have at least one gathering that I’m offering out to community – a series of business-focused gatherings to brainstorm together how to manage this novel time and co-create what comes next – and a meditation and a dance party to keep our energy up in the meantime. Find the gatherings here; join the Bigger Badder Crew for the OG gathering, Chomp & Chat, on Wednesdays.