“What does patience feel like? It’s a subtle unfolding with time as your ally. You feel relaxed and trust that it will all work out, even if in this very moment, there’s no clear path to the end. It feels like the subtle uneasiness of allowing all you’re uncomfortable with to be exactly as it is.” ~Jackson Kiddard
I have written many times on my blog that I have no patience. It has been the cause of many a problem for me including great anxiety and worry. Let’s face it if you do not know how to effectively practice patience, you will have heartache, sorrow and way too much stress.
So knowing all this, you would think I would be able to wrestle this thing called patience. Tame it perhaps, wrap my brain around it. But alas no I still struggle with patience more than anything else. I call it my greatest lesson because every chance it gets, patience runs smack into me and demands I deal with it.
It especially rears its ugly head when I am late…then it likes to throw construction zones and traffic jams my way so I can get really worked up. If I have a deadline looming, then the computer won’t work or the internet stops cooperating. Do I walk away….oh no. Do I calmly address the problem…nope! I shout, swear and in times past have even been known to throw things (not so much anymore). I have languished in bouts of depression feeling sorry for myself. I have let chances go by to rectify a problem because I was too afraid to make a decision.
But was it just fear…actually no it is more about losing control or feeling as though you will lose control that has kept patience from me. Not being able to go with the flow, accepting what is happening and loosening my grip on controlling my life that is where I found my greatest challenge. And of course you know the tighter we grip that fantasy of control, the more it eludes us. And telling me to relax actually makes it worse. I know I am supposed to relax, but usually at that moment it is impossible.
And this whole idea that patience is a virtue is not something I understand either. Patience has no morals as far as I am concerned. Oh yes it may have some ethics but to me it is more about the courage one has to have to practice patience. Yes patience requires great courage and a lot of strength to abide.
While patience is the most difficult lesson I am learning, it does have the sweetest reward. But you have to work hard to reap those rewards. They do not come easily. Patience only shows itself slowly unfolding at the most frustratingly difficult times. These times are true tests of patience. Working through the slow pace of patience I have been more successful in taming it. So what did I do….
I don’t think I would have stood a chance at ever really understanding patience had it not been for my garden. To garden takes great patience and courage. One does not plop down plants into soil and expect all will be hunky dory. No, no that is far from what happens as you endeavor to plan and plant edibles and ornamentals.
There is great sadness, frustration and reward all at the same time in gardening. You will have flowers that are flooded in spring or do not make it through an unexpected late freeze. Hail and wind can wipe out a whole garden in no time along with deer, rabbits, voles and a whole host of other critters who find my garden is like a 4 star restaurant. Then there are the fungi that visit and kill plants or diminish their yield. Right now we are dealing with unexpected heat and drought that has taxed my patience waiting for substantial rain, and just two winters ago we were in 6 months of the snowiest winter on record that seemed to never end.
So how can a garden teach patience? It was the realization that I had little control over the weather and critters that finally knocked some sense into me. What I could do, I did. I planted my own seeds and learned more about the plants I was putting in my garden. I planned more and had a back up in case it all went awry. And most times I simply let nature take her course and did not languish too long in my sadness when it didn’t work out. I accepted my lot and looked for the rewards, the little gifts. This year, many flowers lasted longer because of a cooler spring and some even due to the heat and drought, like my daylilies. Yes there were plants and flowers that never showed up at all (like the hydrangeas), but my the daffodils and hyacinths bloomed for months.
And how could I not learn from the critters…those who would sit on their eggs all day in the heat and pounding rain for weeks on end; who nurtured their young all day and even after they fledged. Then to see the slow, sweet reward of young ones flying on their own was pure magic. The patience and perseverance of the critters in my garden I think has helped me realize I too can learn to wait a bit longer through less than ideal circumstances. Yes it may seem like it is taking too long to taste the first ripe tomato. But even if it is the only tomato, it is worth the wait to bite into that sweet warm fruit that I grew..
And as I find I have moved on now from the tantrums, I have also learned to recognize when I am getting into a “patience situation”. When I need to still remind myself to step back and breathe. To let life happen. To experience the flow and the moment, find the lesson, the reward. It is there if I will just be patient for a little while longer.
And boy will I need patience and courage as I move toward my new path of retirement. Wish me luck!
“As soon as you stop wanting something you get it. I’ve found that to be absolutely axiomatic.” ~Andy Warhol
Next up on the blog: As August slowly slides in, I will be highlighting the harvest in the garden. Look for that post Thursday. The first Monday in August will be time for another Gardens Eye Journal. What will August hold in terms of blooms, veggies, critters and weather? Drop by to see.
I hope you will join me for my posts, every other Tuesday, at Beautiful Wildlife Garden.
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