On waiting, and patience.

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A waiting person is a patient person. The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us.
— Henri J.M. Nouwen

The dictionary definition of the word 'patience' is "the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious". It means that 'waiting' and 'patience' are two entirely different things. You cannot wait patiently for something, because the two states of mind are in conflict. You are either waiting, or you are patient. Waiting is a discomfort and a frustration. It's a place of stagnation, where an ever growing list of things and perhaps your life itself is put on hold until whatever it is you are waiting for manifests itself. It comes from a place of having a plan that doesn't quite come good, but still you hang onto the plan because you believe that was the path you were meant to take. Patience is a calmness, a detachment from any kind of plan because you know that it will unfold itself to you slowly. It's a state of positivity, of gratitude and of continuing to move forward in other areas of your life that you can control, while setting free the outcomes of the ones you can't. It's a trust in the process, the path, the universe...whatever you want to call it. 

The last year has been a sometimes difficult journey from waiting so desperately for something that it felt like our whole lives were on hold, towards a more recent place of patience and peace. I have frequently been annoyed and anxious about the ups and downs of selling our flat and buying another house. I've lost sleep, tears and time all in the name of waiting. It's not been great for my health, my happiness or my relationship. Through it all, I've been determined not to wish time away or to waste these precious days letting our future plans undermine out present days, but what I didn't understand for a lot of it was that simply by being in a state of waiting for something I was doing exactly that. What is for me will come with time. I must be willing to let it unfold at it's own pace. 

Patience is not the ability to wait. Patience is to be calm no matter what happens, constantly take action to turn it to positive growth opportunities, and have faith to believe that it will all work out in the end while you are waiting.
— Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

Waiting for things is hard, but being patient feels easier once you get there. Patience feels like I can still keep moving forward, but waiting feels like I can't. Patience is acceptance, trust and faith, but waiting is anxiety, frustration and dissapointment. I am exercising patience in many areas of my life right now. Some because patience has been forced upon me, others because I have chosen patience as the best route to nurture the growing seeds. We live in a time where we want everything 'now' and quite often we can get it. Instant gratification is everywhere, and it gives us a false sense of how much time it really takes to do things. We don't wait for parcels or letters or information or food...it all comes within minutes if we want it to. We only have to turn to nature to see that there is a season for all things, and that Winter is sometimes longer and harder than we anticipate. But still, there is a time to harvest and a time to be patient for the fruit to grow. 

I have to trust that in the snow storms, the cancelled flat viewings and the rescheduled shoots that there is something brewing for me and for my family. That perhaps it wasn't this new house, new town or supposed new life I was waiting for after all. It was for the deep, uncomfortable and transformative experience of learning what it means to be patient. To trust that the universe has my back, and to see growth in any experience that wears the mask of a setback. 

Sometimes it can feel like we are standing still, or even going backwards, but the truth is we never are going any which way but forwards. Such is the arrow of time. Onwards ever, backwards never.