We have often heard that patience is a virtue, and yet, there isn’t much out there in the world that teaches and models what it looks like to practice and attain this virtue for ourselves.
This is one of the reasons why we have to pay attention . . . to what shows up in our lives to educate us and to the level of desire we actually have in learning the lesson.
For me, an opportunity to better understand the valuable facets of patience arrived last weekend. The experience left me humbled (which I always appreciate), amazed (by the perfection of timing and divine design) and, well, frankly, changed.
For the past 3 years, I have participated in Family Constellations workshops with an incredible facilitator, Brigitte Sztab. This work has profoundly affected my work and my life. It has taught me the key principles of communicating from the heart, being fearless in feeling my emotions, honoring the family system and releasing the burdens that are not my own so that I can fully experience the life I came here to live.
As I sat in a room filled with many who were new to the constellation work, I felt relieved and grateful. When people begin to learn these tools and ways of looking at their lives, it changes the dynamics of every relationship in which they participate. I feel joy and hope when I think about a future where people are actively involved in opening their hearts and seeking to communicate and operate in an entirely different manner.
So, of course, it surprised me that with this gratitude and hope, I also began to feel impatient.
The workshop was 3 days and by the end of day 1, I felt the burden of what I wanted to release sitting heavy upon me. I’m not proud of this, but I began to feel resentful of what I began to perceive as “neediness” in the room. Everyone seemed to require immediate attention as one after another of the participants seemed to practically plead to go next to have their constellation set.
Of course, I knew, on one hand what these triggers were about, and I worked very hard to let go of the feelings I was experiencing as it is required to have an open heart to do this work.
What my mind knew, however, is not what my impatient inner child wanted to hear. The resentment shifted to anger, and I struggled to remain present and open.
It is always miraculous to me how things unfold in life. What is presented to us is always perfect.
My inner impatience was tested even further when by the end of the day, on my 35 minute ride home, for 30 of those 35 minutes, I found myself behind a caravan of 7 cars, the first going 35 miles per hour!
I couldn’t get home fast enough, and yet this challenge wasn’t lost on me. I would have laughed out loud if I could have.
“Why,” I asked myself, “was I being held in this discomfort?
I knew what I needed to release, why couldn’t I be given the chance just to let go of it and feel better?
The answer came to me the next morning on my drive to the workshop.
I needed to let myself feel what I was feeling. I needed to sit with what I was experiencing and let it show me what I needed to see.
Like most of us, I had wanted the quick relief. I had needed for my awareness of discomfort to be immediately alleviated. It was necessary for me to feel better without feeling what it would really take for that place of “better” to be sustained.
What I knew in this sudden “ah-ha” moment is that if this had happened, I would have missed the big and very meaningful lesson.
My constellation was the last that evening. It took every single participant in the room to set it. It was huge, and it illuminated some substantial patterns in my life that had been working through my family line for a very long time.
There were a few important pieces that I came to realize:
- If all the others hadn’t had the ability to set their constellations before, they wouldn’t have had the capacity to participate at the level needed in mine.
- I had been lost in my own need.
At one point, Brigitte asked my representative what she was feeling. The person responded, “I don’t want anything to do with that drama. They are all so self-absorbed.” To this, Brigitte asked, “and how does it feel to be self-absorbed?”
Arrows of far-reaching truth can hit at any time. I have written about this before. If we are aware and open, we can receive that arrow with compassion, learn from it and it can be the catalyst for profound change in our lives.
For me, a reminder and deeper understanding of what it takes to be present with patience wasn’t the only opportunity I was given last weekend. The ability to see, more clearly, that all good things do come in time . . . their own time, and the struggle to rush things along can create a situation where the authentic process is dishonored and potentially derailed and unnecessary suffering is created.
If these moments in our lives come along for us to develop more meaning, wisdom and compassion, well, then I’d say . . .
I see I’m right where I need to be in my life, and it’s easier to be patient from this place.