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I wanna talk about patience.
Why? Because it's something I lack. Quite often.
Not so much with others as I do with myself.
But I am getting better at it: the being patient with myself and I wanna share the how so with you.
During my lowest of low times in college, I sought out a professor who I strongly admired and somehow felt could offer me up some light/encouragement. It was one of the few times in my life, when I felt so lost and desperate that I actually willingly asked for help (something I'm usually reluctant to do.) Anyway, I sat in his office and cried and cried and asked for words of enlightenment and he not only graciously and lovingly provided me with a whole lot of that, but he also gave me a book that he said he believed I would greatly benefit from.
Here is said book:
Now, to be completely honest, at first glance, I didn't think much of this book. I mean it just looked like too many words for a front cover in a very generic font. And "The Life Series 101" ? Mmmkays. Even the claim from Oprah at the top wasn't enough to really capture my intrigue. While I was thankful for the gift and kindness of my professor, I definitely tossed this one aside when I got home and stayed rejuvenated off what my professor had to say, rather than anything this book could possibly have to offer.
It wasn't until the beginning of this year, in the grueling process of moving back in with my parents that I picked this book up and said, "alright, Peter McWilliams. What chu got for me?"
Turns out, he's got a lot. More than I ever imagined. I read every word of this book and was completely blown away by all the fantastic and logical insights this brilliant man had to offer. And in such simple terms too. I think you can guess that one of the most valuable of his chapters to me was the one on patience. Here's some words from Mr. McWilliams that really hit home:
"Patience is our compassion for the distance between what we are now and what we know we can be."
"Because we have such fertile imaginations, we can envision ourselves scaling mountains one moment and swimming oceans the next. To get from the mountaintop to the beach, however, takes a certain amount of time. If we're on the mountain and want to go to the ocean, that's fine. But if we strike against ourselves for not being at the ocean right now, we're being impatient."
"The journey from here to there will never be completed. Such is life. Have compassion for the distance between where you are now and where you're going next. (Where you are now, remember, is the goal of a former moment in time.)"
Wow, right? At least for me this was. And especially in the moment. It was almost as if God or some spirit lead me to pick up this book and read these words that I so desperately needed to read at that time. That stressful and lonely time when I quit my full-time job, dropped my whole life in Orange County which included the majority of my friends and the dude I was seeing at the time, and came back home to Ventura. It was time when I came to accept a lot of things about myself that I didn't like and I knew I needed to work on. And I wanted to work on them. And not only did I want to work on them, I wanted them to be fixed right away. I wanted the huge transitions I was making in my life to go more smoothly and to be way less awkward. I wanted things to just be more easy and more clear. I wanted things to feel right, instead of confusing. I wanted all the second-guessing to be gone, and the certainty to be present. And in all of these wants, I found myself to be the captain of impatience. Which only caused me more stress than I was already experiencing. This book proved to be some very strong medicine and it helped me work through a lot. And in good time.
This was only several months ago. Which is shocking in some ways, because it only goes to prove how faith, patience, diligence, and the right attitude can make you soar, and much quicker than you would think. It's not an overnight journey, not by any means. But if you can take things one day at a time and set your goals loud and clear before you, well, you're setting yourself up for success and improvements, at a very like-able and generous pace.
Some time right before I picked up this book, I somehow knew it in my mind that I needed to get my goals down on paper. I needed some sort of hard copy reminder of why exactly I dropped everything in my life and switched lanes completely. As if transitioning wasn't hard enough, I was heartbroken, and had also just gotten into car accident that was my fault and broken my macbook--all around the same time. I also came home with no room or place to put all of my furniture, since my room at the parents had inevitably become a place to store things. All of which didn't even include a bed. So for the first two weeks of moving back home, I not only had to crash on the couch, but had no place to put any of my belongings. No car to drive. No macbook to turn to. No job to go to. Things were just messy, no doubt, I felt empty and all I wanted was the comfort from the man I had broken up with and my friends who were all now so far away. I even just missed the Trader Joes I went to on a regular basis and my gym in Irvine. Everything I had come to know in a span of three and half years was now gone. You can bet your bottom dollars there was an immediate party of regret, second-guessing, and "oh no, what have I dones." I needed a hard copy reminder of why exactly I dropped everything in my life and switched lanes completely. So I went to Barnes and Noble and I bought a pretty notebook. One of the cheaper ones, mind you, because at that moment I was unemployed with maybe twenty bucks to my name total. (With no sight of a future paycheck anytime soon. It was a scary time, indeed.)
Here is said notebook:
And on the very first page, on December 8, 2011, I wrote out my goals.
And still, I can't help but to do a little happy dance that may or may not include a secret tear or two. Because I have accomplished so much in both body and mind since that ever so difficult time in Dec/January. I have to be proud of myself for hanging in there and not only giving myself the gift of patience, but the clear path of where I want to go. Since the time I jotted those goals down, I have not only fixed my car, my macbook, my heart, and my ridiculously high college loan payments, I've gotten myself a job, paid off almost all of my debt, gotten this blog going, gotten my room back, and above all---gotten the confidence back that the choices made several months ago were the RIGHT ONES.
I mean, here I sit, single and happy, with a blog, a very small, but growing readership, an entire circle of new friends, a strengthening of relationships with my family, a renewed appreciation for Ventura, and the intent to buy my plane ticket to New York this week for July. (It has been officially set for July ! :)
Life is good, and I'm just so glad that I've stayed patient and strong up to this point. And I hope I can continue to do so, as I know that there is much transitioning yet to come. I mean, I am moving across the country for crying out loud. Haha, I think the toughest awaits me still!
But I have faith. And I run towards the things that scare me, rather than away from them. I choose the uncomfortable rather than comfortable. Because that's how I choose to live my life. Because that's what I believe to be living.
And what about you? How do you and patience get along? If this post has encouraged you to go out to Barnes and Noble and start your own diary of goals and self-compassion, will you say so? It has proven to be one of the most important things I have ever done for myself, and if you're in a place of "I don't know what the heck is going on" or "I don't know why I've gone in this direction or that", I encourage you to do this. Give yourself a clear purpose. If you don't know what that purpose is yet, think about what you love. Think about the places you want to go. Think about the things you want to be. Start with those things, and see where it takes you. And while you're at Barnes, pick up Peter McWilliams book! It will fuel your heart and your mind, this I promise. (By the way---there is no shame in browsing the self-help section at the bookstore. In my opinion, that should be the busiest section! What a worthy cause, to seek self-improvement. I applaud every individual I encounter in that section.)
As always, I am delighted to hear from all of you whether it be in the form of comments or e-mails. I'm not only here to share, I'm here to help. To connect, and to give support.
There is only love.
And patience :) Don't just give it to others---give it to yourself.