Two recurring themes have been defining my life: patience and gratitude. Putting these virtues into practice, on a daily basis, is always a constant struggle. And being such a poor student, a tsunami of examples has had to flood into my life so that at age 40, I could begin to get it. It only took me two decades of dedicated study.
I’ve had to lose almost everything---material and non material---in order to truly capture, on a cellular level, its importance. And only once stripped down to the bare-bones, with nothing more than the basics, did I begin to learn.
We are always told to pray when things are going well, not just when we need something. This is the hardest for most people, including myself. It’s almost counterintuitive. During times of struggle and desperation, when we have nothing more to lose, we tend to remember to feel grateful for the littlest of things. Our hearts are vulnerable, our eyes are wide open and appreciation comes easily. Because many of us suffer from the human condition, i.e. short-term memory loss, we forget to be thankful once our prayers have been answered. In fact, we press on and demand more.
Like a weak muscle that requires exercise to strengthen, the exercise of acknowledging each day all we have and are thankful for, needs to become part of our daily routine--lest we forget and lose it unexpectedly. Life is unpredictable and change happens abruptly, without warning.
Likewise, in this modern era of technology overload, we have come to expect immediate gratification when seeking information. Our collective patience has waned. Nobody understands what it means to wait anymore. The worn-out cliché, “Good things come to those who wait,” holds no value or importance in this day and age---specifically for our children’s generation. It’s disheartening.
I am guilty of this syndrome. Yet, life has shown me, time and time again, that when I cling onto something and get emotionally “attached,” that very thing is either put off or simply slips away. By keeping nothing more than a loose “grip” combined with focused intention on what I want and where I want to go, can I live in the moment and remain open to spontaneous opportunities. I call it living in a constant state of “stand-by.” And by remaining semi-detached, my desires seem to flow into my life effortlessly; no need to force anything. I believe Deepak Chopra calls this “The Law of Detachment.”
By reminding ourselves daily of what we have, by counting our blessings, we stay in the here and now and learn to enjoy our kids, our families, our lives. And just when we least expect it, life shifts gears and surprises us with little gifts.
Because only when we first prove to be happy without “it,” will “it” eventually come.
Patience and gratitude.
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