Have you heard the phrase: “Good things come to those who wait.”? It seems silly but it can also be true. Granted, when it comes to chronic illness, the concept of patience can be applied to a variety of things. Patience with ourselves, patience with our symptoms, patience with the healthcare system (like getting an accurate diagnosis or scheduling surgery), patience with our loved ones. And it’s true, that good things don’t always happen. It’s an optimistic, slightly silly concept. In reality, we usually have to do things to make those “things” happen. If we don’t call and bug the doctor’s office for appointments; if we don’t try to do what we can when we can (or in reverse, allow ourselves to rest when we need to); if we don’t try to be proactive and find ways to help our symptoms (holistic/alternative medicine, Western medicine etc.) then good things will never happen. However, the “good things” may only happen after a given period of time even when we are proactive, hence, “good things come to those who wait.”
Growing up, I took martial arts. I am going to right now recommend that if you have children and the means to put them into martial arts – do it! It’s not about fighting or even just self-defence (which is a good reason for sure), it’s about the ability to learn patience. When I was 10 through 13, my brother and I took Shotokan (non-contact) Karate (okay, contact kind of happens by accident sometimes when you get to the higher belts). Every class begins and ends with meditation, but where you really learn to be patient is during testing. You must be present at the beginning of the day and watch all the people with belts below yours test before you can leave. Easy when you’re a white or yellow or even orange belt, but when you’re a kid and a green, purple, brown or black belt, that process of sitting, watching quietly, for hours can be testing. But it creates great patience.
Patience came up for me because as you may know from previous posts, the original practicum opportunity I secured was revoked (mistake by the site) and I had to apply to a new place, and get an extension from school. I secured a new placement, wrote my 34 page application package for the university, then waited nearly a month for an approval (it did get approved!). That left me with like a week and a half to plan and execute a cross-country move. I’ll admit it was hard to stay patient during that month, but, my practice with patience from childhood and with experiences with health made it slightly easier (now I’m just trying not to be too overwhelmed with the move!). The point is, I was patient, and good things happened.
I’m all about keeping a healthy mix of optimism and realism (I always have a backup plan or two) because things don’t always work out the way we want them to (ahem, 2020). Patience can be helpful, and utilizing meditation and mindfulness practices is another way to develop patience if you are struggling. I hope everyone has a good week, and keep on making the most of it!