Thursday, February 18, 2010

Where are you on your patience meter?

Has anyone told you "Patience is a virtue"...? I wonder why the saying is not something like: "keeping yourself from shipping your children to your in-laws is a virtue". I guess that is because one edge of "growth" for me has been developing patience, as a parent and with myself.

I have learned that one of the places where patience can really create a sacred space of connection is when someone comes to tell you something important to them: your best friend, your partner, your children. Taking the time to listen, patiently and openly truly pays off. Whether it is to your partner's tale about work or your child's story about how she messed up at piano lessons, waiting, rather than pushing things forward is the biggest gift your can offer the ones you love.

Sometimes, the only way for me to move into that space of patience is by taking what seems like a million deep breaths along with a gentle bite of my tongue. Today was one of those opportunities: my 8 year old daughter cried her eyes out to me as she shared how she had been left out from one of her classmates birthday parties. My first instinct was to try to comfort her and to make her feel better. It's hard to see your kid hurting. I chose to listen and empathize, to give words to her feelings. I held her next to me and told her how sorry I was that she had not being invited. I truly let her talk and didn't try to change the way she was feeling. I was patient! We sat there for a few minutes and when she was ready, she got up. Later, she told me how she can always tell me "her stuff" since I understand her because I am a "girl" too.

I am still learning how to enter into the experiment of waiting in the energy and space of love for the one I am listening to. I have a feeling I will have many more opportunities to practice these newly developed skills!

Is patience one of your strong points? How are you challenged in the "patience" department?

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