Jon Kabat-Zin says patience is a form of wisdom. It is being completely open to each moment, accepting it in it’s fullness, and acknowledging things unfold in their own time. Patience is remembering you can’t push the river—which I sometimes try to do when in unfamiliar or uncomfortable territory. Like when I am forced to look at a limiting belief I have become so familiar with, and it takes way longer than I expect to let it go. Or when I make a significant shift in my business plan and it takes way longer to execute and see benefit than I can imagine. Or when I am stuck on the runway for hours due to weather and finally arrive at the gate, obsessed with every painful minute it takes to deplane, decreasing my chances of making my connection.

Any of these life situations go so much easier when we practice patience. These truths adapted from Rick Hanson’s Just One Thing help me remember why patience is a form of wisdom:

  • Impatience is dissatisfaction and resistance—Patience is possibility
  • Impatience is angry—Patience is peaceful
  • Impatience focuses on what’s wrong—Patience is wide open to the big picture
  • Impatience is controlling and clinging—Patience is letting go
  • Impatience can’t stand unpleasantness—Patience is tolerance

Practicing patience allows us to let go of our often unrealistic expectations and consider the long-term effects of everything we are doing and be present all along the way. This is why patience is an important intention of mindfulness.

Where in your life today could you embrace the wisdom of patience and stop trying to push the river?

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