“Patience is not the ability to wait, but how you act while you are waiting.” ~Joyce Meyer
The other day I was cooking risotto for dinner.
Risotto is a dish that takes time to make. You have to let it simmer. You have to slowly stir it and walk away and then slowly stir it some more.
Mostly you have to wait.
The waiting can feel hard. You want to be sure you are making it right, but you have to wait. It smells divine, but you can’t taste test it yet. Your hunger grows, and you continue to stir and wait, stir and wait.
As I stood over the risotto, watching as it took it’s time to cook just the way it’s meant to, I was reminded of how certain things in life, our growth, even the journey itself, is just like that.
Things rarely happen instantly, right when we want them. We can pray and visualize, make a vision board or manifest all day long, but sometimes you still have to wait.
We may be actively participating or working towards the things we are waiting for, but it’s not about what we are doing while we wait. It’s about how we are waiting.
We have to be patient.
Being patient is hard. It’s one of the things I struggle and work on most.
It’s difficult to always trust the pacing of life, holding onto faith with an unwavering conviction.
Sometimes I get so frustrated with the slow simmer my life is working at when I’m ready for it to heat up and boil over. I constantly have to remind myself that things are working out in perfect time, even if it’s not my time.
This feeling of frustration can be found in the little, every day moments that drive us crazy with waiting.
We get stuck in traffic and get angry things aren’t moving as fast as we want them to.
We place a phone call, are put on hold and it feels like a hair-pulling-skin-crawling-eternity before a voice comes back on the line.
And this frustration with waiting can be escalated into more important matters, like our careers.
We apply for the job and wait to see if we’re hired. We get the job and wait for the promotion. We wait for a raise. We wait for recognition. We wait for a better opportunity.
Our love life isn’t immune to this cycle either.
We wait to meet someone, and as soon as we do we go back to waiting: we wait for the proposal; we wait for the wedding; we wait for the baby; we wait for the house… You get the idea.
Worse? We even wait for things we can’t define—the mysterious thing that will make everything fall into place, the mystical thing that will make us happy, the hypothetical thing that will bring us success, the imagined thing that will fix all our problems, the amazing thing that will make us feel satisfied, special, loved, content—to happen.
(Hint: there is no mysterious thing. You are the only one who can do all that.)
And when all this waiting weighs us down what do we do?
We meditate for peace, wait for a rush of calm, and get frustrated that zen isn’t coming to us as fast as we want!
But the thing is, all this frustration never makes things happen faster. Thinking about waiting, and how annoyed you are by it, makes the process of waiting even more difficult and sometimes downright unbearable.
Focusing on the waiting invites it to take a front-row-VIP-seat to your life. It blocks the view of all the other wonderful people and things sitting in your audience, coloring up your world, ready for your attention and gratitude.
We are all guilty of doing this at some time or another.
Part of this comes from the stories we create in our minds. We look around and it seems like everyone else doesn’t have to wait as long as us. For everyone else things are happening quickly! Without any sweat and tears! Without any waiting!
These perspectives, while not usually accurate, still irrationally seep into our core, maddening us into a frenzy.
The other part of this mindset stems from the fact that we’ve become used to a fast pace. We have become masters of rushing around, multi-tasking as we go. We are accustomed to having so much available to us with an app or the tap of a few keys. So when something is a little slow or is taking longer than we imagine it should, we can’t handle it.
We question it, curse it and then wish for it to happen even quicker.
But it’s unrealistic to expect things to happen at snap-of-our-fingers -wi-fi-speed. Some things—most things—take time.
And usually? That time is a gift to us. It makes us appreciate things more and makes us better prepared to handle them.
Sometimes—most times—you have to wait for what you want, what you’ve earned, what you deserve. And yes, sometimes you don’t get any of those things. And yes, sometimes when you wait a little longer it turns out you are getting something better than you ever imagined.
I know. Waiting in a patient, graceful, om, all is well, grateful, abundant mindset is challenging.
But you must try.
For when the moment comes—when you finally taste the risotto or you get a degree after years of work or you encounter the love of your life—you’ll feel the same way every time.
The wait? It was all worth it.