Connecting the Dots Between Patience and Trust…

… or is that between trust and patience? A little like the chicken and the egg, which comes first?

Some years ago I had the good fortune to take part in a workshop based on The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. The book (and workshop) outline a program to “recover creativity”.  One of Cameron’s first recommendations is the use of “morning pages”, “three pages of longhand writing, strictly stream of consciousness”. This means “I need a loaf of bread” creeps in between “I’m so worried about…” and “Last night I dreamed that…”

Most people are somewhat skeptical about this method until they try it for awhile. Here’s the intriguing part: More often than not, the grist that has been mulling deep inside, or the “aha” that you’ve been unable to access, doesn’t show up until page three, long after the worry, the dream, and the grocery list. It’s as if you have to empty the backpack of your mind so that the deeper things can emerge.

Although I do not write morning pages every day anymore, when I do, they never disappoint me. Today was just such an experience.

Pages one and two were full of a present conundrum, a situation that is somewhat veiled at the moment, one over which I have only partial control. (No doubt those of you who read my essays regularly are smiling over this familiar theme poking out its sweet little head once again.)

By the middle of page three, my thoughts morphed into realizing yet again that I need to trust, let go and be patient. (Okay, not news, and not rocket science, I know…)

But then this sentence flowed from my pen: “Patience does indeed relate to trusting and letting go, because impatience is actually the short-sighted view, seeing ‘failure’ instead of ‘incubation time’.”  It is as if I crave affirmation too much, and certainly, too soon.

I have written about these themes so many times, in so many contexts, yet the point hits me anew today in a fresh way. Trust requires patience, and patience requires trust. Sometimes it seems easier to nurture one than the other; (all that self-talk we give ourselves) sometimes both seem impossibly beyond us.  In reality, patience and trust are just two sides of the same coin.The link between the two, the thing that connects the dots, is letting go. Letting go of time lines. (“If x hasn’t happened by y, then I’ll do z.”) Letting go of requiring specific outcomes. (How often things actually work out better than I had imagined they could.) Letting go of working so hard! (I suspect that frantic “doing” often actually impedes the very forward motion I seek so ardently.)

Reading this over, I could slip easily into self-recrimination — how can I be so dense? — but that’s just another form of impatiently not trusting! I’m human. My vision is limited by my very human longings and insecurities. How much better to smile at them as they ride on by, and do what I can to be gentle with myself, which might just engender trust and patience…

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