Saturday, June 2, 2012

Celebrating patience

I've learned a lot about patience from living with quadriplegia.

Being a Type A, it hasn't been easy.  Believe me, I never thought I'd use the word celebrating and patience in the same sentence!

One thing I've learned is that patience isn't passive, as many believe. It's best accompanied by steady, persistent action, often in minute steps that seem more difficult to take than they actually are.

I've learned that real patience contains hope and joy.

I've learned that being around those who encourage patience and are not judgmental but realistic is the best way for me to remain patient. I rely on the enthusiasm as well as the kindness of others.

I've also learned that being patient for humans is not a linear thing. We have ups and downs, steps forward and backward.  Sometimes when I feel out of control because I can't do a skill as quickly as I want, I lapse into impatience. I see pretty quickly that it won't help me learn anything to stay in that state, so I drag myself back on track.

Ultimately, cultivating patience more than impatience is necessary to attain goals.

There are so many ways to cultivate patience. This list isn't necessarily sequential, but each part of it has been important to me.

There's preparation. It is about mind over matter, attitude and taking care of yourself physically. That's cultivating the soil.

There's diligence.  Whether it's practicing new ways of doing things or skills or a more helpful attitude, it takes time and commitment.  This is the workhorse part of patience.
There's hope.  You gotta believe in yourself. Keep your eye on the ball and your head up, even when you have days you don't see any discernible progress.

There's acceptance.  You need to realistically assess and reassess results and be open to feedback. If you don't see the results you expected, ask for help from experts or others who have experience. Maybe your expectations are too high or low.  Maybe you need to try a different approach. Pray. Meditate.

There's perspective.  As a friend of mine says to me when I tell her I'm getting faster with the tetra mouse - "Wow, imagine how fast you'll be in a year!" 

Finally, there's celebration.  Take time to celebrate small victories and progress. Balance all the hard work with joy in the results.  Look at things long term and remember that it's a journey.

Express gratitude to those who support you. It's not just about saying thank you. It's about letting others know you trust them to be with you on this journey. Keeping others in the loop of what you're trying to accomplish and how it's going enhances your relationships.

I'm celebrating going up two speeds on the tetra mouse this weekend. I hope you take the time to celebrate your victories too. If you need someone to celebrate with, leave me a comment!

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