I am gaining momentum.
A friend recently posted on Facebook a question about cultivating patience. It really resonated with me because I tend to want things to happen right away. This makes me think of my thoughts on letting shit go from a couple months ago, definitely interconnected.
When I really reflect on how I practice patience, it turns out I’m growing in my abilities (thankfully!). I think patience, like meditation, non-judgement, compassion and all the other things that make us better humans, are works in forever progress. They’re practices — things we do over and over with the intention of becoming incrementally better each time.
Practice makes us human (not perfect).
So what does my patience practice look like?
I lean on three tools:
I cannot stress enough that journaling doesn’t have to be a big production. If you like longhand journaling, great. If you like Bullet Journaling, great. If you like to keep a digital journal or write a thought a day and stick it in a jar, great. Whatever works for you is what it should be. And it’s allowed to evolve based on what feels right to you.
I used to be an avid non-journaler. Like really truly never did it.
Then I was told by someone I trust with my life in more ways than one that after we journal, we’re not really supposed to go back and look at it. The practice is about getting our thoughts out of our head and then moving on. I liked this because I think my resistance had a lot to do with premature embarrassment about whatever I might write and later look back at. This helped me get started. Back then I used a blank notebook with a beautiful cover.
Over time though, my practice has evolved. I have learned that my preference is to use journaling prompts and not big blank notebook pages. I also like to go back and look sometimes. After about 5 years of trying different journaling styles, I ended up creating my own journal that suits my needs perfectly.
So journaling as a tool for patience, yes, it helps me. Journaling as a tool for every aspect of growth and wellness, yes, it helps me.
At a minimum, writing before bed is so so so helpful. Just a simple reflection on what happened today, what I’m most proud of and what I could have done differently is powerful. I also like to do a brain dump of stuff for tomorrow so it won’t keep me awake.
At the end of the week, I find it incredibly helpful to look back at my week of reflections. It always amazes me how I can forget what I did on Wednesday or Thursday by the time Sunday rolls around. Monday and Tuesday? Yeah, that feels like three weeks ago.
On Sundays, after looking over all that I did, I write a few thoughts or bullet point lists of things I’m extra grateful for and stuff I did that was above and beyond what I had planned on doing. When it feels like nothing is happening or it’s all moving at a snail’s pace, these are really powerful exercises.
These simple journaling techniques have changed my life. Truly.
To recap, this is how I journal for patience:
Reflect/write before bed
What happened today
What I’m most proud of
What I could have done differently
At the end of the week, I look at my week of reflections and write
What I did that was above and beyond what I had planned to do
What I could have done differently
What I’m extra grateful for
This is an ongoing practice in self control and non-judgement. Not easy. But here’s what I know: Even taking just 5-10 minutes in the morning is valuable. Whether I sit in silence or do a guided meditation (I like Insight Timer), I focus on the practice of patience and how everything is happening in perfect timing.
I also remind myself throughout the day that this is life — happening all around me — and it’s the beautiful journey I’m fortunate to experience. It is the fun, not just part of it. Particularly helpful when I’m feeling anxious about something not moving at the speed I want it to.
An additional practice that’s moved me through extreme grief, physical pain, and overwhelm is my Surrender Bowl. It sits on my altar and whenever I feel things coming up and yanking on my attention, I write the thing(s) on a little piece of paper, fold it up, and place it in the bowl while asking my Guides to take it from me. Often I have to do this many times. I practice letting that shit go over and over and over.
If you struggle with meditation, check out this insightful post by my brilliant partner.
Part of my journaling and meditation practices, and my day-to-day workflow, I lean on mantras all the time. I write them on Post Its and place them right in front of my face on the window I look out of from my desk. I place them on my bathroom mirror, on my phone case, on my nightstand, in my car.
Whatever statements resonate with you in your moments of impatience, write them down and refer to them frequently.
If these tips resonate, I’d love to know. Comment below or reach out anytime.