Cultivating Patience

This week I've been thinking about the patients I see at work and the health changes I'm encountering in my own life as I go through the proverbial aging process. I've made a conscious decision to not be one of those people who ruminates and makes a running commentary on their health.

And yet, it's hard to have patience with myself as I wind my way through my 50s.  Who among us can really say we have patience with ourselves? Patience with others maybe, sick children at work definitely, but not our own physical deficits.

Then one day, I had a "driveway moment" while listening to NPR's Talk of the Nation last week. Allan Lokos, a psychologist and Buddhist was speaking on patience: "...the body is changing. And we look in the mirror and we realize one day, oh, the muscle tone is not what it was. And sometimes, we can become very angry at our own body, impatient with ourselves. And I think it's very important to realize, that is the nature of the body. Everything is changing; the body is changing. So why not go with that so that we don't go to the finish line just resisting and unhappy, but going with what is natural order instead?"

Listening to the words melted something inside me, that part that has no patience with my own shortcomings. I decided if that if patience was what I needed to be able to work and thrive, then I could be kinder to myself. And by showing myself kindness, I could reflect that kindness outward to others and through my art.

Here are some of this week's watercolors, painted while I practiced patience.