waiting image

“When you’re like a keg of dynamite just about to go off, patience means just slowing down at that point—just pausing—instead of immediately acting on your usual, habitual response. You refrain from acting, you stop talking to yourself, and then you connect with the soft spot. But at the same time you are completely and totally honest with yourself about what you are feeling. You’re not suppressing anything; patience has nothing to do with suppression. In fact, it has everything to do with a gentle, honest relationship with yourself. If you wait and don’t fuel the rage with your thoughts, you can be very honest about the fact that you long for revenge; nevertheless you keep interrupting the torturous story line and stay with the underlying vulnerability. That frustration, that uneasiness and vulnerability, is nothing solid. And yet it is painful to experience. Still, just wait and be patient with your anguish and with the discomfort of it. This means relaxing with that restless, hot energy—knowing that it’s the only way to find peace for ourselves or the world.”

One of my favorite lines in this Pema Chodron quote is “patience has nothing to do with suppression”. I know in working with clients and myself, the more we suppress and try to push down our feelings, the more they emerge stronger and louder. So many clients often say to me that they are afraid to fully feel what they are feeling. They are afraid that the feelings will over take them. I find the opposite to be true. Can we be with our feelings? There is wisdom in feeling the feelings and also having patience, as Pema Chodron says. There is tremendous vulnerability underneath our feelings. Holding both, the intense feelings and the gentleness is wisdom. Can we be with what’s present, not denying or pushing down, but be present, aware, awake, and patient?