A few years ago I was waiting for a meeting to start at the end of a long week. Someone I recognized, but had never spoken to, was sitting next to me and asked how my week had been. I remember sighing as I turned to him, holding my coffee like it was my last tie to the living world, and without intent to be wise or clever, just purely out of exhaustion, telling him I’d been practicing patience that week.
That wasn’t how I had ever spoken before, it’s just how it came out. And I probably wouldn’t even remember having said that if it weren’t for the look on his face when I did. Practicing patience? What exactly did that mean? I can’t remember the details now, but I know work had been hard, life had been hard, the dark and the cold was taking its tolls on me in the dead of winter. I just had to keep reminding myself to breathe and not to snap. This too shall pass.
He loved it. Practicing patience. He repeated it more than once, he smiled and told me how he was going to try and use that himself. I heard him tell another person before the meeting started. And with that, I started to adopt that mindset myself.
That sounds funny, doesn’t it? I adopted the mindset I put out. But it’s true. Some days, (weeks, months, years…) are just hard. And we aren’t perfect, nor should be try to be. But to get through it we have to practice those qualities we need. And, don’t get it twisted, this isn’t just for bad, down in the dump days. It’s also for the joyous days and the fun days, and all the days in between.
Just as that week I needed to practice patience, other days we can practice love, contentment, peace, forgiveness, gratitude, self healing along with hundreds of other qualities we want and need to embody.
This week, I’m practicing gratitude. But not just the act of being grateful – the show of appreciation to those I am grateful to and for.
What are you practicing today?