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Embracing patience and tolerance

July 28, 2013

I remember when I was newly sober and I wanted all the answers and results to come to me right away.  I had been struck willing by the experience of a psychic change and all I wanted to do was become what I finally saw in clear focus around me in the rooms.  I pleaded with my sponsor to show me how I could have the things that I had been introduced to through the years where willingness was not abundant.  Now that I got it, what should I do to change all those parts of my life and thinking that would afford me the promises I heard were available?

My sponsor told me to pray for patience.  So I did.  This was my first experience with an understanding that might easily have become one of the more difficult (oft-reminded and revisited) parts of life, much less program.  Things do not happen in the time that I might wish them to.  They can and (potentially) will happen with faith and right thinking.  Tolerance becomes a tool to allow patience to become easier and more accessible, but either can prove to be a challenge achieved best through the steps I live in and the tools at my disposal.

Honestly, going back to that first direction to pray, I found myself being faced with numerous issues and challenges that I saw as a basic growing process for understanding that patience is something to be practiced with pretty much all aspects of my living / breathing existence.  I stopped praying for it and started understanding it’s usefulness in areas where it’s lack would provide a result that would pull me away from the answers and practices I have learned for years in a program for living.

I need to practice and understand patience with people, with the world around me, with family, with my relationship, and most definitely with myself.  In all of these areas the coupling of tolerance has been advisable as well.  If I were to jump in and control the situation wherever possible, expecting results that I deem to be the best possible, I am likely going to meet with a few walls and possibly different levels of consequence or animosity from others who are either trying to do the same thing or simply don’t need to prescribe to my running the show.

Patience can be as simple as stopping and breathing before reacting to another soul.  It can be how we remove ourselves from complete self-obsession and listen to those who we are around.  It is vital in remembering that our mental obsessions are more than likely not true.  It is important in places that we feel difficult, uncomfortable or intolerable, as a remedy to remind us that faith in our God of our understanding is going to provide the answer in the time it is prescribed.

Patience can be learned.  I remember a pivotal time in my sobriety where I was asked by a woman I worked with if I could handle some constructive Criticism.  My head, naturally, feared what that criticism would be.  I agreed and listened.  She told me that I react to everything.  I knew in that moment, if I reacted… she would be right.  Instead I had another of the many psychic changes my life has experienced in program and knew that I needed to change the way I behaved (and thought).  In the weeks and months to follow I consciously became aware of how I handled people talking to me, or in some cases, just being around me.  This effected how I was perceived in the workplace, in social situations, and in the public.

My life changed because I learned that patience, a deep breath,  and restraint of pen and tongue were not only better for every situation around me, but always, without exception, made me feel better about myself.

In my world today I am looking for some changes in my work world.  There are problems that I am aware of and often working a program through.  I don’t want to react to them (we are not saints), even if they feel that they are not being dealt with and may “last forever.”  I am well aware that change is inevitable and that my faith in the situation as well as the God of my understanding will provide me the answers for what is uncomfortable when (and not until) those answers are meant to be provided.  It is what I do in the time spent before those answers arrive that will help to illustrate the sort of human being I am, have become and hope to remain.

In the meantime I am looking at what I have learned over the years and practicing patience and tolerance through remembering powerlessness, faith, my character defects, inventory, prayer, meditation and service in my life.  Nothing is going to be too much for me and I must remember that I will always be delivered to solution (whatever it looks like when we get there).  Taking action is not always about controlling the situation.  I am fortunate to have been given tools to grow and learn about this and so much more each and every day.

Stop. Smile. Breathe.

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