choosing the tortoise over the hare: the search for patience

I spent 2011 pretty focused on changing myself externally- lost some weight, got some stories in the mail. These changes have been really good for me, but they’ve also illuminated many of my flaws: impatience, ego, desire, and did I mention impatience? While I plan on continuing on in my quests for better health and more publications, I think my focus needs some readjusting.

So, this year I’m going to work at cultivating patience, to focus on the process rather than the end result. What does this  mean, practically speaking?

That in my writing, the focus will be on making words. Not marketing, not selling myself, not the cart ahead of the horse. Just the horse. This year, I want to write my heart out and love every minute of it and not give a tinker’s damn about anything else.

I want to write more short stories, but rather than demanding of myself to produce a certain number of stories under a particular time constraint, I’m designating one day a week to dedicate to writing short fiction, and again, my plan is to just focus on the work, the means, rather than the ends. The ends will happen, I don’t need to sweat and strain and bulge out my forehead veins to get there.

In my personal life, the focus will be on making connections of empathy and kindness. I have a three year old boy, a delightful, hilarious, infuriating little person of constant motion and noise. He needs me to be present, mentally and emotionally, and I need patience for that, and that’s all there is to it. And really, my overworked husband could use some empathy borne of patience from me too. And that’s just the family, just the start of the possible connections of kindness I could make this year.

In the interest of cultivating patience, I am starting a meditation practice. I really hesitate to write that down, because it seems exactly like the sort of thing one does for two weeks in January and then abandons, but there you are. Yesterday I bought Mindfulness in Plain English, read most of it, and meditated for 20 minutes. I thought I would get really bored, but when the timer buzzed it shocked the hell out of me: I thought it’d been five minutes, not twenty. I’m not saying it was easy or that I was particularly good at it, I’m just saying I did it and think I should probably do it some more, if I am sincere in this quest for patience.

I am continuing to journal, because it’s very helpful for me to stay aware of myself. I am going to keep track of every new book I read this year, and I plan on reading my face off. I don’t have a set “goal” of books to hit, or have chosen a specific place to write about them yet: my blog? Maybe Goodreads? I dunno that I’ll review them in any depth, I expect merely to note the title, the author, and a few general impressions, but I do plan to start keeping track of everything I read.

So, in 2012 I will:

write my heart out

read my face off

be kind: present, thoughtful, empathetic


…and hopefully, as the result of all this, I will cultivate more patience.