And The Lesson Is . . . ?
Well, I seem to go through this almost every month. The days slip by on the calendar, and I don’t have a clue as to what to write about for the next newsletter. Not that I have to write something – actually, I really want to write something – but I’m a little short on inspiration – again. I like to have a germ of an idea at least ten days before it is due and actually start writing with about five days left. That way (with luck) I might be able to let it “simmer” on the back burner of my mind for a day or so before a final edit.
I tried asking “My Guys” (my Spirit guides) for some help with an idea, but all I got was “Don’t worry, you have plenty of time.” This went on almost daily for over two weeks, but still no help. I finally told my wife that I was frustrated at not having an idea that inspired me. She wasn’t any help either. She just said “You have to have patience!” That was not what I needed to hear at all. She was just mirroring for me something that I have told her repeatedly over the years, and now it was just the right “trigger” to launch another round of frustration, all the while silently (this time) moaning and groaning about my plight. The frustration continued to mount each day, but with only four days left I still had nothing.
About that time “My Guys” interjected with “Don’t worry. It will come to you in a flash of insight. You’ll be fine. Just relax and have some patience.” The word “relax” reminded me of having used that word a couple of months ago when I wrote about their telling me to “Relax, Trust, and Do What Feels Good!” And then there was that other word – again – “patience”. I could feel myself tensing up at the sound of that maddening admonition. I thought to myself, “What’s going on here?”
The answer didn’t come until the next morning in the middle of my shower. The warm droplets of water on my head seemed to finally drive home what this was all about. It had nothing to do with getting an article written at all. It was all about a lesson I didn’t realize that I have struggled with for decades, and (obviously) still haven’t adequately learned. “My Guys” were right (funny how they always seem to be right). In a flash of insight I remembered something I wrote many years ago and added to as I passed the mark of each succeeding decade.
Sometime in my very early twenties I summed up my feelings in what became my motto at the time. I had just graduated from college with two Bachelor’s degrees and plenty of extra academic credits, all while working at multiple jobs and seriously courting a beautiful young woman. We married, and I began graduate school. I was a young and vigorous man on the MOVE, and I honestly felt that “Patience is a virtue for those who have time to wait.” Of course, I had all the patience in the world. I just saw “patience” as a polite way to gloss over inaction and laziness, something for which I didn’t have much tolerance.
By the time I turned 30 years of age I had earned a Master’s degree, completed a tour as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force, started my first “real job” as an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist, and was in the middle of finishing my PhD dissertation and publishing research papers in my field. It was all very exciting and very busy – almost exhausting. I noticed that after the birth of our first child I began to mellow somewhat, and one day wrote, “Patience is a virtue.” That seemed to satisfy me at that time. After all, there is really nothing wrong with patience – at least as long as it isn’t abused.
Sometime after my 40th birthday the pressures of helping my wife to raise three children in addition to my job of constant teaching, research activity, service responsibilities, and earning tenure and promotion in three different departments at the university where I worked began to take their toll. I felt as if I were being pulled in seventeen directions at once almost every day, and it was all I could do to keep up. My motto for living was shortened to simply “Patience!” There was a slight “edge” to the tone of my voice when I said it, but I think now that was just a (not very good) way of saying “Don’t worry, I’ll catch up; I’ll get to it; I am just a little overloaded right now.”
By the time I reached age 50 or so, I knew I had to make a change for my sanity, if not just for my health. The daily rat-race of academic politics, the insane insatiable demand to “publish or perish,” and the brain-deadening necessity of constantly grading student papers were sucking me dry. My patience was almost burned to a crisp at that point and I knew it. I reluctantly left academia and transported my family (two in high school and one in college) 2,500 miles away to a new home and a new way of life. Patience as an ideal to work toward became reflected in my more “mature” motto: “Patience is next to Godliness.” Oh, to finally reach that point in my life!
That was a decade of much turmoil and change for all of us, as well as what everyone in the family I’m sure would now call “incredible growth” in almost every department of life, including spirituality. By the time I reached my early sixties, our children were all accomplished adults either in or just completing graduate school, and beginning their own careers. After working again in industry in different capacities, I had begun to lose interest in my chosen profession. The seeming futility of trying to help organizations become better places for people to work was becoming a major burden. Stock prices and profit margins were all that those at the top were interested in, no matter what it took to get there. I wanted to transition my working life more toward working for Spirit as well as wanting to place greater emphasis on my own soul growth. Realizing that I had so far to go, so much to learn and accomplish, and so little time left, I had begun to entertain the hope of “more grace and less growth”. I found myself changing my motto once again: “Lord, please be patient with me!”
Then came the most profound life change of all. Even though I had ardently studied metaphysics and spirituality for over 30 years, I didn’t really begin to understand how it all fit together until I came across the teachings of Maitreya and of Abraham. Until then it was all “book learning”. I became a healing practitioner and past-life therapist, and helped to open the Maitreya Learning and Healing Center in Redmond, Washington. The spiritual growth that I had so long sought really began in earnest. As the intensity of working through the stages of spiritual transformation increased, I pretty much forgot about my “motto” and focused my efforts on other matters. So much to learn, so much to do, and so much enthusiasm for getting on with it! I began to realize more and more that there is no spiritual “destination” as such. The journey is the destination, and the journey is mine to mold and create in whatever fashion I choose. And what an exciting adventure it is!
But I still have this article to write sometime in the next three days and … In the middle of my shower it occurred to me that I still have a lesson to learn about patience. What is patience other than relaxing and trusting that everything and everyone is in exactly the place they need to be for furthering their soul evolution? Oh, and the part about “Do What Feels Good”? That is simply the process of aligning all of our energies with Higher Self by stripping away all that is holding us back – the negative emotions and associated baggage accumulated over many lifetimes.
Standing there, I could feel “My Guys” chuckling to themselves through the sound of the water. How can they not be frustrated with our denseness when they try so hard to help us to help ourselves? Talk about patience! I guess that patience comes not only with a sense of humor but also with unconditional love, and I could feel that in their voices as well.
As I approach my seventh decade, I’m finally beginning to see a resolution to this pattern of “patience this” and “patience that” throughout my life. Duuhh! I’m really going to have to do something about changing my motto – or maybe not. Maybe I don’t need to change my motto so much as to change me. OK, “Guys”. I think I finally get it (or at least part of it). Maybe I’ll just adopt as my new motto the lesson of “Relax, Trust, and Do What Feels Good!” Wish me luck – I’m on my way!