Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other?
So says Morgan Freeman, playing a wise and benevolent God, in the 2007 movie Evan Almighty.
That quote has remained very alive for me, because I’m constantly being given opportunities in my life to be patient. Opportunities to practice and learn patience, as I often say. Some who know me well tell me that once I decide to go for something, I want it to happen “yesterday”. As if that is even possible. Yes, I’m apparently that impatient.
Courage, Family and Patience
Those who know me would probably agree that I have the courageous thing down, because I’m not often faced with opportunities to be courageous. The family thing; I’m blessed in this area, but am still given many opportunities there too. We can never have enough opportunities to love each other can we? But patience. It is almost laughable, often after the fact, how frequently this opportunity presents itself to me. In the fast-paced world we live in, I’d say daily, if not even more frequently.
People tell me how patient I am when it comes to other people and situations. However, when it comes to myself, the word patience becomes a word from an alien language. The interesting part is that I have spent a large majority of my life as a “patient”, both in and out of the traditional medical system, and maybe it was my courage that got me through those dark hours. Somehow I mustered the courage to follow my inner voice and marched, (more like crawled), through with conviction. Often to the surprise and amazement of others who couldn’t understand my choices.
I was generally on my own, taking risks and trusting something that was perhaps unseen; far grander than science and statistics. This part of my life I’ve chronicled in my book Confessions of a Middle-Aged Hippie. The ever-trusting, not so patient, patient. Kind of ironic. Patient as a noun is one thing. Patient as an adjective. Different story altogether.Patient as a noun is one thing. Patient as an adjective is quite a different story. #patience #learningClick To Tweet
The Definition of Patient
The Webster dictionary definition of “patient” is “bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint.” It sounds easy when you boil it down to these few words, doesn’t it? A noble virtue to possess. I wonder how many of us have this ability, in our daily “hurry up and wait” lives though. Apparently patience is one of the more elusive virtues to master.
On a recent once-a-year hospital visit, (I don’t have to spend much time there anymore thankfully), I was once again given the opportunity to wait patiently, but this time it was in the lobby at the Starbucks. I was looking forward to buying my daily Chai (tea) and leaving the premises for another year. And what was I presented with? Of course, an opportunity to be patient while waiting in a long seemingly stalled non-moving line.
An Opportunity to Practice Patience
Serviced by only one cashier, it was jammed because the first person in line was ordering for six other people and they must have been thinking this was a gourmet lunch spot, judging by the breadth of what they were ordering. One of everything it seemed.
The line was getting longer and longer and I was finding that any calm and patience I might have had, disappeared, leaving me increasingly anxious and wondering when they might call up another cashier to help us thirsty visitors. Practicing patient waiting was definitely not on my mind in that moment.
Before I had a chance to speak up, (I often do that too, always in a polite manner, and generally everyone else in line is relieved I was the one to bring voice to the silent majority consciousness), the harried cashier asked her colleague to jump on the second cash.
Passing Time, Practicing Patience
Quickly another cashier showed and the next up in line was a doctor, who proceeded to ask what seemed like at least three dozen questions. I heard the words “fruit choices” and “banana” a few times, and after what seemed like an eternity, he decided not to order anything at all, turning and walking away empty-handed.
Interesting how your perspective on time changes, when you’re waiting and short on patience. The situation gave me the opportunity to start a conversation with the lovely lady behind me, who was also calmly waiting, taking note of pretty much the same things I was. We both kept smiling, talking and observing what was going on in front of us. Why do we continue to wait in situations like this, when we know there is another shop probably just around the corner? Testing our own patience, perhaps.
She mentioned that she finds these long lines a common phenomena at all coffee shops, suggesting it would be interesting if someone wrote something about this.
Writer to the Rescue!
Writer to the rescue! I tell her I am indeed a writer and she is excited and quickly wants to become a reader of everything I’ve written. Our lively conversation eased my feelings of impatience and soon enough, I was being called up as the next in line to order.
The fact that I generally have to explain my choice several times, didn’t matter anymore, because I’d made a connection with someone new and she actually said that meeting me made this, “her lucky day”. Wow! I appreciated hearing that and acknowledged that if I hadn’t have been given this opportunity to be patient, it’s unlikely I would have met this interesting person who brightened and uplifted my day as well.
And so it goes. Every day we are offered opportunities to engage and influence someone else’s day. If we choose to seize the opportunities. I reflected on how all my days as a “patient” have served me well. How I now have the ability to observe and be patient to the other’s situation. I just need to keep reminding myself to practice being patient towards myself. Simple, right?Practicing being patient with ourselves is not always as simple as it sounds. #patience Click To Tweet
Giving to Others
Funny how some days we don’t even have to say a word to the other person, as something as simple as a smile we offer to a passing stranger can change their day. Practice being patient and keep smiling. Sounds like something I want to stay consciously aware of and actually continue to do. It seems almost assured that the opportunity to be patient will continue being offered to me.
Where does my lack of patience comes from? A desire to get where I’m going faster and sooner perhaps. I sometimes wonder why I’m in such a rush, anyways. Maybe it has to do with my constant desire to fly, as I admitted in my walking article. I’m hopeful that one day I’ll learn this thing called patience. I’m willing to practice. Not that I seem to have a choice not to. I had to smile when I saw this on the bumper sticker of a speeding car: God give me patience… Now!
Curious to hear where are you asked to practice patience in your life?
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Thank you for this excellent write-up, Beverley.I am more of the patient type that loves to slow down and realize what each day holds for us. My patience as recently tasted when I visited our supermarket last Sunday. It was the only one open around my area at the hour, and I met this couple who had issues with their credit card and kept all of us on the queue for minutes. I could have decided to drive to another one ( about 10 minutes drive) but decided to exercise patience and wait for the hurdle to be cleared.
I think I need a sticker too that reads ” God give me patience… Now!”
You are very fortunate to be a patient person, Apolline. It is a great gift to slow day and appreciate each day. And I agree that we have daily opportunities that test our patience and I think how you responded is the healthier way. The fact that you weighed your options and chose to stay, is a great example of patience in action. I think that bumper sticker would be an amazing reminder if we saw it while driving in traffic. Maybe more cars need it to help us all practice patience!
Patience was a main challenge for me when I used to live in New York. I think I have become more patient when I moved to Chicago were the pace is a little bit slower. Also, I think getting older and being married to someone who is patient helped me improve.
Considering both New York and Chicago are big cities, it is interesting that you find you were able to slow down there and be more patient. Maybe it is like that for us all as we get older and also it sounds like your husband has been a big influence too, Lorii.
Patience is difficult for me to. I’m not naturally patient, but I’ve had to learn to cultivate it over the past few years. Having worked in the “hurry up and wait” entertainment industry for years, I’ve learned that events or things you’re waiting on have their own timelines, and those may not correspond to the timeline I’d like for them to have. I used to obsess over how long things took, but finally I had to let go of that. I realized that letting go of the outcome helped me do that. If I let it go, I was able to be more at peace with the waiting, and frankly, saw better results come my way as well. Funny how that works…
I agree with you about the entertainment industry being the perfect place to practice patience, Jennifer. It is definitely a ‘hurry up and wait’ environment all the time, based on my experiences as well. I think when we do let go of the timing for the desired outcomes, it is freeing and it sounds like you have embraced that and accepted it in your life now too. Not always easy, but worth it. And yes, the results often surprise us. It is funny how that works. 😉
I Love that “God give me patience, NOW”…we all want immediate gratification and it’s good to have to wait for things every now and then. Not fun, but good. Thanks.
Great observation Cathy! We seem to be a society who does want instant gratification and we are all being given opportunities to practice patience. I really loved that bumpersticker too. The timing for seeing it was not lost on me either.
I think an interesting piece of the puzzle is how technology gives us things more quickly. We then assume it should apply to everything else in life. I also think there is an element of the me” generation still in effect. I’m learning from the elderly, They have to be patient because they can’t go fast anymore. So, I’ve decided it’s better to be patient early on and let old age take its time catching up to me.
That’s a great observation, Joyce! I think that with things speeding up in the world, possibly patience becomes more challenging. Maybe it is a result of this ‘me’ generation and how everything as quickly as possible was the goal. The elderly have a very different perspective, although my mother (who is 101) still wants to move and do things fast. Her frustration is that isn’t possible, so she is learning patience in her ‘old age’. It is better to be patient and that’s a great lesson you have learned and practice. It is a much less stressful way to live.
Patience is a virtue that I do not have! The definition of patience was a surprise to me. In my mind, it’s a little about being able to wait, which I’m terrible at doing! I enjoyed reading about your journey and the circumstances you’ve been put into that require a trait you don’t have. I remember that line from Evan Almighty–it stood out indeed. I’m very careful what I pray for. 😉 It’s impressive that you consider your behavior and try to improve it. We’re all a work in progress, but some people don’t want to bother with improvement or self awareness. If you’re like me and a writer at heart, you reflect on life much more than the average person!
You sound a lot like me Meghan! I would say patience for myself needs a lot of practice. We are all a work in progress and I think through awareness we can make changes and grow. Yes, we writers do observe the world differently and it always makes such interesting fodder for reflection and for new articles. 🙂
I’m with you… I have the courage part… tho patience isn’t for me… lol And well.. the family thing… well I have that going on but from my generation and down.. as for going up.. yea… they didn’t all seem to pan out.. nor understand the value of family.
Seems we all are being asked to practice patience more frequently these days, Kristen! Glad you have courage down too. It’s great that in spite of your early family issues, you are making a concentrated effort to create a great family environment for your kids.
I can so relate to this Beverley minus the patience. I am working on it. There is a new health food store in Spokane and I’ve only been their twice. I stop when I want to get in and get out because it’s not my usual store. Both times I was the second in line and watched the person ahead of me wait until they have their items wrung before they reach for their money. They chatted with the cashier who also went on and on and I responded with impatience. My first thought is usually “People don’t have a clue how they affect others.” The second thought is usually “I am way to busy and need to do less so I don’t feel like others are wasting my time.” Not there yet, but I’ll think of how you dealt with it when this happens at another store. Already decided not to shop there again. Wonder if I will be less impatient when I have more time.
It’s amazing what goes through our minds when we feel rushed or in other situations that test our patience, Candess! I completely resonate with your story about ‘friendly’ conversations at check outs too. I guess the way is to kindly ask if the person in front of you would mind if you went ahead of them as you are on a deadline. Easier said than done, perhaps. It seems all of us are being challenged to practice patience all the time. I am not sure it is completely aligned with how much time we have, but more the situations that trigger us.
A great article. Patience is a very important virtue in the world we live in and depends on how we are raised, but growing up in adulthood patience is one of the best virtues you can have. Many times the fundamental theory of patience scares people, but truly it’s what inside of you and it takes practice for some. I rather wait it out and it is a life lesson cause you can gain so much from listening and giving someone else your time. It takes time to gather the principles of being patient, but with mindfulness and meditation it helps dramatically.
Glad you enjoyed this post, Lori! I agree that patience is one of the most important virtues any of us can possess in today’s world. It takes practice and both mindfulness and meditation are great tools to help master it. My sense from everyone’s feedback is that patience is one of the big challenges for many of us! Well worth practicing though.
This is such a delightful post, Beverley. I love your story of the Starbuck’s line (was that photo for real!!!???) and how you turned it around into something absolutely wonderful for both the lovely lady you were chatting with and for yourself. Maybe I related to this one because you were really speaking for me when you wrote: “But patience. It is almost laughable, often after the fact, how frequently this opportunity presents itself to me. In the fast-paced world we live in, I’d say daily, if not even more frequently.” Yup, that’s me, and it is an elusive virtue, for sure, and I am working on it! xo
So happy you enjoyed this post, Reba! And that it resonated with you. The Starbucks story is true, that photo isn’t from that day, however, imagine the people who were standing in line to get to the front of that one! I find that I am better being patient towards others than to myself. And I definitely am given opportunities to practice patience daily in my life as well. It is an elusive virtue. One that some say is the master virtue of them all. Still working on mastering it here too. All the best and enjoy practicing. xo
This is a great article. I practice patience all the time but I am learning more and more, especially in the last year that life is too short and it can be taken away in a second so when I find myself becoming impatient I take a deep breath, close my eyes, and say a quick prayer for patience. Does it always work? No, but I really try and work on it. My aging mother has lived with me seven years now and in the past few months this vibrant, funny woman has started showing her age and it is heartbreaking so I need to practice my patience daily. I’ve lost two close friends within a couple of months this year. I’m also in a walking group and I didn’t do a race yesterday because of family time but a lady in the race was killed instantly walking on the sidewalk when a driver came up over the curb and hit her. Then he ran from the scene. So my outlook in the past six months is life is too darn short so when I feel impatience coming on; I really try to step back, take a deep breath, and find something to smile or laugh about… Thanks for this blog to help me remember!
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Thanks so much for sharing all of these moments from your own life, Colleen. That story about the lady in the race, is so sad and certainly hits home how impermanent our lives are. Every moment is to be savoured and yet we humans are still constantly being challenged to step back, be grateful and practice patience. It must be very challenging to watch your mother decline, and I know I should be much more grateful to have a 99-year-old mother who is still vibrant and active and contributing to the world. Your life situations certainly do highlight how important it is to be very conscious of how precious life is, and to savour them and not be in a rush to get to the next moment and then the next moment. I appreciate you sharing all this with us all.
This article came right on time. Being an entrepreneur takes tons of PATIENCE. Being a therapist takes tons of PATIENCE! My patience has been tested the most as I have been building my brand over the past 2 years. I believe I work hard but question if I could work harder in order to get to where I want to be faster. The biggest lesson in patience I am learning to embrace is the importance of embracing my unique journey. What GOD has for me is for me and will happen when I am ready to receive it.
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It is so true, Sharise, that in both our personal and our business lives, we seem to be asked constantly to practice the big P. Patience. I imagine that once we set out with a dream and are taking the steps to grow a practice or business, it is challenging to stay focused on the longer goal and not to be impatient for the quick results. I am also constantly being asked to practice patience daily in my own life. You also sound like you are embracing your journey with great wisdom and trust and staying open to receive whatever is coming your way, shows that you are in the unique place of allowing. Thanks so much for sharing with us all!
Hi Beverley 🙂
Really enjoyed reading your post on “patience” as I am one of the MOST impatient people on the planet lol!
I must admit reading about how important it is to have patience made me nod my head in agreement, as I am always working on my patience daily!
So many people want NOW and do not wish to WAIT, and I USED to be one of them, but over the last year I have learned to be more patience because I know all good things come to you in time and at the right now!
Great share my friend 🙂
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Happy to hear this piece resonated with you Joan. I am seeing that most people have their own challenges with patience and that they readily admit they are very impatient. I totally get that one too. 😉
We certainly have created an environment in our world where anytime but now isn’t soon enough. Yet, wisdom is gained through experience and life is definitely a journey of experiences. It’s also nice to hear you are more conscious of this in your own life and are more appreciative of the process and knowing that all things do come to you in time, if it is right for you. Thanks so much for sharing your perspective here too!
My test with patience comes recently when I needed to update my computer. I have to tell myself it’s a process and may take time so I won’t get frustrated with it. Thanks for sharing your insight.
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Sounds like you are managing having patience as well as you can with the current circumstances, Sabrina. Hopefully you are getting closer to resolution and the process will be a distant memory soon. Thanks for sharing!
I don’t know very many people who enjoy “practicing patience,” since we’re so conditioned to have something “right now.” Yet we can’t really acquire patience without first being put to the test.
My biggest patience situation right now is waiting on all the details to work out so hubby and I can move back to my home state where my two youngest adult daughters and their hubbies live – and where my two granddaughters live!
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I would agree with you K. Lee. We have created a world where once we decide we want something, we want it now. It seems practicing patience is becoming ever more important in our hurry-up-and-wait society.
Sounds like practicing patience for your upcoming move will be very well worth it, although I can only imagine how much you’d want to have it happen as soon as possible. Enjoy the process of getting there. It sounds like everyone will be very happy to be together in close proximity again.
I had to chuckle as I read this, Beverley. Patience is something I definitely have to keep at top of mind. I tend to process things quickly and get frustrated waiting for others to do their own inner processing. Breathe becomes my mantra. And, of course, the thought of people being patient while waiting in line at Starbucks for their daily caffeine fix brings a smile to my face. Good for you for making the most of your opportunity to be patient.
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That’s a perfect way to describe where much of my impatience comes from as well, Deb. I process things at lightening speed and then have to wait for others to catch up. Thanks for that!
Good to hear that you call on your breathe to slow you down and bring you back to the moment. Yes, the thought of people waiting in long lines anywhere, brings a smile to my face. And yet, we do it. On the phone waiting for “the next available operator” and in person daily at places like Starbucks. It helps when you can talk with other people who are also waiting…and waiting.
Patience has never been my strong point, Beverley and one that I have had to work on over the years. Now if I find myself getting impatient, I take a step back and then let it go because I’m only harming myself. The Serenity Prayer helps. 🙂 I’m impressed that you wrote such a wonderful piece on such a difficult topic for many of us.
Happy to hear that you enjoyed this piece on a difficult topic, Vatsala. Yes, now that I am reading all the comments, seems that this thing called patience does challenge more people than I thought when I wrote this. The curious thing is to look more closely at the why behind it I guess. I imagined it was just me wired this way. Love the idea of doing the serenity prayer as a way to take a step back and refocus your energy from frustration to inner calm. The perfect way to practice patience. 🙂
I used to joke with a friend how much we hated the “w” word – waiting. Patience has never been a strong point with me, it interferes too much with my to-do list. I love that you found a way to make the most of your waiting time in the queue and then benefited from the experience. If we see waiting as an opportunity rather than a drag, it is so much easier and often doesn’t even feel like we are waiting.I really enjoyed this article Beverley and it’s really timely this time of year when there are longer lines and more things to do. I find a lot of people, especially shoppers and drivers, get really angry at a time we are supposed to be spreading the love.
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Thanks for sharing that you too have challenges waiting and being patient. It seems I struck a chord with so many people. Who knew? Somehow I though maybe I was the only one faced with this impatient nature of mine. Hopefully as we gain wisdom and years, we do find a way to slow down and see these times as opportunities. To practice one of the more difficult virtues, patience. Glad you enjoyed this article Tamuria and also that you have the ability to step back and find the positive in a generally stressful situation. And yes, this is definitely the time of year when our collective patience is tried to the max.
I’m impressed you could write a blog on ‘patience’ that is fascinating, informative & personal, as well as well written. Like you, I have more patience for others, none for hubby & most for daughter. I am given the opportunity daily between the two to practice being patient. She often tells me she is being patient with me & I think (it doesn’t look that way) so maybe patience is also relative.
Thanks for your glowing words for this post, Roslyn. I honestly had no idea if people would relate to it and yet, seems everyone does. Most of us are less patient with ourselves than we are with others. And I’d say like you, my family members probably take the brunt of my daily impatience. I’m learning to accept others as they are, even though it seems I’d like them to be like me. That is fascinating to hear the relationship between you and your daughter. Maybe we don’t see how patient others need to be with us. It is good to hear the other person’s experience as maybe that helps us be more patient overall. Appreciate you sharing about your own challenges with patience.
I am most impatient with myself. One of the things that helps me is to “cherish *this* moment. And tell myself, “You’re doing great!”
I can relate to that Jackie. I’d say I am most impatient with myself as well. Although I love your way of managing it. Turning it into an opportunity to congratulate yourself and bringing your focus back to the moment. I am going to try that.
Okay, I can only laugh with you here, Beverley! Patience. Can I just go run a marathon instead? But so true that when you pray for patience, you get opportunities to learn it 🙂
I just love your antidote of making a connection! I’m going to utilize that at the next opportunity. Which I’m sure will come soon enough . . .
Because patience has been a big one for me throughout my life, Susan, I thought it would be a topic that everyone can relate to. And from your comments and those of others, it seems that indeed, this is one of the big ones in so many people’s lives. It makes me wonder what is at the heart of this impatience so many of us seem to admit to. I literally am known as the person who once I’ve made up my mind that I want something to happen, I would like that to be yesterday. Interesting topic patience, and I had no idea what to anticipate when others read it. Seems it strikes a common chord with a lot of people.
A very timely article for me right now. Patience is one of those behind the scenes practices that challenges us in the most personal and private ways. My patience has been tried to its limits these past two weeks when my family was suddenly faced with a brutal trauma. And now in the aftermath of it all my patience continues to be tried, because the healing process is once again, personal and private to each individual who has been affected by this incident. I want it to be over, but I have to remind myself that this is a lesson in patience for the long journey. Thanks for the article.
First of all I am so sorry to hear you have been dealing with a brutal trauma in your life, Melanie. How does one be with that and practice patience in the midst of it? As we know, the effects of these types of events definitely stay with us and as much as we want them to “be gone”, we never know how long the healing process will take. Reading this is made me wonder how patience and anger might be tied together. Just a thought that our frustration often leads to anger and practicing patience may not always be as possible as we would like, no matter how conscience we are of practicing it. Glad this article brought some insight to you at this time.
I thoroughly enjoyed your article, Beverley. It has made me reflect on my own impatience. Coincidentally, yesterday before I left home to run errands I made a commitment to myself to be patient and positive with everyone I encountered. Whew! My approach certainly did not change anyone’s behaviour, but I did get back home less exhausted and wound up than usual. Now, after reading your article, that being patient helps me probably more than it helps the person on whom I would have unleashed my impatience!
Thanks so much Dianne. Happy to hear you enjoyed this article. Ah yes, patience. I love that you made the commitment to yourself before you left home to be patient and stay positive regardless of what and who you encountered. And it’s amazing to hear that the difference you felt was actually notable. How great to hear that you came home, less exhausted and less stressed than usual. A wonderful testament to the power of practising patience whenever and wherever you go.
I try to say hello and smile while in line to keep the mood positive. It is sometimes hard to remember when the line is long. Great post and reminder to smile and be patient
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Thanks for sharing Renee. I think it is often hard to be present and conscious of just kicking back, smiling and practice patience. Having spent a lot of years being frustrated to no end when I had to wait longer than I believed I should have to, I hope that with age, I have mellowed a little and am somewhat more patient than I used to be. Hopefully.
“Practice being patient and keep smiling.” Good advice. I’m afraid I’m not a very patient person. Of course it varies from situation to situation. Waiting in line drives me batty. People who say “I’m running late” – always and think that excuse makes it okay for her to waste 15 – 30 minutes of my life. I don’t make plans with those people and I generally walk away from lines unless it can’t be avoided such as in a supermarket. Nice post, Beverley.
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Thanks for sharing your “impatience” with us Beth. Seems that it is truly one of the things so many of us are continuously being “asked” to practice. I’d say that like you, I am generally an impatient person and yet people see me as being very patient with others. Waiting in lines always frustrates me, however, I’ve learned to step back take a breath and not get unwound because of the wait. Some days it is harder to do that than others. Glad you enjoyed the post!
In the world we live in, you can easily practice patience every day. When in a line up at the grocery store, it’s not the cashiers fault there is a line up. It’s the manager on duty that hasn’t scheduled people properly based on the number of customers in the store. So why take it out on the cashier? plus, if someone gives her a hard time, she’ll end up frustrated and it will make the experience worse for the next person in line.
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Absolutely agree with you Gisele. Seems in our high-pitched world, filled with many distractions and hurry-up-and-wait situations, that we are being called on all the time to step back, relax and practice patience. Just reading the comments from everyone here, it certainly seems that “patience” is indeed one of the virtues that is very hard to master. I agree that we need to keep our impatience to ourselves and not take it out inappropriately on the nearest person to us in the moment.
Just wanted to say I loved this article. I’m trying to be conscious of slowing down and recognising what each day presents. Rather than rushing all the time. Your article was fresh and I encouraging. Thank you.
Thanks for stopping by Anjelica. With our world speeding up and almost 24/7 distractions, we all are being asked to slow down and be more present. Glad you found something that resonated for you in this piece! I appreciate your comments and here’s to a much slower pace for us all!
It’s difficult to find well-informed people in this particular subject, but you seem like
you know what you’re talking about! Thanks
Thanks for stopping by and reading and commenting Helena! Appreciate the vote of approval.
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Thanks so much Shela. I appreciate you reading and recommending my piece. All the best.
I am continually looking online for ideas that can facilitate me. Thx!
Hi Brooks. Glad you found something that helps facilitate you. Patience is one of my big life lessons, so happy to hear someone else resonates with this too!