Over the past few months, I have written about so many topics that relate to living our best lives. Self-awareness, reading, meditating, travel, vision, and so much more. It has been an honor to share this content with you, but there is another side to it–by putting this information out there, it also helps me to remember to apply it. If I don’t take my own advice, lol, I know that one of my friends or family will remind me of the things that I have said, and encourage me with the things that I am working on in my own life. In the midst of living your best life, you will have to deal with some of the harsher realities of life and we have talked about that as well—disappointment , fear, failure, and other things. Nevertheless, whenever any of these things happen, promise me that you will pick yourself up, shake yourself off, and keep moving forward. This week’s YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/2o5sfXKuf8U
This week, I want to talk a bit about patience. Recently, I was lamenting to my younger sister—ok I was complaining—about how long it was taking me to see the results for something that I had been working on. My younger sister Ali is an amazing human; she is magical like a mermaid, and definitely, a wise sage filled with wisdom that makes me think she has been here before. She always knows just what to say and when to say it.
I remember once I was going through a very rough time, and we were sitting in my car—it was a very cold winter day, and I am sure that I was crying. She said to me, “What season are we in?” I was confused, but looked at her, and said, “Well we are in winter. I mean it’s pretty obvious, it’s hella cold.” And she said, “Is it obvious?” and I said, “Yes, Ali, it is…” and she said, “What comes after winter?” and I said, “Spring.” And she said “Exactly. Right now at this very moment, you are having your own personal winter, but I can guarantee you that after winter, will come your spring.” I was quiet. I had to let the words sit with me; I needed them to touch my spirit. She was right of course—after that personal winter, came my personal spring, and a lot of things bloomed right when they were supposed to. It wasn’t obvious to me that I was in winter, but to anyone observing my life, they could see it, in the same way, we can feel the chill of winter.
It reminds me of a poem by Albert Camus, “Invincible Summer.”
In the midst of strife, I found there was, within me, an invincible love.
In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile.
In the midst of chaos, I found there was within me, an invincible calm.
In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me, there lay, an invincible summer. And, that makes me happy.
For it says, that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger…
~ Albert Camus
Each season of our lives has a purpose—I am convinced. Some of my most remarkable breakthroughs in life came after a personal winter. You never really know how strong you are, how capable, how adaptable you are until you are called to be. Know that when I say these things, I also mean that you may realize that you do not have to be strong, capable, and adaptable all by yourself. Sometimes, it means that you allow others to help you. No man is an island after all, or so they say.
So here I was recently, lamenting to Ali about the time that something was taking, and she says very calmly and matter of fact, “Chill sis, Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Naturally what happened after that was that life gave me all sorts of reminders and signs that sometimes we need to be patient. I am not a naturally patient person, but there have been moments in my life, where I have seen the need for life to play out according to divine timing. As I like to tell my own friends, the things you want are out there, but you don’t want them before time. If you have ever tried to eat unripe fruit, you know that it can have dire consequences. It is the same when we try to get or do something before time.
We do live in a society where instant gratification has supplanted the need to wait for anything. We can get almost anything that we want quickly, if we are living in certain parts of the world, and especially if we have certain resources. Even still, we have instant access to so much information, and the ability to connect to people worldwide quickly. Yet, there is also a beauty in allowing things to grow organically. There is a beauty in the “wait.” I have mentioned before that my family is from the country part of Jamaica—the beautiful Portland. Being in Portland is like being in an actual rainforest by the sea. It is green, vibrant, and lush. In the place where I am from, people have a deep connection to the land. Before she passed away, my great-aunt used to tell me, “If you take care of the land, the land will take care of you.” My grandfathers both did farming and there are so many important lessons from agriculture.
1) All soil is not created equally—be mindful of where and what you are sowing.
2) When you plant a seed, you cover it, water it, and allow the processes of nature to unfold. You don’t come to the seed every day and say, “Why haven’t you grown yet?” You allow the process to unfold. Sometimes we need to do the same with our own lives.
3) You may not tell everyone that you have planted something—and there are some things in your own life that you must allow to grow in silence. When the time is right—perhaps when you can see the flower or plant, then you might decide to tell someone else. The reality is that not everyone shares your vision, there will also be people who might feel jealous of your ability to plant, and so you protect your dreams by allowing them to grown in silence, or by telling the people who will water them with love and support.
4) When you plant something, you are trusting in the potential. Ralph Waldo Emerson says that, “The creation of a thousand forests lie in one acorn.” It is also said that we should not despise small beginnings. Further supported by the Chinese proverb, “A journey of one thousand miles starts with a single step.” You must start if there is something that you want to achieve. Thinking about it great, but it is better if you do it. Many years ago, I wanted to go back to school. Several people questioned this because I already had a law degree. Someone said, “Oh, you are working, so it is going to take extra long.” But I felt the desire burning in my soul. I went back to school in what was a particularly stressful time in my life, and studied Library and Information Sciences. I took two classes per semester while working, and graduated before I knew it. That course of study not only led to some exciting adventures and experiences—including a trip to Italy that included a tour of the Vatican Secret Archives, but that also led to an academic publication, and work as an adjunct professor. If I listened to everyone else, if I hadn’t started, none of the other things that have helped make my life feel personally meaningful would not have happened.
5) Your crop can fail, but you can plant again. Failure is something that can happen with planting anything! In Jamaica hurricanes, or a drier than normal season, have wiped out entire harvests. It hurts, and in some cases, it comes with financial implications. However, I have never seen a farmer give up because of a bad harvest. Instead, they plant again, and make contingency plans for when something happens that they didn’t plan for. I heard a talk with Denzel Washington, and he said, “If you haven’t failed, that means you haven’t even tried.” He talked about showing up for an audition and not getting it, Ok, he didn’t get it, he just went home and practiced for the next audition and the next. Failure happens. I have experienced failure many times in my own life, and when I have—yes, I cry—because I am a water bucket, but I get up and try again. My favorite, Maya Angelou said, “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
6) One day you will take a look over what you have grown—your garden, and you will be proud. Be proud of yourself. It is ok to be proud of yourself. We need to normalize this!
Many of us see social media and we see the “highlight reel” that people post. Most people are not showing you the hard work that they are putting into making something happen. They are just showing the beautiful outcome. Anything that you devote yourself to opens you up to being vulnerable, to having to put in the work, and to possible failure. But there is also the possibility of success and of doing something that feels meaningful and worthwhile to you. Most people that you see as successful are not overnight successes, they honed their craft, they practiced, and most of all they were consistent.
Picasso and Mozart did not become who they were in one night. They practiced, and became masters in their field. Robert Greene, in his book, “Mastery” said that it takes 10000 hours to become a master at something. He also said, “To the extent that we believe we can skip steps, avoid the process, magically gain power through political connections or easy formulas, or depend on our natural talents, we move against this grain and reverse our natural powers. We become slaves to time – as it passes, we grow weaker, less capable, trapped in some dead end career. We become captive to the opinions and fears of others.” “This intense connection and desires allows them to withstand the pain of the process – the self-doubts, the tedious hours of practice and study, the inevitable setbacks, the endless barbs from the envious. They develop a resiliency and confidence that others lack.” Don’t skip the steps. Be consistent. Consistency outweighs talent and inspiration every time. Dwayne Johnson said, “Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.”
So all of this is just to remind you that if you have something in mind that you want to start, or if you have started something and haven’t yet seen the results that you want to, please remember that as Ali said, “Just chill, Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Keep showing up, and your success will come. Sometimes, the great mysteries of this universe remind us that timing is also an important factor. So you want to be prepared because, “luck is when opportunity meets preparation.” I am rooting for you, and reminding you that somethings need time to grow, and when they do, it will be worth it! May the stars shine brightly over your week, and be it be a beautiful one indeed!