Earlier this month, I attended a retreat held by the team from Splashout Art Studios. One of the interesting events that still has me thinking weeks later was the word we picked from a random envelope in a bowl.

My word was patience. Of all things! My groan may or may not have been audible. I was not impressed, but the more I thought about it, the more I realised that it wasn’t the word I disliked so much, but my beliefs around the word.

For me, the word ‘patience’ brings back childhood memories of having to wait before running outside to play, or jump in the pool, waiting for slow people to catch up, being stuck in traffic when you’re late for an appointment, or driving behind a driver doing 40kms in a 60km/h zone. Then, I realised I didn’t dislike patience, what I really disliked was being impatient.

Patience is more about living in the moment than rushing ahead. So often, we are slaves to the clock, trying to push ourselves forwards without taking time to appreciate where we are.

2020 especially has been a big lesson in patience for everyone, as our world becomes slower and smaller in lockdown and we look inwards to places we are normally too busy to notice. Most of us want this time to end, for life to go back to normal.. as usual, we want to rush to the resolution. However, I think that if we look carefully, we can find things to appreciate within the pause.

So, I see that patience with the world, patience with others and within myself grants me the opportunity to slow down and appreciate all that is, in this moment, without expectation, without force, and it also entails a little faith that everything will work out as it should – or at least that we will handle whatever comes our way the best that we can, and if we find it overwhelming and need to stop and rest, then that’s ok too.

We do the best we can with what we have, in the time we are given, and the greatest thing most of us have any real control over is our state of mind.

I would rather choose to be calm and patient than frustrated and impatient but I know too, that these reactions are ingrained habits, and creating new habits take time and effort to change, which is another opportunity to practice patience.

So, many thanks to Krysia and Gaynor at Splashout Art Studios, for inspiring me to go down this thoughtful rabbit hole. It was certainly a retreat that keeps on giving!

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'Poolside' is an original abstract painting by Kathryn Gruber