That 'patience' lesson has been one that the Universe has offered to me over and over most of my life, but since 1997 I've been really aware when it presents itself.
I think I'm there again, although I'm not sure exactly what I'm needing to be patient about this time.
My life changed drastically in 1997 (although there was actually a lead-in of several years that I can see now that I have the perspective of time and hindsight). I was working in Birmingham, Ala., for a multinational company that sent me to the San Francisco area to visit other offices and to meet with my colleagues from there and from the East Coast offices.
It was a wonderful time: I explored the city, went to a meditation retreat in Marin County, ate wonderful food, met with my colleagues and worked on planning and projects, and thought a lot -- a LOT -- about what I wanted. I was 49 years old and so many of my friends were going through huge changes in their lives -- illnesses, divorces, moves -- best known as "mid-life crises." About that time I discovered Gail Sheehy's New Passages, a followup to her best-selling book Passages, and realized that we women were not losing our minds and that certainly our feelings and actions were not unusual. It was liberating to understand that.
I came home knowing that I belonged in California, more specifically in the SF Bay area, and that I did not want to look back at my life when I was dying and wonder "what if." I wanted to be who I was, not who I was expected to be any longer. That message from the Universe was crystal clear.
So I started to work towards that goal, involving many long distance job applications, hours of reading and talking to friends who lived there already and with those who knew me best, approaching my company for a job, and -- yes, a divorce.
From April until August -- really not long at all -- I worked single-mindedly at this, crying a lot, praying a lot, meditating a lot, reflecting on who I wanted to be, and trying -- STRUGGLING -- to be patient. In August, one of my employers' offices in the SF area came through with a job offer and I flew out to look for housing, which required more impatient patience as I waited for applications to be approved. (I HAD to live on the coast within a few miles of my beloved ocean, after all...)
It was the absolute right decision for me. It was not the easy path, however, and being on my own in California was sometimes very difficult and lonely (at least until I found Tony -- something the Universe clearly had planned for us). The Universe kept throwing 'patience' lessons at me, though, and I have learned to deal with it a little better over these last 14 years. At least I recognize when I need to let go and let it be, although it is always a struggle not to try to take it back and try to control it.
And once again I feel 'patience' as the lesson of the moment, but it seems to be patience for the next right thing to come along. I've felt very uncreative for quite some time -- fleeting ideas about writing, jewelry-making, sewing, gardening, singing, acting --but not anything that I feel passionate enough about to actually spend much time doing, and therefore I haven't done much of anything. Since I've always been passionate about the creative things I've chosen to do, to be so wishy-washy about doing anything is a little unsettling.
So, Universe, I'm waiting to see where I should go from here. You are in charge here, not me, and I get that, finally. I'm just trying to keep my eyes and my heart open to possibilities, and watching for open doors and windows. And to be patient, trusting that all will be well eventually. (But please remember that as I get older this time becomes more precious, okay?....)