More Than A Bushel Of Brains


Get to it….those woks won’t clean themselves now, will they?  And while you’re at it, check for termites in those klomps.

A handful of patience is worth more than a bushel of brains – Dutch Proverb

The Dutch have a strange way of getting down to brass tacks, but I dig their spiffy way of spirituality.  Perhaps it’s because the linked insane combination of the Netherlands being the world’s leader in importing cheese, and also having the lowest occurrence of lactose intolerance in the world (a paltry 1% – in your face, China).  Let Luxembourg and Belarus deal with bloated and gassy guts.  More cheese for the heathens, less for the statuesque Dutch. Let that buy time to contemplate things while chewing juniper-scented gum and skating down the Herengracht.

But what about that patience thing?

My oldest son got a whole whack of LEGO for Christmas.  There is one theme per year, and this year it was those little things that I love stepping on in the middle of the night on the way to the bathroom.  The sharper and finer, the better.  Now this isn’t just a box of random blocks like I had growing up.  These are specific, custom kits that require more instruction and documentation than the Treaty of Versailles.  Miss one piece the size of a pinhead and the thing doesn’t go together properly.  A monster truck ends up looking like a stack of wet doilies if not properly put together. This not a Box O’ Imagination.  It’s construction work on Lilliputian scale.

But the other day, my son (who is six-years old) started to put together a kit for himself.  Without much adult help.  A first for him. And the major muscle he was flexing and building was the patience muscle.  The one that can quickly atrophy and jump start the occasional meltdown.  Watching him was a study in studying.  Of breathing and just being with the blocks, one by one, seeing what is needed, what is required at any time, following the directions in the book and going back when a mistake was made.  Sometimes he had to check in with my wife.  But overall, he was able to pass through the tough parts of the build without stomping away like, well, a six-year old kid.

Some of the boy’s handiwork. This ain’t your daddy’s LEGO, y’all.

So while I watched him, I thought of where my own head space was lately. I had been thinking about this whole theme or word for the year kind of thing that a few folks out here have already done.  Never having done this before, I was both a bit excited and fearful.  Was I just jumping on some spiritual bandwagon, or was there something moving me that way?  So I meditated on this.  See what the Big Enchilada thought of these schemes.  Because as we all know, that if you want to make Him laugh, tell Him your plans. So meditate I did…outside, while I was waiting for the bus.  I sat in the freezing cold and just let my mind be.  And before long, the one word popped out: patience.


Now, I thought for a while that “perspective” was the word that I felt a bit pulled towards, but when “patience” usurped it, it immediately reminded me of something: that in the last 6-8 months, when I have meditated, the word “patience” has always, always, always been there.  And I always, always, always dismissed it.  Patience?  So what?  I moved past it – hoping to get some of the real juice and buzz from the Creator.  “Where’s the fireworks, Dude?” I’d ask, fanning away the burnt sage or frankincense I often use.  “You keep pandering this lightweight stuff around like a broken Tickle Me Elmo and what I seek is XBox kind of whizz and whirl.”  I never understood why that word always nested in my mind.  I didn’t really have a use for it, in some way.  It just lingered.

The dark side of patience.

And so when it came time to sit and think, it popped up and there it was – a purpose.  A multifaceted gem, shining through the pomp and circumstance of my ego’s mind, ready to be picked up and caressed.  To be adorned and yet held in sweaty hands and prickly thoughts. So it’s been something brewing for some time…a sort of piece to a puzzle I never knew existed.  Not that I needed a word to zip me into some serenity or doing good works or just being nice, for goodness sake.  But it felt right to have an anchor of some kind.  Or a touchstone, perhaps.  Or some sort of calendar on the wall to look at now and then and reference and adjust myself to.  A modifier to a dangling participle.

So patience it is.  And that’s a groovy thing.  But patience for what exactly?  I was thinking about this too.  It’s all grand and dandy to think in such vague declarations, not tethering it to any sort of manner of living, so announcing that I will “be more patient” seems a bit vacant to me.  It has no context for me.  Not that it’s a measurable thing, too – like how many SmartiesTM I can jam in my nose at once (twenty one – no red ones though) or how far I can toss a javelin (who cares, it’s the effort put in, right?  Right?).  I needed a framework or at least some idea of what the heck “patience” meant to me.

Patients.   Now turn and cough, tough guy.
Patients means something to this cat.
Now turn and cough, tough guy.

Patience comes in a few ways for me.  We all know the impatience that comes in waiting in line at the grocery store or government office.  We know the impatience that may come with someone who may tell a tall tale and doesn’t get to the point.  Or traffic (alcoholics seem to lose any serenity as soon as they get behind the wheel).  These situations are unavoidable, and when I first got sober, I learned to look at things from other people’s point-of-view.  Maybe the cashier had a sick child up all night and is tired.  Maybe the driver ahead of me is lost and anxious. Perhaps the neighbour is lonely and needs to talk to someone.  And it helped.  But I slowly started to get back into ego and started getting back into old thinking: “Is that cashier dumb? I am in a hurry!” or “C’mon stupid driver – move! I don’t have all day” or “Oh please get to the end of this story – I want to go home and just play Pac Man”.

All of those things involve meI. Selfishness.  And in the end, I get all bent out of shape for something that I can’t control.  My impatience slowly erodes and scruffs the edges out of my serenity.  My impatience puts me back in me…a scary place to be for an alcoholic of my kind.  For me, the word that attaches to this type of patience is empathy.  If I even try to understand where someone is coming from or perhaps their situation, I might find it colours my own perception (see, a groovy word!) and thus puts me in a gentler, kinder place.  When I start to empathize a bit more, I find my impatience wanes and I am at a calmer place.

Me, as an old time drawing of a woman with a bun.

But there is also a deeper level of patience – that of interacting with others.  If I can’t control or change the lineup situation at Blockbuster or Sam the Record Man (I need to update my references, methinks), I certainly can’t control others and their own reactions and actions.  I have tried that in the past and it’s like trying to push back the ocean with a lint brush.  In the past, trying to control all people and situations to suit me was a way of avoiding looking at myself.  To an alcoholic, the idea of changing the whole world seems a lot less daunting than changing one’s self.  So when things didn’t go “my way”, my impatience level skyrocketed.  I stomped away like a six-year old with a three-year old maturity.

So knowing this, my patience with others – whether it be my children, my wife, my co-workers, my neighbours, my friends – takes on a different flavour.  It’s not like a line up where I know that there is an end. Relationships are a bit more complicated than that – like playing Jenga on a life raft during hurricane season.  For me, the word that attaches to this type of patience is compassion.  Compassion towards those in my life, whether I appreciate or even like them, brings me a new kind of patience.  When attached to empathy and love and tolerance, I am at a whole new level – like an Indiana-Jones-this-is-the-room-where-they-store-the-Ark-of-the-Covenant-type level.

When I show patience with others who may or may not be in a good mental or emotional space, when I show patience with someone who may be unfit in some way, when I show patience with someone who is in an agitated state, then I am keeping my own serenity and spiritual wellness intact – I don’t get all Hulk-Hogan-ripping-the-shirt-off mental.  I don’t engage at a level that takes me out of peace and understanding.  Easy to say there, Mr. Tolle, eh?  I haven’t shown the patience I have needed when my oldest is having his fifth meltdown in an hour.  I haven’t shown patience when my wife asks me to do something first thing in the morning.  I haven’t shown patience when I am trying to get someone off the phone or out of my office.

I solved, it didn't I?  Prove me wrong, chief.  Prove me wrong.
You should see how quickly I do sudoku.

And what it comes down to is expectations. When my expectations are trampled on (and they almost always are) – I get impatient, irritable, annoyed and then I go down the merry road of resentment.  But before I hit that un-rest spot, I am edgy.  I am short of fuse.  I am testy.  I am getting into the -ism of my alcoholism: I, Selfish, Me.  My patience is thin because my expectations are thick.  When I expect a perfect child having peace and quiet, and in fact he is having trouble with something or hasn’t had much sleep, then my patience is dissolved like used tissue (ewwww).  When I expect my wife to just let me do whatever I want while ignoring what needs to be done, my patience is easily toppled.  When I expect people to leave me alone in my office and just do their work without question, then my patience slips away like a ninja in the night.

So dealing with my expectations really helps me with my patience.  High expectations= low patience, high resentment.  Simple enough for my lizard brain to get.  My ego may fight that one though.  So I carry spiritual principles into all my affairs and I try to get right with myself so that I may be of service to others and not get caught up in flying off the mental handle.  When I do show patience, through the lens of compassion and love and light, I am in a safer place, a gentler plane, a more serene landing spot.

And when I finally go one spot deeper on the patience depth chart…the one spot that I truly think that I am supposed to truly sit with this year (and every year, frankly) is the idea of being patient with myself and where I am in my recovery and my new life.  For me, the word that attaches to this type of patience is self-love. I think that this is what that voice in me, that inner nudging, was trying to get me to investigate – this idea that I need to be patient with where I am in this world.

In the grand scheme of things, I'm not in charge.  But I know who is...
In the grand scheme of things, I’m not the one in charge. But I know who is…

You see, as an alcoholic, self-centered and selfish in my ways, I always wanted things NOW.  Got it? Gimme now. Want it? Get it here.  Don’t have it?  Take it right away.  Alcohol was my way of getting instant and immediate relief from the torture of being me, to deal with the things around me that felt unapproachable in any other fashion.  Those impulse buy carts at IKEA with the 1000 pk tea lights and the Flövegnutågen left-handed parsley curlers was made for a guy like me.  Even when I don’t want it or need it, I want it and need it right away.  So alcohol gave that craving of something at that moment, when I wanted it, where I wanted it, how I wanted it.  Usually alone and desperate.  Self-loathing as a chaser.

Alcohol was Desire’s holy grail in liquid form.  A quick fix measured out in shot glasses.

So here I am now faced with the antithesis of my old ways of thinking.  Like much of where I needed to come to in recovery, I am looking at changing my way of thinking…and being.  Being patient at a deep level, beyond stupid busy shopping mart lines and bothersome enquiring employees, is the real challenge.

That's patience.
That’s true patience.

Wanting my life to be exactly how I want it now, won’t happen today.  Wanting my recovery to be exactly how I want it now, won’t happen today. Wanting my dreams and wishes granted now won’t happen today.  This is where my deep patience lies.  Knowing that I don’t have all the answers now, knowing that I can’t foresee things, knowing that the direction of my life is out of my hands…these are the things I need to sit with and be okay with.  And for the most part, I am.  Certainly there are moments where I want to rush things.  I want to know specific things.  I want to know general things.  I want, I want, I want.  Patience, grasshopper.  It all comes in His time, not mine.  So sit, have a croissant, maybe a little espresso.  Watch the clouds, contemplate the ground I stand on, feel the wind on your ears. Practice self-love.  Be kind to the man in the mirror.

As I practice patience on the small things and in my personal relationships, the more centered I become.  The more centered I become, the more I realize that I am just a cog in this machina. Sometimes just sitting is the best answer to my questions.  Sometimes it’s just being mindful and eating in the scenery.  Sometimes it’s action.  My thinking and my reactions to things are my tools.  Seeing others in another light, being kind and gentle to those around me, taking solace in that things happen for a reason when they happen, breathing, counting, using other resources to keep me tethered to the ground is what I strive for this year.  To be patient with myself and where I am in my journey.  To see that I am where I need to be right here and right now and not over there.  To take the actions needed when I know deep down that it’s time to do something about it.

And like my son with his LEGO, it’s about breathing and just being with things, moment by moment even, seeing what is needed, doing what is required at any time, following the directions from that voice in the back of my mind that tells me what is the right thing to do, no matter how much my ego protests.  Building a life, block by block.


Sounds good to me.


42 Comments Add yours

  1. glenn says:

    All too well am I familiar with being alone and desperate (by choice) while imbibing bottle upon bottle of self-loathing. It is nothing short of a challenge but one that gets easier over time this practice of self-love and worth every lesson learned.
    Thank you, Paul, for sharing your beautiful and incredible thoughts

    1. Thank you Glenn for being here! Alone and desperate is a tragic combination…nothing good ever comes from that, does it? No one knits sweaters or tunes the care up when alone and desperate. Balancing the chequebook doesn’t occur in that state. Oblivion usually does…and boy do you and I know that feeling, yes? Glad we’re not there any more, kind sir. You’re a shining example of how we can transform.

      Love and light,

    2. HighOnHugs says:

      Hello Glenn. I’ve been seeing your comments on blogs I follow & enjoy them very much. However, I can not seem to find you or your blog though. Could you help message me at High on Hugs your info please? Thx


        He *does* have great comments and a great blog too, Clairey.

  2. stacilys says:

    Hey, you really hit the nail on the head when you were talking about changing your mind-set. Like the traffic thing, which I have struggled with. I also have a real difficult time with patience, and have been learning that I am not the centre of the universe and things don’t have to go my way. REally difficult. I have a son with Asperger’s Syndrome and boy, I really believe that, bit-by-bit, patience is being developed in me through this. Blessings=)

    1. Yes! Being the center of the universe is something that I still have to struggle with. What do you mean everyone is not thinking of me right this moment!? How can they not? Oh ego, what a prankster you are. And relentless.

      I can understand the patience-through-trial-by-fire with your son’s Asperger’s Syndrome. I can’t imagine, but I know some of the challenges from other parents I have heard talk about it. You are talking patience Super Sized, there. Wow. It’s funny that on your latest post (which I mean to comment on) you mention patience, patience, patience! So there is a cosmic pulling together here…love it.

      I am glad that our paths have crossed. We share the same surname too, and a Canuck to boot 🙂

      Love and light,

      1. stacilys says:

        HAHAHAHAHAHA! “Canuck to boot”. When I was doing some training in Hong Kong I met an American who became a good friend of mine. He always used to say to me, “I’m all aboot that eh.” Anyhow, yeah it’s great that our paths have crossed. Is your last name ‘Dunn’ or ‘Silva’? Blessings =)

  3. wren1450 says:

    This is a great blog, and funny (in parts). The delayed-gratification-thing has never been my strong point.

    1. Thanks, wren 🙂 Are you familiar with the Stanford marshmallow experiment? Read about it here – always love it. not sure how I would have done when I was a kid, but certainly when I was active I would have *failed* it big time…lol.

      Thanks for being here and your kind words 🙂


  4. lucy2610 says:

    There goes that drinkers ESP again! A book arrived at my house today that you might enjoy – The Compassionate Mind by Paul Gilbert. In this book he outlines the latest findings about the value of compassion and how it works, and takes readers through basic mind training exercises to enhance the capacity for, and use of, compassion. I’ll let you know how I find it 🙂

    1. thanks for the heads up on the book – now looks like I have something else to add to my new Kobo 🙂

      please do let me know how you like it…I await your unofficial review.

      Thanks for the comments and being here.


  5. big mike says:

    Anybody can stop drinking. Anybody.

    Staying stopped………….now, that is the trick.

    Its a battle between my ears.

    There is the “ME”

    And there is the “Me I want to be”

    Its almost like two entities -in me- battling

    I;m rooting for the new me, though the old ME wins some of the battles–but not yet, the war.

    It is a fight worth fighting.

    Preparation and vigilance

    And inventory, are the weapons of choice

    Have to have connection

    A general

    Someone who can decipher my inventory

    As I have a sometimes difficult time “reading” my self.

    Gotta have an Army-more connection

    Cause I cant fight this fight alone I’ve tried again and again, but always fail.

    That is where you come in Captain Paul.

    You and a lot of others,

    Thanks for being a cog in the wheel that helped me stay sober, today.

    1. Have I mentioned how I love having you here, Mike? Love what you said here, and yes, this is a fight worth fighting, and I can’t fight alone any more either. Ego says yes – you can do this, you’re smarter / better than them all. You can do it. Isolating is good…more time to think. Thinking is my problem!! So I need you, Mike. I need the men and women around here and in my face-to-face world to help me see the things I don’t see. To guide and mentor me, to show me the pitfalls ahead. And then turn around and do the same for others. That’s how it works, isn’t it? I am so glad to have a fellowship around me to help me see the things I am still blinded to. What a relief.

      Thank YOU for your words, Mike. They just supercharged my day.

      Big blessings and hugs to ya,


  6. Ooooohhhh yeah… I so get this one! I want it now, now, now. In fact, can you give it to me yesterday because that’s where my head really is? What’s that? I have to wait and see. No, I want to know what’s going to happen. Fast forward to the end, please.

    Awesome, as always, Paul. But, next time, could you put the last paragraph first so I know what you’re going to say before you say it? 🙂

    I guess, I’m still sorta a work in progress.

    1. “In fact, can you give it to me yesterday because that’s where my head really is”….ha ha…loved this. Very funny because it’s true. I can get on board with that one 🙂

      We’re all a work in progress aren’t we? I would hate to have where I am at right now to be the final product 😉


  7. jrj1701 says:

    Patience is the best virtue, and we have patience for certain things. When I mow the grass I ain’t in no fired up tizzy for the grass to hurry up and grow so I can mow it again. The irony of acquiring patience is that it seems to require patience to get it. I ask the Lord for patience and when He sends a lesson, I complain about the situation. No sense of gratitude. The thing I like to remember is that it will happen when it happens and not a minute sooner or later. If I continue to depend more on Him and not on me, me, me, He will make me into something wonderful because He has already done some great things for folks that have opened up and let Him in. It is always good to read your words and please be patient with me as I struggle to my own.

    1. These are wonderful, wise and insightful words, JR. There is an old joke about praying to God for patience and then finding yourself picking the longest and slowest lineups at the store. So what you say rings true about getting what you ask for. It’s happened to me too…ha ha. I still have to remind myself that He is sending me a lesson, as you say. I ask for more humility, and I get to clean up my son’s puke soon, or get rebuked at work for something or something happens to make me realize I am but a grain of sand in a Universe sized beach.

      Depending on Him…what a wonderful concept. And scary at times…because my pea-sized lizard brain wants to know it all now, and if I don’t know it, I fear it. What an insane way of coming to truth.

      Thank you for enlightening me today. You have brought me a gift today of some clarity…I am indebted to you.

      Love and light,

  8. sherryd32148 says:

    Sometimes you blow my mind. This is one of those times.

    So many good things in this post…patience, perspective, empathy, compassion, expectations and…gulp…self-love? Yeah…mind blown.

    Good one dude.


    1. Thank you so much for the kind words…fellow mind blower.

      Funny reading your list there, culled from my never ending yak-a-thon post (I need editing)…those are things I really didn’t have much as an active alcoholic. not sure how many of us did. Amazing how you and I and others now at least have this in our vocabulary? That is the mind blowing part…lol.

      Great having you here Sherry – you make me day when you stop by 🙂


  9. warmginger says:

    You need to move to Qatar. Patience and testing patience is a government sanctioned national past time. Here, it doesn’t matter who you are, what you’re doing or who you are dealing with – at anytime, anyone has the right to stop what they are doing and: a) pray b) eat or c) deal with any family matters (and they have BIG families here!). Initially I found it kind of cute, then it drove me mental, and finally I accepted it. And now that we have a family ‘fixer’ called Sabou, who handles all our bureaucracy for us, I actually admire it. 😉
    And just hilarious photos by the way. I’d forgotten all about my childhood crush on Scott Baio!

    1. I am quite taken by this thing here – Patience in Qatar. Sounds like a romance novel or something. Not sure. But I get what you say…there is a different time and pace in many other countries. We’re used to the now, now, now lifestyle in the West, particularly North America and the UK. Everywhere else…well, just slow down, pardner. Take a break. Chill out.

      My wife’s family is from the Middle East, so I am used to “their” time and Canadian time…ha ha. They are often doing what you outlined there so well. There is not always a sense of urgency that we have. Perhaps it’s not them…it’s us. Hmmmm…noggin’ scratcher there for me. But that’s a cultural thing. I am reading a terrific book on something like this, called The Silent Language by Edward Hall, written in the 50’s or 60’s and he talks about different cultures and their views of time. It’s very interesting. A lot about culture too. Your comments reminded me of it.

      Anyway, glad you related…and as for Chachi there…lol. I have some mind lock on 70’s and 80’s TV shows and I am for one chuffed that I can reference them into something worthwhile…even if it’s to remind you of your old crushed…ha ha.

      Blessings and hugs,

  10. fern says:

    Love the post. Spot on, as they say in Britain; not that I’m from there.

    I was intrigued about you choosing one word for the year so I kept reading. But, before reading further, when you came up with “patience” I asked myself, “What would my word be?” And, no kidding, the words “self-love” popped into my head. I quickly dismissed it as having come to me too quickly so it was probably not God answering but my own ego wanting what it wants.

    Funny, then, to scroll down, enjoying your post (and the pictures of Scott Baio, Doogie Howser and you as an old lady in a bun) to discover your word “patience” morphed into “self-love.” Synchronicity, I think. And I don’t mean the song by The Police (my own reference to the 80’s).

    Great writing, Paul.


    1. Aha! Funny about the self-love part…popped into your head and dismissed it. Just like I did and sometimes continue to do – feeling perhaps it’s my monkey brain talking to me. But I am learning to recognize the difference between the conscious contact voice and the ego voice. And when I am not sure, then I ask myself – what are my motives? Or pray on it. And usually there is some clarity that comes forth. OR, something happens like what happened to you. Groovy, crazy HP kind of stuff 🙂

      Thanks for this, Fern…love when you stop by- makes my day 🙂

      Love and light,

  11. HighOnHugs says:

    Oh my God! I’m dying laughing, nodding my head, feeling uncomfortable at moments, & wanting to grab a dictionary! This Wyoming mountain girl with a South Carolina education and GED was gaining self love while reading this! Wanting to beat myself up for not knowing many a word. Then giving myself a break as I know even though you speak English as I, we use different words & expressions. LOL!
    I love how you paint such wonderful metaphors for me, the reader, as it helped me move past the ‘big words’ Hehe.
    I too see myself in my child with his blocks. Not LEGO’s, we’re (I’m) not there yet. Thank God as they do hurt like hell when stepped on!
    While reading & before arriving at the grocery store reference I remembered one of my first non BB assignments from my sponsor. Clairey, she said, you need to slow down, breathe, and practice some principles. What? Slow down? I’m ADHD and bipolar (mania mostly). My homework assignment, every time I went shopping anywhere I must choose the longest line available. I must learn, patience, acceptance, love, and tolerance. Being smart & a good people reader she knew that a hands on assignment would do me well. Dang her that devil woman sponsor!
    Ugh, she was right (said while rolling my eyes)
    I too am learning this oddly trying but calming principal. Although I still greatly enjoy instant gratification I very much more enjoy the personal triumphs and gifts I have received from practicing patience.

    In with God’s will, out with Clairey’s will. Deep breaths.

    How odd it felt for the first time to not solely be concerned with me & my plans but to ponder others thoughts, feelings, etc.

    You mean to tell me that the man driving 20 miles under the speed limit in front of me might be lost? Or looking at God’s handy work? God’s handy work I’m completely missing as I’m so focused on me and my plans? Shoot! I missed a rainbow & a herd of bison in front of the majestic & snow covered Grand Tetons. All because I am self centered and selfish.

    “Selfishness-self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles”…

    “We had to have God’s help”…

    “Established on such a footing we became less and less interested in ourselves, our little plans and designs. More and more we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life. As we felt new power flow in, as we enjoyed peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of His presence, we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow or the hereafter. We were reborn.” BB page 62-63

    So with that, I say THANK YOU! For being an example, for being on this path with me and a great partner in recovery, for sharing your experience, strength, and above all else…HOPE!
    Oh and also for motivating me to look up and learn some words that are bigger than the four letter words I know best! Look at you teaching me patience with myself!
    Sorry for the long comment. I apparently write as much as I talk!
    Big HUGS!

    1. There is something wonderful about your comments, Clairey. Can’t put my finger on it quite yet, but there is an energy and hominess about them that just makes we want to wrap them around me. But thank you for these. Hard to come back at ya since you covered so much…in a good way (hey, never mind yakking – do you see how yappy I get on other people’s blogs…embarrassing sometimes…lol) And as for wordiness…I need editing. I am trying to simplify, but it doesn’t seem to be working…ha ha. Progress, not perfection, etc.

      in the end, it’s all about just getting one another, and we all have our ways. And I do love your ways of talking the program and sobriety in general – with enthusiasm and pure love.

      I love that assignment your sponsor gave you. I seem to pick that same line even when I don’t want to. I guess I am in for the long haul on the patience thing. But it is what it is. It’s about just rolling with it…something i was not very good at. A new software package for this hombre, yes?

      If I am ever in Wyoming, I am gonna call ya up. See that Cowboy State of yours. Seems like everything is a bit *fresher* there. I don’t know, maybe frozen Canadian day dreaming!


  12. Mrs D says:

    Parental patience and sober patience. Parental patience is tough at times (yes ok you can jump in every puddle on the way to the car and then try to put your seatbelt on yourself *sigh*).. but sober patience is even tougher (I just have to sit and wait this sad/glum/gritty phase out and eventually it’ll pass *sigh*). I don’t think patience is something I was good at when I was boozing but I have way more of it now. It comes hand in hand with the calmness that sobriety has given me. What a great gift. Happy New Year dear Paul xxx

    1. I was laughing at the jumping puddles seatbelt thing…that’s exactly what has happened before! I love what you say about the calmness and patience going hand in hand now that sobriety has rocketed you to another level of serenity! Love your comments, Mrs. D. You rock 🙂

      Love and light,

  13. Chaz says:

    In my experience, patience is largely an act of giving up control. Many of us are of the mistaken belief that unless we are doing, things are not getting done. In other words, it is all about us and we are the catalyst for everything. If we step back, how true is this really? Obviously not. But letting this go is a huge thing for us. Especially if it is a well-rehearsed behaviour over decades and has been supported and cosigned by those around us.

    1. You’re bang on, as usual, Chad. I see what you say here – giving up control is something that almost goes against the old grain. Even the new grain has a say in it. Sure I was able to give Big Control to the Creator…but can please can I have control of this…and that…? Please? Oh, no? ugh…[crabby response]. Been there done that. Over and over. And when I don’t get what I want (ultimate authority), I react. And when I react, it’s not always in a positive, loving manner.

      So this patience you speak of means that I need to give it up. Again? Oh man, is this what this whole deal is?? Oh yeah, wait, it is 🙂

      Thanks for the wisdom, Chaz. I learn and think every time you visit.

      Love and light,

  14. Paul, I can relate to your thoughts here on so many levels. I’ve worked with children for most of my adult life and couldn’t help but to CRACK up, literally, at your Lego spill. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been begged to help assist with Lego Land. Lego Land consisted of about 20 buildings of some sorts, Jedi’s, Harry Potter’s, Minecrafts, the infamous City series…the list goes on. And stepping on those little pieces is NO JOKE! They hurt like all heck.
    I’ve been very patient with the kids though; strange because like you, my ego tends to get the best of me around myself and people outside of my job. I’ve always wanted everything NOW; success, big house, perfect body…and because my patience has been tested on so many levels, I’ve worn myself out trying to please everyone, including myself.
    But here, with your words, you delivered so eloquently, you nailed it. When we are patient, we are not only considerate of those around us, but most importantly, ourselves and our work with the Almighty. Evidently, we are on His time and He has all of the time in the world.
    I’ve been thinking about how I can be more patient with myself and others. Again, when it comes to the thousands of kids I am blessed to work with, I have all of the patience in the world. Except for when they curse or the older ones drink. Then, all patience is discarded.
    However, like you said; we don’t know what happens in the days of strangers so we should be more kind and courteous by meeting with our own patience to be softer and sweeter toward them. I’m working on this, even within my relationship with my partner in life right now.
    Our sobriety is a constant learning from everything that surrounds us. And learning to be patience is the key to empathy, compassion, and self-love.
    Glad to see I’m not the only one learning to dive deeper within my own patience=)
    Astounding and amusing, as usual!

    1. “Evidently, we are on His time and He has all of the time in the world.” I love this – I may steal it 😉 And you’re bang on with this…I don’t have the answers and never will. But if I can be quieter with it and just learn a bit more and keep my big trap shut and go where I feel nudged to go..well then, maybe I will be okay. The world won’t crumble down on me. Left to my own devices – my ego- I will certainly fall flat on my face. Being more patient in the last few days has already given me some traction in some parts of my life that have given me to feeling a bit squirrely.

      I also love what you say about learning from everything around us. If I am not open to it, then I am not available to take in the lesson. So I need some patience there too.

      Thank you for your awesome and insightful comments, as usual, Gina. You’re a shining star 🙂

      Love and light,

  15. iamsobernow says:

    Beautifully written, thoughtful post. Thank you!

    1. Thank you 🙂


  16. byebyebeer says:

    That’s some fine handiwork by your boy. Legos are so different and difficult now. Patience. That’s a fine word. I like how you go well beyond my immediate associations of the word, particularly with compassion and self-love. I look forward to seeing what wonderful things develop for you (and others) in the year ahead.

    1. Thanks, Kristen. Yeah, the boy is learning from his old man {hikes up his pants}. Ha ha. I can’t fathom these whole LEGO sets now…they sell entire cities. The one he is eyeing is $130! Insane. I need a new wing to hold all this stuff (I can’t afford a feather let alone a wing). I look forward to this too, Kristen. I was thinking about all of this as I was waiting 15 min for an elevator (tech issues) and thought – meh, it’s the end of the day for me…what’s a few more minutes. Had a nice chat with a colleague in the mean time. So, no harm no foul.

      Looking forward to seeing how you are growing as well…that’s how I learn more 🙂

      Love and light,

      1. byebyebeer says:

        My oldest is into the lego sets, but really more into the playing than the building. So I steered her towards Playmobil so I could fulfill part of my childhood that was never realized because playmobil houses cost as much as people houses. Just wanted to say I feel your pain.

  17. Patience. I shudder when I even contemplate that word, because it is the virtue of which I am most depleted on any given day. But your insightful way of breaking it down into empathy, compassion, and self-love… sigh. I love you, Paul, but now you’re making me look at myself, and, dammit, I don’t have the patience for it:)

    More seriously, thank you for this enlightening post, you have helped me refine a very broad subject, and thus helped me grow today. For that I am grateful!

    1. Josie – your generosity of words is not outdone by your generosity of spirit and helping others (your group, etc). Frankly, anything that sounds cool or useful is something that I no doubt heard others expound about. I’ve used some of your stuff too 🙂 But that’s how I learn…from others. Any other tiny insights are from my HP…so that leaves me as a vessel of sorts. Or at least, that is what I try to do (not sure how I succeed).

      Anyway, patience…you’re right, sometimes i don’t have patience for it either! I want it now! How crazy does that sound? But it’s not, and we see it for what it is. Work in progress, that’s all I am, Josie. I was getting squirrely lately and had to do some serious mirror looking and seeing what was going on inside…and pulling out some of my tools has been a great thing. I don’t know what I would do without them, my HP, and my wonderful friends like you…you don’t realize that when I read something of yours, I spring up! I get something out of it, either here or on your blog…there is always something to learn.

      I hope you are keeping warm today…frigid out there.

      Love and light and Canadian hugs,

      1. Okay, I almost never reply to a reply, but this story is worth recording. I just came in from driving my daughter to the bus stop (because of frigid temperatures), where there is a line of cars driven by like-minded people. Bus stop is located at the bottom of the street. So, when the bus leaves, the cars will follow each other in an orderly fashion to the stop sign, and make a decision if they are going left, right, or making a u-turn. I am taking longer to write this than the process actually takes. Okay, the bus is there, but just about to pull away. But the point it… THE BUS IS THERE. Which means that the cars lined up are going to leave the moment the bus pulls away. We are actually starting to inch up, and this chucklehead comes barreling down the street, gets past about half of the cars, and has to move into the opposing side of the street because there is no room for him. Short story long, he insists on being put ahead to the front of the line, and, because most of us in the neighborhood are polite folks (remember, this is all taking place IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD), we let him.

        Did I mention that the bus is still there, so there was, in fact, no where for him to go anyway?

        Okay, here is the real point of the story (other than simply venting). I stopped, remembered this post, and attempted EMPATHY. I imagined if I were trying to get to work on time, and how frustrating it would be to deal with the bus stop and all of the attendant cars that go with it. And, it calmed me, and then I thought about telling you this story, and it made me laugh out loud.

        So there you are, Paul, you were of service this morning 🙂

        1. wren1450 says:

          Good point for all of us to start the day!!!

          1. Absolutely – love it when things like that happen!

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