I wrote recently about perseverance. In gratitude for Meg Wheatley’s book by the same name.
I’m picking up this book quite a bit lately. In the mornings. Randomly selecting a page. Reading the passage. Sitting quietly with it, the way I would a friend. And treating the passage as a kind of guide for the day.
Something in me is seeking. And tender. And persevering. And based on today’s reading, growing in patience.
The words below are all from Meg’s book, pages 140-141. Including the St. Augustine quote. There is a gift to essence, isn’t there.
The reward of patience is patience.
St. Augustine, born 354.
Perseverance is a journey seemingly without end.
Yet it has a few destinations or rewards, one of which is patience.
It’s not that we start out patient.
We don’t persevere because we are patient people.
We become patient because we have too.
There is no choice — the work is endless.
Everyday we have to make a choice.
Will we give up, or will we keep going?
When day after day we are willing to keep going we discover,
quite to our amazement, that we have become patient.
And then we just continue on.
Day after day.
This week has been a full week. Like most weeks are. Calls to be on. Meetings to join. Material to prepare. Much to fit into the space of a day, and often evening or early, early morning. I’m grateful that these are all with good people.
This week has been a week that I haven’t felt great also. Bit of an upset stomach. I’ve been telling people in my meetings and calls that I’m drinking a lot of tea. Soothing. Comforting. Feels a bit slowed down, in a kind way. I shared it with a few of my colleagues and friends, “I’m moving at the pace of tea.”
It feels like the norm of contemporary society is not the pace of tea. That’s for grannies, right. I love it that my Grandma was a tea-drinker. I have super fond memories as a kid dunking a cookie in an afternoon cup when staying with my grandparents over summers in Saskatchewan. The cup above is one of hers, given to me when she died last year.
The pace of tea isn’t the pace of coffee. Nor the pace of Red Bull. It’s not pressed to squeeze more into each moment than is physically imaginable. It is more patient. Like the feeling of cool sand on your feet on a hot summer day meant to be meandered at the beach. Tea for me is something to relax into.
One of my teachers (and friend and colleague) is Christina Baldwin. Her book The Seven Whispers: A Spiritual Practice for Times Like These is a beloved gem. It’s short. Clear. Inviting. Filled with story as Christina does so well. Feels like tea.
Christina includes as one of her whispers another reference to pace — move at the pace of guidance. “In a world of speed and distraction, pace of guidance invites us to combine the practices of measured movement and listening. Speed is some guy running through the airport shouting into a cell phone. Pace is going around the block with a three-year-old and noticing everything the child is noticing.”
Pace, whether of tea, or of guidance, is an essential skill to develop in times like these. And not just for weeks of feeling upset stomachs. In fact, just maybe, there’d be fewer societally upset stomachs with the invocation of tea a bit more often.