Some things don’t work like that. For example, writing a book. Even if I tried to write it all up in one big go (and some people do write books in six weeks, such as William Faulkner), I am not one of them. I still need to process some stuff that comes up in my writing.
Slowly, I am learning the benefits of being patient. Leaving my manuscript alone for six months was like letting good wine to mature. When I revisited my manuscript three weeks ago, editing was much easier as I saw the material with fresh eyes and ruthlessly cut out 50,000 words and added another 10,000 words, leaving it at 80,000 words, which is a more conventional length for a manuscript.
Old habits die hard though. I have recently sent a query letter to an agent and I am noticing impatience rising to the surface. Underneath this impatience is my nemesis: attachment to the outcome. I want the agent to come back and say how wonderful it is. Or not. But at least I’ll regain some sense of control over the situation.
Viewed from this angle, patience is so much more than “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.” It’s an ability to let go of the attachment to a particular outcome. It’s trusting that whatever happens will be for the higher good, even if it’s a rejection. It’s releasing control over a situation. Paradoxically, when we are patient in this way, we get results much quicker because we are not blocking energetically the desired outcome.
Patience is a virtue, indeed.