Patience? Ugh… That has seemingly never been one of my virtues. More often than not, I have heard myself lament, “I just wasn’t blessed with patience. Can someone learn patience?” I still don’t know the answer to that question.
I have often been frustrated because I want “it” and I want it… [cue Veruca Salt impersonation]… NOW, DADDY! I believed I would never be able to live without that elusive “it” and lacking the patience to wait for “it” to arrive or develop. However, I have discovered that if I break that intangible “it” into small, attainable pieces, I can actually have “it” AND have fun while achieving “it.” Especially when it comes to immaterial items like matters of the heart or living my Purpose. Part of the process is just being and doing that which feels most authentic to me in each moment and then, again, in the next. Eventually, I look up and surprise myself by discovering that I have the “it” that I have been longing for right here in my hands or heart and it suddenly feels like it has been there all along.
Secret is, it has. Case in point…
All of my life, I have looked longingly at other artist’s work. I wished I were an artist. I wished I could do what they do. I had close friends all around me who were making their living and living their life through art. While applauding their success, I felt jealous and as though I was lacking in some area that was preventing me from being the artist I longed to be. I focused on all the areas where I had been thwarted – I wasn’t properly trained, my parents couldn’t afford to send me to special art school, when I got myself to school, I had to quit halfway due to forces beyond my control, blah blah blah. I spun my wheels in this envious arena until 2004.
That year, in a seemingly unrelated event, I enrolled in massage therapy school to become a licensed massage therapist. Interestingly enough, when I started school, I knew that massage wasn’t where I would land but, instead, was a jumping-off point for my greater purpose. The process through which I travelled to becoming a student was like slicing a hot knife through butter. Everything was easeful and magically timed so that my life worked out, as I needed it to without really knowing how I needed it to be.
While I was in school, something occurred that I could have never previously imagined. A tiny explosion happened inside me somewhere and it blew apart my lifelong story that I am not an artist. I remember the exact moment it happened: I was sitting in the front row – as all good students do – intently listening to my Anatomy and Physiology instructor when I unconsciously picked up my pen and started to follow the flow of the ink onto the paper. Over the next three weeks of that class, this incredibly beautiful piece of art emerged from within me and I stepped back, held it up and gasped.
Oh my! I AM an artist! How did this happen?!
Even after my art surfaced, I continued to say I wasn’t an artist. The old stories about my lack of training got bigger. And, since my art is unlike anyone’s I’ve experienced, I brushed it off as trivial and not worth acclaim. I treated my art as if it was nothing, leaving it lying around the floor to get trampled upon and wrinkled. I even had a mishap where I had carelessly left my entire collection lying on the floor beneath the counter where my water fountain sat. The fountain backed up one day, overflowed and spilled over the edge onto my art. Several pieces were altered irrevocably, the water forever changing the landscape of the image. I remember feeling sad and lost when I held them in my hands, the full impact of my disregard staring me right in my face.
With tears rolling down my cheeks and a sob stuck in my throat, I called my mom, wailing about the destruction of a lot of my work. In her wise, loving way, all she said was, “Perhaps it’s time to take better care of them if they mean so much to you.”
One of my mentors once said, “If you’re feeling jealous, it’s because you’re not busy living in your own essence.” Had I stayed in the space where I was inwardly resentful of other’s accomplishments, I would have never stepped into my true gift. What happened for me was I focused on creating what I want for my life and the gifts started opening up.
All of a sudden, there was no need for patience because “it” was just happening: I AM an artist. I discovered myself in the middle of the opening night for my art show with people showing up that I haven’t seen for over twenty years, simply because I had chosen to wake up to who I really am. I was surrounded by love – which is what has always been my ultimate longing – in a space full of people who loved me, from all circles of my life. The very thing I wanted was there all along. I just had to get out of my own way and land myself in the right space to receive it.
©Angie K. Millgate 1/17/09
(This post was originally written on 1/17/09 and posted on a now-closed site)
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