As part of my usual weekly routine, I messaged the girls at Coliberate to ask what this week’s theme would be. Bop replied to me saying:
‘Hi lovely, we are trialing taking patience right through for another week….to cultivate some!’
I wrote several drafts in response to this, many of them containing the sentiment – ‘No, no, oh hell no.’
I instantly and absolutely rejected the idea. ‘They’re cowboys,’ I told myself, ‘They’re lazy, they’re trying to trick me into thinking about the role of patience in my life, but I already did that last week. I’m done with that. I’m patient now. Look at all the patience I’ve cultivated. I’m basically a monk.’
After a deep breath (or two, or three), I managed to build the courage to ask myself why I disliked the idea of continuing the theme of patience for a second week. And I immediately knew the answer. I had been looking at my mental health only in association with the sessions I enjoy at Coliberate. Like playing a video game, I had seen each week’s theme at Coliberate like a level I had to complete. One that once passed, I would never have to visit again.
‘I’ve done balance,’ I would unconsciously tell myself, ‘I don’t need to think about that again.’
‘I’ve mastered assertiveness in my life, no need to go back there.’
But of course, that’s not how it works. My journey to mental health and prosperity does not work on a level by level basis. I don’t expect a six pack from doing sit-ups for a week and never again. And I shouldn’t expect to master a virtue as complex as patience in one week of observation of it.
I can see now that the sessions I attend – mediation, yoga, wananga, writing, movement, they are there to assist me in my mindfulness, but the work continues outside of each class. It is up to me to bring the peace and mindfulness I feel at Coliberate into my life – outside the safe walls of the studio.
This week, I will embrace patience (again) with an open mind, a heart full of courage, and gratitude for the lessons I am constantly learning.