Timing is a Virtue: Balancing Patience and Impatience

By: Loolwa Khazzoom, Founder, Dancing with Pain

March 4th, 2010 • Patient AdvocacyPrint Print

Years ago, I went on a camping trip with a friend. We arrived at our first stop on a very cold night. We lit a campfire, just intending to get warm, but also discovering a valuable life lesson:

We needed to actively fan the flames, to get the fire going. But if we kept on fanning the flames, the fire would peter out.  Conversely, we needed to wait patiently for the flame to catch and grow. But if we kept waiting patiently, the fire would peter out.

So we consciously minded the exact turning point where we had to change our behavior, making it a game: “Impatience!” we would shout, aggressively fanning the flames until they reached a peak. “Patience!” we would yell, sitting back on our logs and letting the flame do its thing.

We went back and forth like that for hours, laughing.

They say patience is a virtue. But patience, otherwise known as inaction, also can be a killer – if we don’t respond to a potentially dangerous situation, for example. So perhaps a more accurate observation would be that timing is a virtue – knowing when to actively assert our power and when to go with the flow.

I think we each have to discover that sweet spot where the tide turns and requires a different behavior. For me, sitting, breathing, and praying for guidance help me stay in tune with the energies playing out and requiring different forms of attention.

With regards to chronic pain, do we need to give a little more time for a method to help lower our pain levels, or is it time to try something else? It can be challenging to figure out the answer, especially when we are balancing so many other factors – chemical sensitivities, financial limitations, or physical exhaustion, to name a few. The more we tune into the energies within and surrounding us, however, the better adept we will be at determining how to move ahead at any given moment.

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