Love and Patience

Patience is the art of waiting. 

Sarah Ban Breathnach, author

Patience with all things but most of all yourself. 

Francis de Sales, French Cleric

You may be familiar with the saying, “Love is not a noun, it’s a verb.” One of my spiritual teachers keeps reminding us that there are only two conditions in life: fear or love. Fear is the brain’s bias according to neuroscientific studies by the dozen. Like Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors, we thrive feeding on negativity. We can choose not to.

Doing love is mindful willingness to surf: to recognize fearful reactivity and surf the waves of anxiety, anger, doubt, resentment, and worry. Surfing is about balance. The unbearable waves can be our gifts. Many esteemed seekers, religious leaders, spiritual teachers, and mindfulness gurus have intoned: being a human being is difficult but we don’t have to suffer the suffering. Oh, sigh.

The buzz in brain science right now (check THRIVE’S newsletter at says our brains thrive on making meaning in ways that result from positive self-aware choices like meditation, contemplation, and stillness in the body, which quiets the mind. Our brain benefits from patience with ourselves first, being understanding and forgiving.

Old habits die hard as I’ve said before. Our willingness to cultivate tenderness for ourselves requires patience. Patience is a powerful tool. It nourishes you. I’m suggesting it’s a high-priority kindness we can choose to practice at least once, twice, ten, a hundred times a day. Go ahead. Practice being your own valentine from now on. Voila! Joy and peace increase.

Gardeners are good at nurturing, and they have a great quality of patience, they’re tender. They have to be persistent. Ralph Fiennes, actor

I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love and openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable. Anne Morrow Lindbergh