Thursday, October 2, 2008

heart work

When you are born, your work is placed in your heart.
(attributed to a Native American elder.)

I've determined that one of the seemingly many things placed in my heart at birth is patience. and riding up a hill today I was struck with the realization that I have learned this. I, susan imhoff, have thoroughly learned patience.

this learning has been in the works for a very long time, with a super-concentrated, intensive course load the past five years. I'll throw a little kierkegaard out here, referring to his statement that life must be lived forward, but can only be understood backwards. from my current vantage point, I can see just how much of my life has involved lessons in patience.
and perhaps almost all life lessons involve patience; perhaps patience is part of the work placed in everyone's hearts.

I think my patience lessons are part of why endurance rides have dovetailed so well into my cycling life. I am not a sprinter, nor am I fast enough to want to race. I am good at the 'long haul,' the completion of enduring rides. I can climb well enough, and I can ride quickly enough, but my greatest strength is probably just that I can keep going for a long time. woo hoo! what a talent, I am laughing to myself.
and endurance has a definite aspect of patience to it, doesn't it? in fact, some dictionaries use the word 'patience' in their definition of endurance, and 'patience' is considered by some to be a synonym of endurance. I know that at times they feel the same to me. endurance, to me, has a suffering connotation to it, and I know that at times my patience comes with some small amount of 'suffering.'
patience is about continuing forward, whether or not you like it, feel safe and secure, or have knowledge that the end result will be something you'll feel was worth it all. patience is living with uncomfortable things, believing that you will grow and become stronger because of it. patience is wanting a certain outcome, wanting it today, but knowing that the universe will be what determines whether or not you receive that outcome, and on what timetable. patience is letting things germinate and grow before you expect a blossom.

I once heard a wonderful analogy having to do with patience. it's about one who planted seeds, and wanted them to grow. she would plant a seed, then water it, and wait for a week or two and finally give up in frustration, digging down and pulling out the seed to see what's wrong, why it was not growing . . .

my life is full of germinating things. children are germinating things: we love and nurture and bestow bushels of patience on them, and eventually they become these amazingly self-sufficient, productive, beautiful beings. my writing, my business, my cycling progress, my house, my friendships and other relationships: all of these things take time, have periods of germination and even hibernation, and the good ones all have an aspect of patience to them.

as all those grandpas and grandmas out there say: good things take time.

good things, good rides, good cycling fitness: patience, endurance, and more patience are what keep me going and help me reach the tops of those hills, and the end of those long rides.

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