To My Little Sister

Thrill of the everyday. Slow, slow, quick, quick, slow.

Patience is not only a virtue, it’s a survival tool. A person, who doesn’t know how to keep busy in lull, is bound to get herself in trouble by making rush decisions. Fallow periods are many and it is imperative to know what to do to keep your idle hands occupied, to steady your overactive mind, and to calm your emotions that are turbulent like a mountain stream. Control over yourself is the ultimate goal of many spiritual practices. It is a learning process and can be mastered with time. How fast depends on the personality.

The hardest part is to reign over your moods. Periods of doldrums are inevitable, especially when many things do not go as you wish. It is hard to wake up and feel happy and grateful when you don’t know how you will pay your next month rent or when your heart is broken and you feel that no one loves you, and you don’t even have a pet to make the situation more bearable.

However hard it may be, your goal is to trust that everything will be great and you need not to worry. For that reason, you may just as well wake up and remind yourself to smile and to be happy for what you have. It is highly possible that nothing will happen today to alleviate your situation. Therefore, you need to remind yourself to stay calm and patient, and to concentrate your energies on thing you can do now, like learning new things, meditating, spending time with family.

Of course, you have to make your best effort to improve your situation. If you don’t have a job, look for one. If you can’t stop crying on your own, find a therapist. In other words, help yourself. Don’t wait for the situation to change on its own. But also remember that you don’t have control over many things. If you send out ten resumes and none gets a reply, first look at the quality of your cover letter and resume. If you feel you did your best, then just relax – you did your part, the rest is truly out of your hands. Send another batch out tomorrow. Do a great job preparing your pitch and hope for the best. When you are done with this task, do not waste the rest of your day. There are three things you can do: one for your body, one for your mind, and one for your soul.

Go to the gym. Call your friends and invite them to go hiking together. Join a local softball team. Do pushups at home. Exercise will keep your body in shape and give you more energy. It will also change your heavy mood to a lighter disposition. For your mind, give it something challenging – learn a new language, read a book about a new subject or something that interests you but you haven’t explored in depth yet. Even if you don’t have money for your next meal, libraries are free. Food for your mind is just as important as physical nourishment. I’m not saying it is a substitute. What I am saying is Do your best to correct a problem, and after you’ve done your best to do so, don’t sit around and curse your fate. Read a book, clean your house or run on treadmill. Get busy or your maudlin mind will.

And for your soul, there are many ways to give nutrients to your spirit. Just choose the one that feels right for you. Meditate. Read a spiritual uplifting book or watch a movie that may give you an impetus to feel and think in more philosophical light about your experience. Go spend time with your family and friends, or anyone who makes your feel happy and at peace. If you can sit next to someone in silence and watch television (any silly show will do) and still be happy, that is the right person. You feel calm, peaceful and content just by being in the same room with them. Make sure that throughout your life you cultivate strong close relationships with such people. Appreciate them and never take them for granted.

These are just a few suggestions, but you get the point, I hope. Be proactive with your happiness. It is truly a state of mind, rather than your current situation, that keeps you either depressed or light-hearted and hopeful. My simple rule was always this: if you can do something about your problem, then do it and forget about it; if you cannot, move on and don’t dwell on it. It is easier said than done, I know. But that is why patience is a learning process that you will master in time. Practice will make perfect.