How does one go about getting virtuous grief? Nurturing a virtue such as patience can go a long way toward coping with grief.
Sometimes it is helpful to explore what patience is not. The opposite, of course, is impatience. Impatience implies characteristics such as hurry and irritation, whereas patience feels like peace and acceptance.
Virtues of Patience
Some of the wisest people speak of the virtues of patience. Patience is a key coping skill in grief – in fact it may transform to virtuous grief.
- Patience is the support of weakness, impatience is the ruin of strength. CHARLES CALEB COLTON
- I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures. LAO TZU
- He knew you could never teach an animal with anything if you struck it, or even shouted at it angrily. He must always be gentle, and quiet, and patient, even when they made mistakes. LAURA INGALLS WILDER Farmer Boy
Sometimes we may feel weak in our grief. With the treasure of patience, we have a coping mechanism. As the animals referenced in Wilder’s Farmer Boy, we certainly make mistakes as well. If we treat ourselves as kindly as we would an animal, it can go a long way in easing our grief.
Inducing Patience – IT IS NATURAL WITH NATURE!
One of my very favorite ways to induce patience is to be out in nature. Just think of the ways being outdoors may encourage us to sit, relax and take a break. The tree that is pictured is one of my favorite. This huge trunked friend has a welcoming base in which I can nestle and lean while I feel the strong energies of it coursing up and down my back. Just imagine a tree as a dear friend! In fact, if you turn on your imagination, this tree appears to have a complete human face including a pair of eyes and a nose, along with a mouth agape! Now, this tree induces patience for me!
You may even decide to speak of your grief to the tree. Then, perhaps, you could imagine the tree carrying the most painful parts deep into the earth via its roots. Then, with your most joyful self, entertain the thought that the tree could carry your heartfelt love for your dear loved one skyward through its branches. Imagine your loved one being on the receiving end. Nature guided activities can indeed induce virtuous grief.
In fact, while you are out in nature, you may even be gifted a sign from a loved one! See My Mother’s Day Guest. Delight in the signs you receive. Accept rather than question that they are signs for you.
- Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence. HAL BOURLAND
- Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day. A. A. MILNE
- Well, I must endure the presence of a few caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies. ANTOINE DE SAINT-EXUPERY The Little Prince
The Art of Patience for Virtuous Grief
Not only is cultivating patience an art, but art may help to cultivate patience! Art here could be used broadly, as in any creative endeavor which could be called an art, i.e., music, theatre, literary, dance, culinary, visual arts, etc. Indulging in the arts is a marvelous way to relax and find oneself, particularly while in the throes of grief. As a former National Board Certified Art Teacher, I know that the arts are a very important avenue for us as humans to express ourselves.
- Practice what you know and it will help you to make clear what you do not know. REMBRANDT
- Drawing is still basically the same as it has been since prehistoric times. It brings together man and the world. It lives through magic. KEITH HARING
- Genius is eternal patience. MICHELANGELO
Keep in mind that Michelangelo knew a lot about patience. He is the one who took four years to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel!
Here are some artistic activities to foster your patience while you heal your grief: https://www.opentohope.com/10-artistic-activities-to-help-with-grief/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIx43JyOO9_gIV0YZbCh2LvggKEAAYAyAAEgKXmPD_BwE. As the common phrase on the old Kung Fu show, “May you have patience young grasshopper!” I wish you the comfort of patience on your grief journey.