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on virtue

July 31st, 2009 by

In a workshop a couple weeks ago, I was asked to identify one of my heroes and list the qualities I admire most in them.  I chose Nelson Mandela citing his courage, wisdom, humility, kindness, determination and patience.  Of course he’s an obvious choice, but he truly inspires me.  Not just in my head as a thought, but deep within my bones.  He is a master at whose feet I long to sit.

A little later on in the workshop, the teacher asked us to return to the qualities we’d used to describe our heroes and notice how they might apply to us as well.  What hit me like a basket of bricks was my lack of patience.  I bump up against it daily – with my kids, other drivers, beautiful Rob, a ringing phone.  These opportunities for growth come every day, and every day I resist them.  Not now.  That’s what I think, but of course now is the only real time.  And if I could just lean into it – into the moment that wants to be, without my insistence that it shouldn’t – I bet a whole new world would open to me.

Ann Lamotte (a writing goddess) says, “Patience makes the now a little roomier.”  And I’ve always thought “roomier” and “rumi-er” (like the sufi mystic).  I’ve heard it said that courage is the virtue which makes all other virtues possible. So that’s what I’m walking with today.  I’m digging deep to find the courage to allow things their space and to learn from them.  Thank you, Mr. Mandela.  Thank you so, so much.

  1. Chris says:

    A beautiful reminder, Ashley. Thank you!