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One Day At A Time

One Day At A Time

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

-Robert Frost


The holidays are a time of relaxation, family and freedom from a restrictive daily schedule. As we near the end of this year and stand on the precipice of the new, I find myself already thinking about the inevitable return to work and the bustle of a workday.  As a result, I find it difficult to live in the moment. I start to go over my to-do list and answer emails that have not even been received. Unfortunately, this forward thinking is difficult to turn off and I find myself strategizing everything. This continues to the point at which I beg my mind to turn off this constant internal dialogue, craving even a few moments of the elusive relaxation and freedom that comes with the break.


One single day, that is all we are ever promised. Tomorrow is just a dream and nothing is guaranteed. I struggle with this concept at times. As a planner I am often a few steps ahead of the curve, analyzing and coming up with necessary solutions. While this skill is helpful in some areas of life, it can be problematic when trying to fully embrace the moment. Reading Robert Frost’s poem brings to mind how fleeting life can be. If I blink by resisting the now, I might miss something meaningful and deeply regret it.


“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.”

― Henri J.M. Nouwen


What I have come to understand is that we must strive to find the “holiday” in everyday. I certainly have not mastered this skill but I continue to recommit to the idea. Each day that I wake up and see a new sunrise is a blessing. There is never any need for a special occasion to remember this; rather the notion of finding joy in small moments becomes a daily goal. Be it the return to work with a warm greeting from a colleague, the hug from a loved one that will not be seen for some time or feeling the sun on my face as I take a solitary walk at dawn. All are joyous moments regardless of the occasion.

“If I did not simply live from one moment to another, it would be impossible for me to be patient, but I only look at the present, I forget the past, and I take good care not to forestall the future.”

St. Therese of Lisieux


As one that does not believe in new years resolutions, I can say with certainty that I will put more emphasis on the concept of joy in the New Year. Life can be messy with financial challenges, health issues and work related stresses. This much is guaranteed. Boldly putting one foot in front of the other is one way to conquer the fear and worry of life. With each new step I look for the moments of joy. Be it the blue jay I saw on my walk this morning, or the smile from a loved one that lets me know all is okay. Every moment is a blessing and once gone, just a memory. Cherish everything, even the difficult things. Life is best lived from a joyful heart.


Patience or hypomone

Patience or hypomone


Our world is all about instant gratification. Whether in careers, relationships or spiritual development, the need it now mentality has permeated our very being as well as the relationships we have with one another. Information is literally at our fingertips. We have the ability to reach out and communicate with loved ones in an instant, access to a never-ending news cycle and social media to dictate our relationship cadences.  All together it equals a rushed and forced reality. Slowing down is not even on the radar.  To function in this environment, constant streams of disconnected thoughts zoom around in our brains.  It is akin to a ramble that never ends or rush hour traffic on a Friday afternoon. Unsettling for even the most balanced and mindful and downright disruptive for most.


“Good character is not formed in a week or a month. It is created little by little, day by day. Protracted and patient effort is needed to develop good character.”



Creating space for quiet contemplation, creativity and spiritual growth is a challenge as witnessed by the anxiety and discontent of our population. Without attention, these very important life practices are left by the wayside and a life can become shallow and less meaningful. This dizzying pace is the result of the neglect of a character trait that is extremely important on a life journey, patience.  The greek word for patience is hypomonḗ (υπομονή).  There are two separate words for patience in the Greek language, but for the purposes of this piece, I am using this version as it speaks to me more directly. The definition of hypomonḗ is as follows:

“a remaining behind, a patient enduring, endurance, steadfastness, patient waiting for”

My favorite part of this definition is the word steadfast. Steadfast reminds me of another word, resolute. To be resolute is to be purposeful.  A patient and purposeful commitment to mindfulness is necessary to find a semblance of space in a busy mind.  Hypomonḗ can be found in many early spiritual texts and was understood as an important element to an examined life. Picture yourself in a long line at the store or caught in rush hour traffic, all fertile ground for exercising patience. I am sure that you can recall examples of those that choose to sink to a lower self, using harsh words, furious insults or simply decide to rudely ignore those around them.  It is so disappointing and shameful that the primary interaction we have when harried is anger. What if we all took a moment and choose to remain steadfast within our spirits. Standing firm and choosing loving kindness with all whom we interact.  What a different world this would be for it.


“Inner peace is impossible without patience. Wisdom requires patience. Spiritual growth implies the mastery of patience. Patience allows the unfolding of destiny to proceed at its own unhurried pace.”

Brian Weiss


In my work, I have found that interacting with loving kindness catches people off guard.  They simply do not know how to respond.  I have even had men think I am flirting with them simply by being kind.  Is that really where we have come?  Kindness is the exception not the rule? Patience is also important when beginning a relationship. To really understand another, much time must be directed towards that end.  If we are rushing around, energy cannot be given to this important job. To love another soul is one of the most important things that we do in our lives, yet it is given such little priority over other life milestones.  It is distressing and with lasting consequences. Young people jump into relationships like they are trying on clothes for size.  The depth of the process has been lost in this rushed world and the relationships that result can be just as superficial.  


“Patience is not sitting and waiting, it is foreseeing. It is looking at the thorn and seeing the rose, looking at the night and seeing the day. Lovers are patient and know that the moon needs time to become full.”



Similarly, patience in vocation is essential. From a young age we are asked what we want to be when we grown up.  Children list a litany of job descriptions, but one never hears nice, kind or loving as goals to aspire to.  Upon reaching adulthood it is not uncommon to become dissatisfied with life and unsure of which vocational path to follow.  Why must we choose just one?  If we are living authentically a path will unfold, as it should.  Divine timing is not negotiable and patience is required. We must continually stand steadfast in the unknown until the answers we seek are reveled. As long as we are true to ourselves we are living the best life that we can in that moment. That is enough.


The practice of patience holds such great meaning for me, I have at times considered getting a tattoo of the word in a place that I can constantly gaze. Sometimes a visual cue is all that is required to remember to return to that place of a calm and gentle spirit. Whatever your method,  try to continually practice patience with yourself and all that you encounter.  Perfection is not the goal, but continued effort is. If we place greater importance on this character trait, the busy mentality might finally begin to abate, the result being space created for the meaningful life work that remains.