Updated: Dec 6, 2020
Full disclosure – I’m a big fan of Niall Horan. His solo stuff is awesome (seriously, listen to it!), so please don’t judge him for his One Direction origins *
*I’m as guilty as anyone of being judgey of those boys (and remember, they were boys) and the girls who followed them so ardently and vocally. But if I think back to when I was 14-15-16, I was a squealing, obsessive fan of certain bands and actors! It has been this way for generations - my mum was the same at that age about Paul McCartney and his Beatles buddies. And – full disclosure #2 – I actually really like some 1D songs!!
I listen to Niall’s second album ‘Heartbreak Weather’ pretty regularly. As with any album by any artist, you resonate with different songs at different times – yesterday you loved that up-tempo track, whereas today perhaps a ballad is where you’re at. ‘Dear Patience’ is one song that I’ve sung along to and appreciated before, but this morning something new struck me about it – I seemed to feel it rather than just hear it. I saw its emotion, not just its words. It’s essentially a letter to the feeling or action of ‘patience’, a plea of sorts for it to play a more active and visible role in the narrator’s life. It now seems like something of an anthem for our times!
My trusty Oxford Dictionary tells me that patience is defined as:
1. Calm endurance of hardship, provocation, pain, delay etc.
2. Tolerant perseverance or forbearance.
3. The capacity for calm self-possessed waiting.
Such oddly yet beautifully poetic language!
Amid a second Covid-19 wave and halfway through lockdown 2.0 here in Victoria, with an unknown future beyond the next three weeks, patience is on everyone’s To Do list. Some days all we have is that "calm self-possessed waiting", as the numbers continue their rollercoaster and the supportive smiles to our comrades are hidden behind masks. History and logic tell us that this will come to an end some time, but whether our new normal is weeks, months or years away is unknown right now. Patience invites us to take it all day-by-day, being more gentle with ourselves and others along the way.
Niall's lyrics in ‘Dear Patience’ invite us to consider our own relationship with "calm endurance" and "tolerant perseverance". Here are some lyrics to show you what I mean…
“Dear Patience Can we share a drink and let go of the pressure?” If living through a pandemic is teaching us anything, it’s perhaps the value of a slower, simpler, quieter existence (if you're in the privileged position to be able to do that). In a world that has glorified busy-ness for decades, it's reminding us of the the importance of listening to our body and the value of rest. It's showing us that we can pursue our dreams and fight for what we believe in, but maybe without the urgency and pressure we may have once felt. It feels to me like we've loosened the top of the fizzy drink bottle for that first rush of air to escape so we can open the bottle safely.
We have a choice about how and whether we put pressure on ourselves to perform or succeed (get that job, meet ‘the one’, buy a million dollar house, build that six-pack), or engage in or do or be something else. We also have a choice to take a step back, really examine what’s important to us, and let go of the pressure to be or do anything in particular. Whether the pressure you feel is coming from yourself, your family or society, ask yourself if it's worth it? Time will pass, and it's up to us how we use it and how much we enjoy it.
If you shared a drink with patience, what would you talk about? What would it tell you to let go of?
“Hey, can you show your face? Can you see that I'm anxious?” If you weren't deep in worry, anxiety and fear before this year, it's all around us now. Whatever you're feeling, feel it - it's totally understandable, and won't be eased by ignoring or burying it! I've never experienced true anxiety, so can't proclaim to know what it's like or how to find your way through it. But I'm a definite worrier and have been paralysed by fear. What I've learned at several points in my life is that time is a powerful healer.
As part of your self-care routines, now more than ever, can you invite patience to come along for the ride with you; ask for it to bring some calmness to cope with whatever pain you're feeling. This might include journaling, meditation, yin yoga, talking to friends, family or professionals. It might be recognising when you're getting caught up in thoughts, social media scrolling or news bulletins - and going for a walk, reading a book or taking a nap instead. Google calming breathing techniques and try them out, then notice if you feel different (or email me and we can find something that can work for you).
You will get through this. We will get through this ... I deeply believe that. We just need a little patience and time and self-love.
"Dear Patience If I pour my heart out, can you keep a promise?" What would your ‘Dear Patience’ letter say? Take some time and actually write it! Pour your heart out and let patience be your ally for the uncertain future we are all looking into.