the process

Today we ask that you have patience with “the process.”

Most people tend to be very result-oriented, or goal-oriented.  They want to “get there” now.  They are like children in the back seat on the long road trip, whining “Are we there yet?”

Modern technology has in many ways served to worsen human impatience with process.  With gratification available at the click of a button, humans have become addicted to getting what they want now.  Everyone becomes the cranky child in the back seat if there is even the smallest delay in the gratification cycle.  It is no wonder that so many children are diagnosed with “attention deficit disorder,” especially when so many of their parents have the same neurological issue, only they refer to it as “multitasking” and see it as a positive attribute.

With so much eroding human patience, the practice of patience with “the process” must be actively cultivated.

In nature, there is no “instant gratification.”  All living things require time to grow and develop.  Human scientists may try to tinker with this process — and do — but the outcome is always very mixed.  Usually attempts to “speed up” natural processes cause far more harm than good.

This applies to all creative processes.  Despite the ever-increasing human drive to consume more, faster, the creative process cannot be forcefully sped up without causing damage.

All true processes take time.  Usually, with any process, there is an interim period where it can seem like things are a mess, and you’ll never get there.  

It is like the point on the road trip where you have been driving for hours, and realize you still have hundreds of miles before you.

It is like when you are cleaning out a cluttered closet, and all the contents have been laid out on the floor in a great pile.  It looks impossible to clean up such a disordered mess.

This is precisely the point in any process where patience and perseverance are most required.

Yet many people, addicted to instant gratification, are prone to giving up precisely at this point.  This is the major issue for anyone with “ADD.”  When quicker fixes are available, why pursue a process that is slow, and feels frustrating.

That is why you must cultivate patience with all processes, especially in those moments when it seems like a total mess or you’ll never get there.

In fact, it is good to recognize that what appears to be the moment of biggest mess or “not getting there” is, if you push on, always followed by major progress.

All life processes have a pattern where — on the way to greater order, beauty, and structure — there is a period of disorder.  When a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly, the caterpillar’s structure breaks down completely.

Fortunately, caterpillars do not “give up” halfway to becoming butterflies, because the process is messy, or takes too long.

You would be wise to do the same.