Christmas is a time of anticipation: For the kiddos, it’s the excitement of Santa’s impending arrival; for us older folk, it’s looking forward to time with family and friends and a bit of respite from the day-to-day. For Christians, the four weeks leading up to Christmas are held by Advent, an entire season devoted to waiting. During these weeks, we try to cultivate the qualities of hope, faith, joy, and peace as we await the coming of the Christ Child. Advent has always held a special place in my life, and this year, in the balance of life with an active toddler and a new phase of my career, I found myself reflecting more carefully on the role of patience in our lives.
Patience, the art of waiting, has become less of a virtue in modern American culture. Our social media feeds are filled with memes and mantras that actively encourage us NOT to be patient: “Don’t wait for it, work for it.” “She believed she could and so she did.” “Just do it.” But I believe that patience is an important practice, especially for dancers and dance teachers.
Patience is the hope of achieving great things that keeps us working toward our goals, while recognizing they won’t come easily.
Patience is the faith that our hard work will one day pay off, in one way or another, even when the process is slow-going.
Patience is the joy of being in the day-to-day, realizing that each class and rehearsal provides valuable lessons that benefit us now and in the future.
Patience is the peace that allows us to know when to rest, when to persist, when to yield, and when to resist.
As the hustle and bustle of Christmas begins in earnest tonight, I invite you to keep the patience of Advent in your heart. Practice patience purposefully in all aspects of your life. Be patient with yourself when it feels like you aren’t making the progress you want in your technique. Be patient with your students when it feels like they just don’t get it. Be patient with your career and trust that things will unfold in the right timing, with just the right amount of effort. Bring hope, faith, joy, and peace to everything you do, in and out of the studio. Trust that these qualities will benefit you now and for years to come, whatever life brings your way. I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a peaceful (patient) New Year!
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