“Dammit,” I yelled. “Not again! I am a fricking idiot,” I said to anyone within earshot. Profanity? Shouting? Disconsolate behavior?
After all, I was a surgeon. A doctor who has held the very soul of a person in my hands and remained calm and positive no matter the
circumstances. Yet here I was frustrated, negative, belittling, and embarrassing myself. Shot after shot, hole after hole, my impatience grew. I had shot a 78 only six days before! Who cared if it was only the second time in seven months I had played? Certainly not my friendly opponents who
were benefiting from my meltdown on the first sixteen holes.

Acting like a twelve-year-old, I buried my 9-iron in the turf and threatened to quit, “I am out of here. Can’t stand this any longer.” But I didn’t. Instead, I grabbed my golf clubs and headed to the next shot. Golf is a game that demands patience, but I had none. Where could I find it? Isn’t that the same question we all ask ourselves when we are frustrated with work, relationships, life’s setbacks, and challenges? We live in an “instant gratification” world with short attention spans.

We have “Instagram” and news 24/7. We have no patience when we want to get our food, a movie ticket, a text from a friend, or through a red light. Loose
weight? Forget “lifestyle medicine”, give me that new pill right now. We have no time for the spiritual.

So where is our patience? It is in the pre-frontal cortex of our brain in the form of the neurotransmitter, serotonin. Yes, it is there, but we must let
it do its job. We can help put serotonin to work by closing our eyes and envisioning success accompanied by the monks’ hum. We can take some deep breaths, maybe even some 4/7/8 exercises. Above all, we must remind ourselves that life is a journey, not a quick trip to the drive-through window at McDonald’s. There will be ups and downs, success and failure, happiness and anger, health and sickness, and births and deaths.

Today is just a tiny part of your journey, just like one hole is just a small part of a golf round. Patience comes from not overreacting to a small piece of
that exciting adventure we call life. We may impatiently struggle, but let’s try to struggle well, knowing that our journey is ahead. Take that deep breath, focus on a positive, and let your serotonin work.

Patience is on the way!

The golf? I birdied holes 17 and 18 to halve the match. Patience had arrived in the nick of time. The endorphins kicked in and life was good!