The news of this last week has entered my consciousness with a wake up call. It is a call for resilience.
I was asked recently after sharing my message on the inevitability of change and the intentionality of transformation, “What do you do when you get down?” I hope I answered that I read my book! I also give myself my speech and draw on my vast resources of resilience, gathered throughout living my life during and after navigating the narrow spots, and put them into practice. I awoke early this morning with the realization that it is time for me to put into practice what I preach.
Our nation is in a narrow spot in the hourglass and the sand is moving through it. We can go kicking and screaming – but we are going! I have made the choice not to stick my head in the sand and pretend nothing has happened. Rather, I am resting head up and alert, sifting through the resources found in my sand that have been refined and redefined in this passage. I am choosing to be a thriver and grow through this narrow spot. I am choosing to live with abundance and not scarcity and say, “Yes, this has happened. And now what?” I am choosing to move forward with realistic optimism and resilience. Will you join me?
Rule # 1 in resilience training is Realistic Optimism – Focus on the positive without denying the negative. To that I would add:
accept the reality of the circumstances;
face the fear;
honestly assess the challenges;
set the intention to see possibilities;
work toward some goal;
have faith in the outcome;
maintain a sense of humor;
express gratitude; and
realize that grace is present in it all.
So here are some resources – bits and pieces from my book and my speeches. Use them if you wish and add yours to the list.
“Have patience toward everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves.… Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even knowing it, live your way into the answers.” Poet Rainer Marie Rilke
“The last of the human freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.” Viktor Frankl, Holocaust Survivor
“A ‘thriver’ is one who knows when to hold ‘em and knows when to fold ‘em” Paul Pearsall, PhD.
A favorite definition of fear is False Expectations Appearing Real. Fear keeps us from being open and moving forward – it does not prevent us from experiencing narrow spots – it only makes the passage more challenging.
Grieve the loss of a hope and a dream.
Ask yourself these three questions:
What is TRULY lost?
What is possible?
Robert Frost said, “I can sum up everything that I have learned about life in three words: It goes on.” Until it ends, life does go on. When we are learning to live life with the new arrangement in our sand, we have choices: to learn to do some things a new way, to ask for help, or to decide gracefully not to do some things. We get to choose our attitude along the way. Taking responsibility and giving up control are the two sides of the resilience coin. No matter where your emotions run today, over time and with effort and attention, you can change their course.
In the song, “Closing Time” by Semisonic, there is a lyric, “Every new beginning comes at some other beginning’s end.” Change is inevitable. Transformation is intentional, purposeful and not effortless.
The Shaker tune says: “To turn, turn, will be my delight..for in turning, turning, we come round right.” Perhaps narrow spots are meant to encourage us to throw away the old maps, moving us on beyond where we are now to the fullness of life we are here to discover by choosing to accept whatever comes our way, embracing each passage and navigating the ever-changing journey called life.
Here is my call to action:
Make a list of all the freedoms you count on and care about and spend your finite resources of time and energy practicing them. Tell their stories. Respond resiliently to this narrow spot.