Getting back up is resilience.
The good news is that resilience can be developed by skillfully meeting these times of woe. Each challenge becomes the opportunity to see things in a way that helps us recover our steadiness of heart and soul.
It all begins with our view.
How are we seeing life? How do we see ourselves? How do we see others?
Do we feel connected to that energy field that continually nourishes us and all life—no matter the circumstances? Do we know that some suffering is unavoidable, but that we have help in meeting it?
Or do we feel separate, totally independent? Do we feel we can pretty much control what happens to us as we strategize and figure out solutions?
When I was much younger I believed that any suffering could be navigated around and avoided if we were wise. I also was inclined to believe I was immortal. During those teenage years I couldn’t imagine this body becoming old. And death was so far away that it didn’t need to be considered, and perhaps it, too, could be avoided.
In short I thought life was a “forever upward” movement. Dips and valleys could be mitigated and I could live on the mountaintops!
Wisdom has taught me that I can’t control life and that death and loss come to all physical beings. Everything that has physical form will pass away. This is unavoidable, for it is a law of nature.
I now also know that there is a way to meet it. As the great Psalm says, “I walk through the valley of the shadow of death and fear no evil, for Thy rod and Thy staff comfort me.”
We can’t walk around that valley, but must travel through it, step by step. And we have help.
We just need to learn where our support is.
Help arrives in many mysterious ways. I believe Dr. Jung said that prayer seems to cause serendipitous experiences to take place. We can pray. We can learn to meditate. We can get help from a skilled therapist. We can speak with wise friends and family members.
We don’t control outcomes and circumstances. But we have choice in how we interpret all that happens, for this directs our actions.
We always have choice in how we see—in how much we cling to our opinions, thinking they are true. There is always something we are not seeing and we can open to a larger, more wholesome view.
We can choose to experience our unpleasant emotions as they move through us rather than ignore them and let this anxiety and sadness result in sickness.
Fully experiencing our emotions can lead us to our core beliefs—into our patterns of behavior which have been hidden deeply in the unconscious.
In this way we bring our light of awareness into the dark wounded places and let light shine onto the pain that has been buried.
This opens it heart/mind to solutions that lead us through that which seemed formidable and perhaps even unbearable.
It takes time. It takes intention. It takes practice.
Losses, when truly grieved, lead us into that which is waiting to be born within us. Things pass so that something new can happen.
We find that the way in and down leads to the way up and out.
Resilience isn’t “being strong and above it all.” Rather it is learning to bend with the blows. It is learning to cooperate with life, rather than demanding that life conforms to our will (for that is truly a lost cause.)
And eventually we find meaning in the events that were so hurtful. We then see how all the pieces fit in and create a beautiful tapestry which is our life. It is always changing and becoming.
Wholeness requires that nothing be left out—even the pieces we don’t like and want to push aside. It all fits in somewhere and brings meaning.
When you think back to the hurts and sorrows you have already gone through, you realize you did get through them. At the time you probably didn’t know why it was happening and wished it would go away. But you lived through it and survived. This has given you resilience.
Perhaps the most powerful thing to recall is that you most likely didn’t do it alone. Someone gave you help along the way—perhaps emotionally, financially, or just cheered you along. Maybe they gave you an idea that helped you find your way through.
I believe our biggest source of resilience is knowing we are connected. At this moment someone, somewhere, is facing something similar to whatever we are experiencing. Knowing this, we can send them love.
Love helps is all to proceed—to walk through the lonely and dry valleys together.
At any moment all we need do is remember to choose love—to connect with others.
We are in the flow of life. We can say, “And this, too, and accept what is happening and seek to meet it in new ways of love and awareness.
We get up and begin again.
We learn to appreciate and receive all the love the universe is giving us. It comes in so many forms—through those we know and those we don’t know. Through a smile of a stranger. Through the breath we are breathing.
Everything we need is here, and we are connected to it. We live in a flow of energy that is empowering us to become more compassionate to each other, for we know we all suffer, and together we can get through it.