Resilience is defined as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats and significant sources of stress.
Adversity is painful.
It is challenging, but it doesn’t need to influence our choices on a day-to-day basis. We always have the option to rethink and modify for the greater good the course we had charted … at an earlier time and different place.
Of course, we have in our hands, in our brain and in our heart the complete kit that will help us bounce back.
And bounce back, we do, stronger than before.
Interestingly, ancient Japanese culture expresses the concept of resilience in four words: nana korobi ya oki.
We fall down seven times, it states, and we get up eight times.
We never stay down.
Toddlers learning to walk know that.
Nothing will stop them from getting up again and again.
Eventually, they stay up, and they quicken their little steps.
Then, they run.
Eventually, they skip, jump higher and higher.
Most of the time, they land back on their feet fully balanced.
Either way, nothing short of a loss of interest or trauma will keep them still.
Real deal: we know that when we take time to reflect positively on our past and present, the future we wish to bring about throughout the series of moments streaming underfoot becomes clearer.
So, we top up our morning meditations with two or three-minute transition meditations slotted throughout the day.
These short frazzle-spacers help us release what the stress the day has so far yielded.
They help us settle down ahead of the next moment.
We certainly should prioritise a small frazzle-spacer before any activity or encounter we anticipate as ‘complicated’.
Definitely, too, before we go open the front door at the end of a stressful or tiring day.
Reality check: whether we intend our innovative thinking for our own upgrade or for the better health and prosperity of the world around and beyond ourselves, we accept that it is an unprecedented, all-systems effort that needs to be activated within our inner/outer realities.
It is to be the sort of effort that mobilises every inner-outer resource available to us.
We trust, totally trust, that the multipronged, comprehensive and sustained strategy envisaged will pay the dividends we are after.
Of course, we know it’s beyond our pay grade to control the whole giant conundrum of inner and outer dysfunctionality. But, instead of blocking, avoiding, suppressing, drowning it – and losing ourselves in the process – we, intentionally, let each trigger go.
We let them be.
We let them be one at a time, as they present themselves in our 3-D reality.
And we breathe consciously.
We do that the best way we can – in every moment we can.
Of course, we know that ‘the’ essential feature of our comprehensive approach must be the ability to go with the flow when things don’t go to plan.
Whatever happened happened. We don’t ‘let it go’.
We don’t shrug it off.
We just … let it be.
In the fulness of time, our small steps will get us close enough to our desired destination.
For now, how about we just look at the most glaring ‘problem’ that’s right in our face?
How about we find one small thing we can fix and lean into it?
Often a little gesture will do.
Often one reproach not formulated will do.
A few words of apology spoken hand-on-heart will do.
They will do right now. They will do …today.
Tomorrow – next time – we will do more.
We will do more better.
Though the vast majority of us suffer from emotions felt during our first years of life, intuitively we know that the type of response we put ‘out there’ determines how long the ‘tough times’ last.
Like the invisible movement of the tectonic plates under the sea, every hurtful memory triggers years of aftershocks.
Therefore, as if looking from above and into the past, we are, indeed, thankful for the resilience our ego-persona has displayed in the management of our early childhood and beyond.
We thank her/him for handling all the circumstances that have seen us through the best and the worst that has passed.
Through the best and the worst of the life we are experiencing, here and now, as energy beings incarnated on planet Earth.
From within the walking/talking vessel that is our ego-persona, our karmic mission – now – is to thrive from within.
Truth is if, today, we are reasonably healthy, reasonably coherent, reasonably independent, we owe it all to the younger versions of our ego-persona – our forever younger selves.
They are the ones who showed up for us, time after time, up to the moment of the in/out breaths taken a few seconds ago.
At this point, it might help to bring out the ole photo album to better focus on these younger selves.
The ego-persona we were then.
Briefly, we remember the feelings.
We remember the thoughts.
Whether we did it reactively or passively, we remember the reasons why we did what we did.
If in any past moment, our ego-persona showed up unable to shoulder whatever befell her/him on the continuum of the life that is ours, we still thank them.
Yes, their emotions created an obstacle course our soul [or the universe, or God, depending on one’s beliefs] intended us to handle like duck soup – easily enough.
Imagine their dismay when we failed.
Still, we reassure each younger selves, as we would a child who needs to hear that, at the time, they did the best they could with the awareness that they had.
We remember that we were not by their side full of our grown-up wisdom.
We were not there to lead them by the hand out of the rabbit hole where their emotions, thoughts, actions and inactions had pushed them.
They managed life all by themselves – up to where we are at today, here – now.
So, here and now, we owe them for having done their best, and we tell them so.
As we turn the pages of that ole album, we hug each of our younger selves.
Because we owe them so much, we tell them we forgive them for any mismanaged emotions, thoughts, reactions and inactions.
Dear Reader, let me introduce you to a few of my most resilient younger selves.
They are the ones who have enabled me to become the still-resilient, healthy and reasonably coherent Carole Claude/C.C. that I am today 🙂
As the British writer and theologian, C.S. Lewis said, ‘We are what we believe we are.’
So, first, we quieten the feelings in our body. Then, we quieten our thoughts.
Next, we release What-Was.
And we turn more pages of the album that was our life.
As we forgive ourselves for the past up to … now, we forgive others, too.
We do the best forgiveness we can manager, here – now.
Tomorrow and in the days to come, we will endeavour to forgive ourselves and forgive others better.
It all begins with an intention.
Then, small steps follow.
Those who have hurt us did so for reasons that are not ours to understand.
Those who did it maliciously are few.
Karmically-driven to test our inner-strength and flexibility, most did what they did out of their own incoherent ego-persona.
Those who, days, months or years after an event, are asked why they behaved as they had, their replies usually amount to, ‘I don’t know. It’s like I wasn’t myself. It was really silly of me to do that.’ They often add, ‘I’m so sorry’.
Bottom line: unbeknownst to us, they, too, have had to deal with their own [karmic] ripples of varying magnitude.
That said, as we have, they probably failed to link the ripples of cause and effect, of action/reaction to all outcomes and consequences.
Whether we are aware of them, there are always reasons behind our emotions, thoughts, and actions – even behind our inactions.
At one time or another, we all had a tank full of negative fuel that drove us to cower, rebel or blaze through in a bid to feel validated by many.
First, by our parents.
Then, by our peers.
Still to this day, within our clan, on the workplace and ‘out there’, we want to prove others wrong about the judgement we think they’ve cast on our person.
We do that because we feel vulnerable.
We feel lacking in some way.
Perhaps we doubt our accomplishments and fear being exposed as a ‘fraud’.
Good news: we do have control over the critic and the judge that we’ve been hosting within the whorls of our mind.
Even when the long string of moments underfoot seems full of noise and craziness, we do, at all times have control over the voices of the Critic and the Judge.
In fact, silence them is what we need to do.
They won’t mind.
They’re not real.
We silence the Critic and the Judge who have settled within – the ghosts who pull our strings. The ones who control our thoughts and our reactions.
Now, we become the Arbiter of our thoughts, of our actions and of our reactions.
Now we respond in a manner that is aligned with our best intentions.
Reality check: when we control our thoughts, we control how we respond to our feelings.
It is then that we bring our emotions and our thoughts out of incoherence.
It is then we bring them into the sort of coherence that is aligned with our heartfelt priorities.
In doing so, we step into the unknown.
In doing so, we open the door to a world of coherent earthly possibilities. We trust they are there.
We trust they have been karmically designed to bring us closer to our most profound purpose for being alive on planet Earth.
Though within the boundaries of the world as we know it, they are aligned with the yearning of our higher self.
With the yearning of our soul – our own yearning for contentment.
So, dear Reader, what enhanced attitude should we add somewhere near the top of our bucket list?