I Bow to the Power of Resilience
My resilience has gotten me far in life and I’m so very grateful it’s part of my makeup. Quite remarkably, it was that intrinsic fortitude that rose to the occasion after I fell over 150 feet down the side of a mountain and nearly died. Even with a brain injury and amnesia, my persistence came through quite naturally. And in the past 7 years of healing and rebuilding my life, my determination has upheld through the many challenges I continue to face.
My determination has gotten me far. When there’s something I’m after, I don’t take no for an answer. When I want something and discover it’s attainable, I seek out, and make use of, any supportive resources to make my goal come to fruition.
I was recently led an article in the New Yorker called How People Learn to Become Resilient by Maria Konnikova (*New Yorker Magazine, February 11, 2016).
The article states that “Norman Garmezy, a developmental psychologist and clinician at the University of Minnesota,” did research on “the elements of an individual’s background or personality that could enable success despite the challenges they faced.”
In his research with kids, he found that those that were independent, self-contained and didn’t see life’s difficulties as permanent or out of their ability to manage were able to overcome the issues that could’ve brought significant negative impact.
These kids sought out circumstances and experiences that could support them where they needed it. I could identify with this description of resilience.
In fact, being resilient seems to be built into my DNA. For example, I wanted a car when I turned 16 so I found a job at Longs Drugs Store, within walking distance to my house, and saved up money to buy a used car.
And after high school, I was determined to go on to get my Bachelor’s degree. I went to a local community college for two years and then applied as a transfer student to a few universities. When I didn’t get into the school I wanted, I found out why, took the course that needed taking and got in as junior to the school I wanted.
When the funding for University wasn’t there, I transferred from the Longs near my parents’ home to the Longs near the University, took all the many needed steps to get financial assistance and graduated in two years with a degree in hand.
Many of us have that drive and have traversed that same road.
Thankfully, that drive is part of who I am. At times, it’s just a willful, go-for-the-goal determination that gets me to the end point I’ve created in my mind.
Other times, life throws me lemons and I do my very best to create some lemonade from them or at least do my very best to cope in a way that’s uplifting.
I used to think the power of resilience meant working really hard with lots of effort. Now I’m learning it’s about resilience, listening to my body and going with the flow. Through all the years of healing I’ve recently gone through, I have learned that being aware of my body’s needs and putting them as priority makes life more tolerable. I’ve empowered myself through rehabilitation and the challenges of my life being uprooted from my Half Dome Dance and recognize the value of being with what is and growing through it instead of pushing past it.
I continue to practice reeling in my go, go, go and do, do, do in order to stay in the now. Currently, as I struggle with the stress of not knowing where I am going to live, I’ve taken a step back from my typical drive to make-things-happen. Instead of going full force with determination to MAKE things come to fruition, I’m giving myself space and time to allow things to evolve without force and witnessing my natural resilience support me through. And by going slow and taking things as I can instead of draining myself by swimming against the many waves that sometimes come crashing, I’m cutting my anxiety in half.
I’m learning to lean into that inner resilience more, transforming my determination, allowing that inner drive to merge with the here and now, so as to meld into a calmer state of being for the sake of sanity amid the chaos of instability. I bow to the power of resilience. I don’t know how it got here but I am eternally grateful that resilience is hard-wired in me.
Inner Reflection: What have you overcome? What are you facing now that is requiring you to pull from your toolbox of coping skills? What resources are available to you that can feed into your resilience?
*How People Learn to Become Resilient by Maria Konnikova (New Yorker Magazine, February 11, 2016) http://www.newyorker.com/science/maria-konnikova/the-secret-formula-for-resilience