Resiliency in the Time of Chaos
Resiliency is keeping your heart open even when it wants to shut down completely.
It’s damn painful to look at the news everyday and see so much hate, and then it’s compounded 20-fold when something as striking and jarring as Charlottesville happens (though lets continue to remind ourselves, white people, that POC have dealt with this pain on a daily basis for all of their lives).
How do we keep our heart open when it seems like the world is doing its best to rip it from our body?
Focus on the people in your life you can give more love to. Be kinder to the people you know are suffering. Let that person go in front of you in traffic even when you are running late. Make your hugs last longer. Put away your phone and really listen to the person sitting in front of you. Think of someone who has hurt you, and wish for their well-being.
Resiliency is about strategically looking back – not getting caught in a past-downward-spiral – to all the times you’ve survived, whether this time feels better or worse.
Going through a break-up that has your heart feeling a bit too tender? Did something you created and put your soul into not become successful? Do you have a chronic illness that seemed in remission, and now it’s flaring up again? All of these situations can easily take a lot of us down, particularly if we are prone to anxiety and/or depression. But I personally think that one of the best things about getting older is that I can look back and see what I’ve survived – and what made me a stronger person because of that survival.
Use this. Use the lessons you’ve learned. Become a “watcher” of yourself – you can be both the person who is feeling your feelings AND the one who holds the space for yourself, understanding this is a small moment in a big life. Allow those feelings to truly come up without trying to cut them off so that they can actually cycle through you, not get stuck. Trust that they won’t take you down because you’ve survived before, and you will survive this time, too.
Resiliency is about understanding yourself – your patterns, your reactions, your trappings – so that you can begin to make different decisions, even when your immediate reaction is to do what you’ve always done.
Though I never was the girl who dreamed about marriage or having children, I pined for the one who would love my whole heart and soul as far back as I can remember. I pined for them to appreciate and accept all of me, to wipe my hurts away, to save me. I pined for this at age 7, and still did at age 27.
It’s a tough existence to lead, to believe only someone else can save you. That romantic love will be the only worthwhile thing in your life. I was always lucky enough to have an innate drive for something more (for you astrology buffs, my sun conjunct mars demands this) competing with this losing strategy around love. But it still held entirely too much sway for too long, and the only thing that truly got me out of it was some deep digging.
It began with a therapist mentioning the Enneagram to me in one of our first sessions when I was 23. Over the next several years, I nose-dived deep into all manner of getting to know myself – I became vegan, I learned my Ayurvedic type, I learned meditation and visualization, I saw intuitives, I began to learn about Astrology, I read runes, and the list goes on and on. Since then, I’ve continued to add more knowledge into my arsenal, learning about the complexities of introversion, coming to understand my attachment style, reading up on Gene Keys. All of this is to say, I began to see clearly what my blocks were – why I so desperately wanted a savior, what personality traits were inherent and what I got from family, and most importantly, how to begin to make different choices, even when my body and mind seemed to want to keep me trapped in old ways.
I believe that understanding your own motivations allows you to be truthful with yourself and “catch yourself in the act” so that you no longer continue to make unconscious decisions. It’s not always easy, but it is completely possible (this is why we spend so much time in the Metamorphosis program diving into these different areas of self-exploration – I want for you to be able to make different choices, too). To me, this is resiliency hard at work.
Resiliency is about reaching out to others and honestly expressing what you are going through.
Whew, this one has been the hardest one for me, by far. My naturally introverted personality, coupled with my Individualist nature (4 on the Enneagram), alongside my Moon in Scorpio (how I process my feelings internally, and Scorpios feel things so deeply, it’s almost scary at times) has made it hard for me to reach out to others, and then when I did, I often felt let-down, misunderstood, or rejected in the end. It was easier to hold my cards close to my chest.
But I missed out on so many healing possibilities by not saying what I was truly feeling. This is not a simple concept – I do believe it’s important to be discerning in who you speak your truth to, while at the same time also working on letting go off how others react to your truth, because their reaction is really none of your business. Yet my own resiliency has grown leaps and bounds by understanding that I need others to lean on, and that I must reach out for this at times (it’s not up to anyone else to somehow innately know I’m having an issue).
Don’t be afraid you’ll say the wrong thing, that your emotions will take over, that you’ll be “too much”. You will learn by doing how to get better at expressing yourself. In the meantime, you are owning your truth, which accounts for so much of what human beings are looking for in this life.
Resiliency is about doing the work, then letting go. Sometimes, it’s about doing the work to let go.
I had a conversation with a friend the other day about how hard it can be to let go of something you truly wanted, you truly believed in. She confided it seemed that other people could do it so easily, while she just couldn’t seem to release stuff. Oh, it’s so damn painful, I know! But our views of what an outcome of a situation should be often doesn’t line up with the reality of what it is – we have lessons to learn in this life, and if everything simply turned out exactly how our brains wanted it, we’d never learn anything!
The more I learn, the more I recognize letting go is an art form, a muscle, a strategic act to be done over and over again. You don’t let go once and everything is good from there on out, just like you don’t go to the gym and lift weights once and expect your biceps to be perfect Wonder Woman replicas. It’s a practice that you build up over time. Use your tools.
Do what your soul calls you to do, then let go of where it’ll go.
Go after love, then let it go if it isn’t that.
Eat the foods/do the workouts to craft your ideal body, and then laugh at what you imagined the ideal would be.
Trust that people are good and kind, but let go of them if they prove otherwise.
Be authentic, and let go of what anyone else has to say about it.