Life is a process of hurting and healing. Resilience is the inner strength that we need to help move from recovery to discovery. Today feels like a good day to explore the topic of resilience and what it means to be resilient. With everything that is happening around the world and in our personal lives, we are being called upon to stay centered in our hearts and find strength to keep going despite the spread of fear, viruses and wild fires. In many ways, it seems as if we are being tested to act with loving kindness toward ourselves, our global community and our planet. In times like the present, when fear and uncertainty destabilize our feelings of comfort, we must tap into the force of our will to help move forward with strength and clarity. When we allow our good and strong will to guide us, we build resilience.
What is resilience?
For me, resilience is your ability to move forward and discover your potential, despite challenging obstacles. Resilience is the emotional muscle that you build when you walk through the muck of a painful experience. It is the shore you reach on the other side of a treacherous journey through emotional and physical discomfort. I like to think that, every time you move through a painful event, no matter how big or small, you increase your capacity to be emotionally strong.
A little help from our friends
Although resilience is a personal process of recovery, discovery and strength-building, it helps us to draw inspiration from others. I can think of many great examples of people who have demonstrated resilience in their pursuit of a meaningful life, including every single one of you in this community. I’d like to dedicate this newsletter to each one of you as a way of honouring your incredible strength of spirit.
Also, I am sharing three individuals with you today whose stories inspire me to harness my inner strength when events outside of my control make me feel scared and unsure.
Dr. Edith Eger – In her memoir, The Choice: Embrace The Possible, Dr. Eger shares her story about being sent to Auschwitz at the age of 16. When the camp is finally liberated, she is pulled from a pile of bodies, barely alive. Her story is a testament to the strength of the human spirit and her journey to freedom by following her heart.
Michael Singer – In his memoir, The Surrender Experiment, Michael Singer shares his story about letting go of worries and surrendering to his heart’s desire for peace. His story takes you on a path from his days as a university student majoring in economics, to becoming a meditation and yoga teacher, and then to building a computer software empire. Through it all, he faces many personal and professional challenges; however, his resilience and courage to surrender to the present moment guides him on a path to inner freedom.
Jeannette Walls – In her memoir, The Glass Castle, Jeannette shares her story about growing up in a non-conformist, dysfunctional family. As a child, she faces the challenges of alcoholism, anger, and betrayal by her parents. Through it all, she harnesses determination from the love of her siblings and she discovers her true potential in life.
Jeannette’s story resonates with me on many personal levels. Growing up, I struggled with the pain from my father’s alcoholism and my mother’s depression. I lived with the impacts of betrayal and abandonment by my parents. It was my sheer will to live and experience love that kept me going. At times, even now, negative thoughts come up from the past that make me question my worthiness and place of belonging. But, by the pure force of will and the support of my closest friends, I quiet the scared voice in my head and harness my inner strength to keep moving forward in the direction of my dreams. I make the choice to follow my heart.
My book, Your Heart Compass, is inspired by my personal journey to find a way through life’s storms to joy, kindness, courage and calm. By all accounts, it is the story that guides my actions in life. It is a nod to our capacity to be resilient.
A quote from Michael Singer:
“When you “lose it”, you lose your center of will, whereby you allow another force to overcome you… You lose your ability to stay centered, to stay clear and to be in control of yourself.”
I love this quote. It is relatable to my everyday human experience. I think we are all capable of losing it and getting angry when we feel ignored, defeated or de-humanized. Michael Singer reminds us that when we lose “it”, we lose our ability to be in control of our emotions and we lose our clarity of thought. In these moments, we must dig deep within our soul and find our will to stay centered in our heart and move forward with love. This is the journey to freedom, authenticity and well-being.
Thank you for being here. Next time, we’ll explore the art of surrender.
Let’s journey together.