The whole point of cultivating resilience is to support wellbeing – body heart soul mind. When we feel well – in whatever way each of us defines and experiences that – we vibrate with vitality. We shine with a radiance that emanates from our innermost. We belong to ourselves.
That’s what cultivating resilience offers the promise of – expressive enlivenment, living into our essence even in the face of change. Not an easy endeavor.
We often think of cultivating resilience as having the tools and resources to get by or survive a hardship. These are important.
Still, cultivating resilience is really about flourishing even in the face of change. Even when that change is challenging, we can touch a deep well of knowing that we’re OK. In knowing that, the body responds with greater ease.
In clinical terms, we refer to this “knowing” aspect of resilience as “perceived coping effectiveness.” The keyword here is ‘perceived’, which comes to English from the old Latin word, percipere, which means, to understand – literally, to take entirely. This type of knowing might sound like this: “I understand this [_] to be a challenge, but I am OK. I have all that I need to see this through.” Which doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. Rather, you trust yourself, your body, and your circle of support.
You know there is a deep well within and reach inside to drink from that well when life pushes too hard. You know how to be supported. You also know how to water that well in times when life eases up.
Living in a state of constantly tapping the well eventually drains it. We find ourselves tapped out with nothing left and no place to go. Watering the well – cultivating resilience – gives us the inner reserves to trust that all will be well.
The words of Julian of Norwich come to us. The anchoress of the 14th century spent the better part of her adult life isolated in a stone cell off the side of a church in England. The size of the cell was barely a hundred square feet. This was during the 100 Years War between England and France, a time of immense suffering. Three outbreaks of the bubonic plague that wiped out nearly half of Europe happened in England during her lifetime. She, too, became very sick and nearly died. It was in this context that her well-known prayer was penned: “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”
We would not dare say this mystic was “cultivating resilience.” She was communing with the depths of understanding. We need not become mystics to come to this understanding. We practice reaching inside to understand how to care for ourselves and offer that loving care.
All the positive thinking in the world will not see you through if the contents of that thinking do not feel real. We can’t talk ourselves into something that feels disingenuous. Being truly resilient is not talking ourselves into something in the hope that if we say it enough, we’ll start to believe it.
Being truly resilient comes out of a practice of deep care for the whole of our selves: body heart soul mind.