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How often have you been inspired by the resilient power of the human spirit? How many times have you been in a difficult situation where you thought you could’t take another step when something touched your soul allowing you to move forward in a direction you never imagined? How often have you bent reality through your love and courage? What experiences have tested your resolve to grow beyond yourself; to overcome defeat with a new purpose?

As I move further along in life I find myself musing over all the roads less traveled and not. I’m pondering the many losses that have turned into gains and the gains that have resulted in losses for myself and others. I’m wondering about the present and future that still remain a mystery. I’m recognizing that resilience is not what happens to us but how we react, respond and recover from what happens and the compassion that’s needed for ourselves and others.

I’m also recognizing that our expectations of how it ‘should be’ get in the way of our progress. Do you remember the last time you had an expectation of the should, must or ought of a situation that caused you grief, anxiety and depression when it didn’t happen? What if you simply could have accepted the way it was and allowed yourself to create a receptive openness that embraced the ongoing situation without complaint, criticism or despondency?

It seems to me that resilience is being able to overcome the unexpected and thrive within it. Through this we learn about the amazingly ‘broad spectrum of the human experience’ and how to not only live with it but also to flow with it. This is difficult at times and we’re not always able to do so and yet, as we accept our own significance and the love that’s always with us we’re able to grow, change, and make our unique contribution no matter what the circumstances.

Think of the many children who have life threatening diseases early in life and how they live and die with courage, compassion and contribution. Also reflect on persons like Helen Keller whose loss of sight and hearing at an early age propelled her into a life that changed the way we view and treat those with physical challenges. Her tenacity, resolve and the help that was given her bear witness to the resiliency and power of the human spirit. Loss can become gain.

I experienced this first hand through my father who was hearing impaired decades before I was born. He was deaf without a hearing aid. He couldn’t hear me and yet because of his resilience and resolve he learned how to communicate through the enhancement of his other senses. We communicated beyond words most of the time which taught me the multi-sensory dimensions of  being and doing. His life gifted me with resilience, optimism, compassion and kindness.  

Everyone faces difficulties in this life which present the danger of giving up and the opportunity of becoming more of who we truly are in the depths of our souls. The philosopher Horace  said: “Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents, which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant.” Sit with this as you lean into the spirit of resilience to discover her blessings. . .

  • Quiet your mind and recall an expectation that didn’t get met and your reaction to it. Relax into a receptive mode and embrace yourself. Experience the tender grace of this embrace. Reflect on your many losses that have turned out to be gains. Awaken to your own resilience.

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