Practicing Resilience in Troubled Times by Bill Gisclair-Sullivan
If there is one thing we learn in life, it’s that life is ever changing. In the practice of Mindfulness, we lean into the impermanence of life and even embrace it. The truth is,everything is changing. Some things change quickly, some things slowly, but nothing is standing still. This constant change brings worry for some of us. In some, it brings up fear, doubt, and anxiety about the things we aren’t in control of. One of our greatest fears is the impermanence of life. The truth is, we can either resist this change or embrace it, but with resistance comes suffering.
During this challenging time, I find myself sharing in my meditation sessions and discussions the keys to embracing change and practicing resilience. Resilience is the ability to manage our reaction to the stresses and troubles in life, and to function well, even when bad things happen. Practicing resilience means we find ways to stay true to ourselves despite the challenging circumstances in our life. We can’t always choose our circumstances, but we can ALWAYS choose how we respond to them.
As part of a community, resilience means we tap into our gifts and our strengths to help ease the suffering of others. In our relationships, resilience means we stay connected to the love, forgiveness, and compassion that we hold in our hearts for those we love. When raising children, resilience is about finding a way to be the parent we are meant to be, no matter what else is going on around us.
A resilient person always finds a way to be authentic.
Fortunately, resilience isn’t something that we have to go out and search for, it’s something we already have. Resilience is a skill we build throughout our lives—especially when we find ways to get through a challenge. In reflection we know we have overcome so much in our lives and we should lean into that strength rather than our limitations.
During these challenging times it is important for us to remember, we will get through. We should turn to the things that bring us strength and confidence rather than always paying attention to the fears and doubts. To be resilient we also need to remember to take care of ourselves. Some of the steps I share in this practice are:
1. Nurture Yourself: Every day you should find something you can do to take care of yourself. Practice meditation, take a walk in nature, soak in a bath or listen to your favorite song. Taking a few minutes to nurture yourself isn’t selfish, it’s necessary. We all need to take some time to refill our cup of love so that we can give from a place of abundance rather than lack.
2. Remember that this too will pass. It’s important to hold on to a sense of hope for the future, and to believe that a better day is coming. When you are in the middle of a particularly hard day, think about what you are looking forward to when you, your loved one, or your children are able to do things you enjoy outside of the house, with people you love.
3. Check in with others and share your thoughts, your struggles, your challenges. There is no reward for “going it alone”. We must always embrace the community around us, our family, friends, our support system. Share your thoughts and listen to others. Everyone we know is facing challenges in some way or another and sharing these things can be so powerful.
4. Look for moments of joy and encouragement, no matter how small. Notice what people in your community are doing to help one another. Look for signs of the changing seasons, or even just the joy in a sunrise or a flower. Look for the good and you will find it.
Living resiliently is more than just “bouncing back.” It is about shifting our perceptions, changing our responses, and learning something new. Living resiliently represents a whole new way of being and doing. It isn’t just for the hard times — it’s for all times. Empowering us to live, love, and work adventurously in the face of change, it builds a well from which we can draw for the rest of our lives.
All it takes it a moment to connect to the resilience within. Taking a moment to pause, to breathe, to focus, we find that our breath is flowing, our heart is beating, the world is still spinning and today is a new day. The beautiful thing about the impermanence of life is that we are NEVER stuck. Everyday we have the opportunity to start fresh.
Like the sun that rises in the morning. As it comes up over the horizon it doesn’t care how it rose yesterday, it doesn’t care about how it will rise tomorrow, it just rises and shines and shares its gifts with the world. As the sun comes up every day it doesn’t care about the weather or even if anyone is watching, it still fills the earth with light and provides for all of life, no matter the circumstances.
Be like that, open your eyes every day. Tap into that strength and set the intention to share your gifts with the world. We take it one day at a time, one breath at a time, and embrace every day and every breath, every face and every place, as the gifts that they are.
Be Resilient !!!