The Paradox of Resilience
It all depends on how you see your life.
Resilience is a gift and a virtue.
Some of us naturally have reservoirs of it; others cultivate it over time.
It is the capacity to get up, again and again, in the face of pain and still move forward.
It is the capacity to pick yourself up when you’ve been knocked down, and to take another step forward.
It is the capacity to remain inspired and in awe of life despite the setbacks, losses, and cuts to the heart that we all experience, in one form or another.
That’s one version of resilience.
There’s another version that, paradoxically, doesn’t recognize this first version of resilience as resilience at all.
This second version is the ability to experience all of that and never really see it as a setback, or a loss, or a cut to the heart, or being knocked to the floor.
It’s the ability to see it as a pause, as clearing the space for something new, a reminder of your depth to feel, the need to stop, and not always need to be moving forward.
It’s the ability to experience these events and not see them as points of failure, as moments where the universe or the Divine wasn’t still holding you.
From this perspective, resilience sees the present moment as still utterly perfect, just as it is, without the need to look ahead to a future moment when the challenge has been lifted. Nor does it need to look back and ask, “What did I do in the past that got me here, so I can avoid that again?”
That first version of resilience still has us looking backward and forward in time.
That’s not to deny its power. Not every experience can be reframed; sometimes we are going to experience a loss, a cut, a wound, and somehow calling them challenges won’t do them justice.
The first depends on honesty and awareness of our experience. To be resilient is to recognize that we are in pain and to not give up. It is the power to say we are not going to surrender our lives by giving up and hiding from the world to avoid more pain.
The second depends on trusting that whatever we are experiencing is for our highest good, and to believe that we are still being carried by Spirit. It is the power to say we are going to surrender to our lives by giving up our desire to control how it unfolds.
Paradoxically, we need both, even if they seem mutually exclusive.
Only by experiencing the first enough times, and realizing that life has its own way of moving in and through us, do we discover the second.
A big thanks to Diana C., for this week’s prompt: