Our Resilience

I was thinking this morning about my father. I don’t allow too much thinking about him – too much pain. But in the name of gratitude, I challenged myself to list three things I am grateful for having him as my father.

The first is I learned to garden, to sow seeds, care for growing plants, harvesting, canning, freezing all kinds of vegetables.

Second, I learned how to ventilate a hot house, shade the windows with full sun and open windows in the shade, monitoring the windows as the sun moves around the house. A concept I discovered not everybody is aware of.

Third, I learned resilience. I learned how to survive. I’m not saying all my survivor skills have been helpful. I’m saying I learned to persevere through dictatorship. I learned being nice makes more sense than being mean. I learned how I didn’t want to behave. I learned how I want to treat my children. I learned about individuality because I had to hunt for mine. I learned to work hard because I always had to prove myself.

Resiliency is an ability to recover from or adjust to misfortune or change. No one says it’s easy. Resilience is a human trait and we all have it. We learn from experiences and if we didn’t exercise our resiliency muscle the first time, no doubt another opportunity will roll around to practice again.

Today is my interview with Michael Benner from KPFK LA about Personal Development Strategies on the Ageless Wisdom Mystery School podcast. I’ve been thinking about what I want to focus on. The last thing I expected to talk about was my father and yet he comes to mind when I think about resiliency. Resiliency training also includes surviving the loss of my daughter, and the loss of my late wife. Tragedies create resiliency.

I carry stories in my soul about the pain my father inflicted on my life. Today I focus on gratitude because it helps take the sting out of the pain. I tend to look for negatives in every situation. It’s a stubborn aspect of my thinking process and I’m willing to change it with every opportunity I get. Finding the good takes effort and intention. It’s a habit, and habits are hard to break. I’m a work in process.

I received a great reminder from watching Dr. Lucy Hone’s Tedx talk yesterday. When making decisions, it’s helpful to ask myself the question. “Is what I’m doing helping me or harming me?" This powerful question provides boundaries and control over decision making. Will this decision move me forward or set me back?

Silence helps me observe my behavior. Silence helps me feel my truth. Silence gives me a perspective I never took the time to experience. I have resilience in silence.

This Poem Should Be a Circle

by Mark Nepo

I wish you the ability to breathe

after pain, to begin again, though

nothing else seems possible.

I wish you resilience: to part like

the ocean and accept like the sky,

to be held like a root.

I wish you survival: to take in life