Like many of you, 2020 brought many unexpected challenges and obstacles, which as much as I wished, did not miraculously go away at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. The realistic and sensible part of me knew that would not be the case. As many of you would confirm, as much as these obstacles and challenges were uncomfortable, they brought with them experiences along the way I would not trade; lessons and ah-ha’s that would not have come without these adversities.
A few weeks ago, I prepared to join a Senior Coaches Group zoom call. The preparation instructions were to ‘come with a few thoughts or questions that you have been pondering.’ I actually like the word percolating and have the image of an old-school stovetop espresso maker gurgling and bubbling away, creating magical and delicious concoctions.
At that point in time, I had had some tough days. Physically, mentally and emotionally, I felt completely and utterly depleted. Life had brought me to my knees, and there I stayed. There was not one drop left in my gas tank. My heart was exhausted, my body felt battered and bruised, and I could feel the mental spin in slow motion as I struggled to make sense of what was happening to me.
In a nano-second, something shifted for me. There was a glimpse of having the choice to either allow the downward spiral to continue or choose something else. I chose to exhale. It wasn’t a cognitive decision; it was a body-based need. It may have been a moment of surrender; not a giving up but more of a sense of, ‘if I stop fighting this, what might happen?’
Breath helped me settle. Deep exhales and releases, every cycle, allowing my body to soften and release a tiny bit more. Allowing myself to be there – exactly as I was, in that moment, and giving myself permission not to rush to a solution or “get me the hell out of here!!!!” which is what my body was screaming for.
In those few moments of settling, a question appeared -what happens when we bump into the edge of our resilience?’ Is this what it feels like??
An image of a garden tap appeared. No hose attached, worn and beaten by the weather and the elements. At some point in time, this tap had powerfully navigated rushing water, bringing life to the grass, trees and greenery all around it. But at this moment, it was completely dry. Not a drop of water to be found. As I held that image in my mind, I wondered, if, with every ounce of strength I had, could I turn the tap and invite even a trickle of water?
At that moment, I realized resilience is not finite, it is infinite. Even when our current circumstances bring us to our knees, and we feel so completely and utterly depleted, with no idea how to begin to rise, let alone stand strong again, there is always a possibility. The tank, our tank, never empties completely. Our human experience and the miracle of our living bodies give us the ability to resource ourselves even when our minds tell us we cannot (or even when our minds don’t know how). Tuning inward, into our bodies, connecting with our breath, placing a hand on our heart – listening and feeling for one tiny drop, one sliver, one glimpse of hope, love, courage, whatever it is that fuels us at that moment, we have it. It is within us..
Over the past few weeks, my relationship with resilience has shifted from holding it as a finite source that could be depleted and only built with skill and tooling to recognizing it as an infinite source within me. Please don’t hear that this is suddenly easy, like we turn on the tap, and the flow of resilience magically gushes out and replenishes us. It is not. It does not.
Where I am and what I am focusing my intention on is holding a trust, a deep-rooted trust in myself that when the world brings me to my knees, I can pause there knowing it is going to be okay. I can connect to what matters to me at that moment and what I need at that moment. It may be something minimal, seemingly insignificant yet powerful.
When I exhale and loosen my grip on the fear, doubt, angst, and other emotions present, I create space for something else. That something else may be the sliver of space needed to imagine that tap and the one beautifully formed, tiny drop of water that begins the flow, bringing nourishment to my soul and helping me connect with my own infinite source of resiliency.
My invitation for you is to percolate on your own relationship with resiliency and ask yourself, ‘do you trust the wisdom of your body to connect you with the resilience you need, when you need it’?