True resilience is rarely born of a toughened spirit, the gritting of teeth and wrenching of muscle that pulls us out of a bog by the skin of our teeth. For while this effort may remove us from situations of peril and trauma, rarely does it lead us back to a state of genuine calm and center.
Certainly, life asks us to weather many storms, to take on the scrapes and scars of our humanness, and yet the implication need not be that we return from those experiences battle-weary and despairing, our sense of rightness and safety fleeting or false.
Resilience invites us to stretch and tone the mind and body, to learn how to adapt and develop our elasticity, move from edge to edge, sometimes with great exertion. And yet, when exercised as it is meant to be, resilience carries an imprint of kindness and graciousness, inviting a malleability that is not about weakness.
For strength is inherent in the resilient soul. One that rides equally the waves of everyday suffering and celebration, knowing that every passage offers an opportunity for us to become more firmly seated in who we are. Though perhaps more particularly, each time we come to what we are certain is the end of days, the moment when we are convinced that we will break, we must remember that the proposition of resilience is always near.
This is why the resilient heart is willingly shaped by experience of every kind. Joy and tragedy, breakthrough and breakdown all conspiring to unmask our innate flexibility. To return us again and again from the far reaches of time and space, more expansive, more resilient.
(written September 2018 as our nation grapples with tremendous upheaval and disorientation)