On resilience

Putting my deck away yesterday, a card fell out. I might have just slipped it back into the pile otherwise, but yesterday it really felt like the card was asking to be seen.

It’s not Monday, but here’s a bonus tarot message for the day. Just, because. As usual, it felt like a timely reminder for myself, I have been experiencing some difficulty in staying in contact lately. Partly because I have thrown myself into the fullness of work, and I’m still finding my feet with a natural rhythm. But partly also because the nature of this work itself has been bringing up a lot of my own inherent needs that need to be seen. There is sometimes discomfort with this sort of process, and the mind usually kicks in and does it’s very best to keep me on top of things, and it’s easy to lose sight of the cost at which that “staying on top” comes.

So this was a good reminder. And maybe you need one too? Stealing this one off my Instagram, but here goes.

What are you ignoring, in the pursuit of resilience?

While we’re talking about mind-body connect, here are some classic coping mechanisms that we’ve culturally come to accept as being good for us.

  • Staying busy to stay distracted
  • Abusing food and nourishment, either binge-eating or crash-dieting
  • Throwing ourselves deep in work
  • Powering through our days on auto-pilot
  • Shirking help

When we hit a rough or an emotionally challenging patch, particularly one that demands stillness, introspection and a deeper connect within, our minds work extra hard to bring in some/all of these coping mechanisms as a way to keep us from feeling miserable. But it invariably comes at a cost — most often a huge disconnect between mind and body. Which, while it may provide immediate comfort, can send you deeper into emotional disconnection and not really do you any good at all.

Culturally too, we laud these behaviours as resilience, perseverance, as “bouncing back”, and further reinforce them. And while it is important to allow whatever it takes to cope, it is also important to know there is no bypassing the process of healing, which sometimes takes us to uncomfortable places that demand a deeper mind-body connect. The distress and discomfort, while being intrinsic to healing, can be eased.

It’s okay to lean on a coping mechanism, but are you in touch with when you may be going over the edge, into numbing something that needs to be seen?

  • By seeking a trained professional to assist/guide your healing process
  • By leaning on sources of strength, rest and rejuvenation often
  • By gradually inculcating mindfulness and stillness
  • By creating spaces for safety, vulnerability, joy and connection that heal

I also know, and I will personally vouch for this, that the healing process is a severely non-linear one. Having mastery over something, being in touch with inner self, at one time, does not ensure that you will remain in that state at all times.

It’s just best to be realistic and know that you will inevitably swivel this way and that, depending on a host of different reasons. How aware you are of those movements, and how compassionate and non-punitive you can be with yourself with that self-knowledge, can make all the difference.

One year ago: Like seeing sunlight
Two years ago: Stop this train, I want to get off and go home again

3 thoughts on “On resilience

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