As I continue to live this life, I am increasingly in awe of our capacity for resiliency. With the many twists, turns, surprises, pain, illness and loss; our bodies, minds & psyches’ can heal. Not only heal, but often grow, learn and deepen our compassion for others’. I believe the Buddhist principles to be accurate, on viewing life as a thousand joys and a thousand sorrows; and in understanding this, one is able to cultivate the skill of equanimity. So how does this help? Acceptance of our life experiences’ is key; the Buddhists’ realize that challenge, or pain, while difficult, are not what causes suffering. Rather that suffering stems from not accepting what is, trying to push away pain or cling to joy.
On a personal note, I have gone through a 4 years’ of intense challenges, on the top ten stressors in life; this has included illness, chronic pain, moving from my home of 23 years where I raised my twin babies, my father’s death and my husband’s diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. I experienced great levels of stress, fear and grieving. I am slowly beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, in that my health has improved immensely, and I am able to live an active life, I am adjusting to the transition of living in an apartment as the next step is not yet clear. My husband is managing well, and while I am still grieving the death of my Dad in October, I’m okay. This is life, and I accept the challenges. I would not have chosen them, but I accept them, and do my best. Really, that’s all we can do, day by day, our best, and that’s enough.
Many of the tenants of Positive Psychology have aided my ability to get through the tough times. Leaning into the areas and practices that support me. The SPIRE model, an acronym for spiritual, physical, relational, intellectual and emotional, provides a model of perceiving the areas that in your life that you are stronger in, and working on the areas that feel lacking; as all of these aspects in life are important for a well-balanced, meaningful life.
Even during the hardest times, my meditation practice greatly supports my state of mind, physical activity, even modified, supports my body and mind, learning and creating feed my soul, and my relationships are of utmost importance in the good and difficult times. On an emotional level, the practice of gratitude has a huge positive effect. It allows us to appreciate more than ever all the beauty in our life, from watching the sunset, to coming home to a loving spouse, to read, to write; especially to see my twin sons thrive, and see how the have grown into kind, caring, independent young men. As it is said, “what you appreciate”, appreciates.” I have found this to be profoundly true.
Having said this, we all have free will, and to be resilient is a choice. We can feel victimized by circumstances and give up, or accept challenges as part of life and practice the resources that support us.
In the wise words of Pema Chodrin, “ Look at your mind, be curious, welcome groundlessness, lighten up and relax, offer chaos a cup of tea, let go of us and them. Don’t turn away. Everything you think or do affects everyone on the planet. Let the pain of the world touch you and cause your compassion to blossom. And never give up on yourself.”
Certified Life coach in Positive Psychology