I think I’m living resiliently right now. Does that make sense?
Certainly, this last week tested my “resilience” quotient and I think I passed muster.
EXACTLY ONE WEEK AGO TODAY…
I was sitting right here in front of my trusty iMAC, blithely writing my second anniversary post for my blog Coming Out Crazy at The Toronto Star‘s Healthzone.ca. Within hours of filing it and waiting for my editor, Brandie Weikle to publish it, she called me with what she described as “devastating news” ~ the powers-that-be, her superiors, had decided to discontinue my blog.
She wanted to know if I wanted her to publish what I had written before learning of this news.
“Yes,” I remember saying instantly. “Why not end on a high!
“But I want to say good-bye in a separate post, next week,” I added.
I WAS STRANGELY CALM ~ STRANGE FOR ME
I was strangely calm. Very unlike me. I quickly made a few calls. Sent a few emails. Started thinking about that last post, which I titled, Epilogue. Then, I threw myself into revising my life. Marking my students major essays. And looking to the future.
I knew, then, I simply had to launch this new blog from my old one. That meant I had four days. I had no idea how that could happen or if it could happen, but I didn’t think about that. I just barreled on. Now, looking back, it was a real “trip” going through the process.
In four days, we were up and running. I did it with four hours of help from Tony Koch, a patient and resourceful website support provider. He stressed that my having worked on TypePad for two years helped. I was comfortable. Willing to try things on my own. I’ve never been afraid of pushing buttons.
I did not want to break the continuity of communication, the centrepiece of any community. And that’s what we are or what I see us as being. A team. With a mission. (I’ll post more about that at a later date, but soon.)
I’m not sure, but wouldn’t you say, that’s resilience? You tell me.
“RESILIENCE” CAN BE VIEWED THROUGH MANY LENSES
In the meantime, I have found a definition that fits with my philosophy of “resilience” ~ and it’s humanistic.
I’m just at the beginning my search for a deeper understanding of this concept. I believe there are both psychological, philosophical and emotional lenses through which you can view “resilience” ~ and perhaps, even genetic. And more. I don’t yet know. I’m researching.
I suspect “resilience” is going to be an ongoing theme, here. Life tests your resilience every moment. Whether you’re driving in heavy traffic or coping with this time of year… tax time!
I found a description of resilience that seems to suit me for the moment. I know I’ll find others.
ONE DEFINITION FOR RESILIENCE
It’s by a psychologist and researcher James T. Neill. He lectures full-time (while completing his doctorate) at the Centre for Applied Psychology at the University of Canberra, Australia. He cites another definition for “psychological resilience” that is certainly connected, but I view “resilience” as being able to turn your adversities to your advantage.
Here’s what he says on his website:
In humanistic psychology, resilience refers to an individual’s capacity to thrive and fulfill potential despite or perhaps even because of (psychological) stressors.
(According to Neill, these stressors or “risk factors” are often experiences of major acute or chronic stress – death of someone else, chronic illness, sexual, physical or emotional abuse, fear, unemployment and community violence. Essentially any situation that has the potential to throw your life into chaos.)
Resilient individuals and communities are more inclined to see problems as opportunities for growth. In other words, resilient individuals seem not only to cope well with unusual strains and stressors but actually to experience such challenges as learning and development opportunities.
Whilst some individuals may seem to prove themselves to be more resilient than others, it should be recognized that resilience is a dynamic quality, not a permanent capacity. In other words, resilient individuals demonstrate dynamic self-renewal, whereas less resilient individuals find themselves worn down and negatively impacted by life stressors.
A DAZZLING EXAMPLE OF “RESILIENCE”
When I think of “resilience” the first person who pops into my mind is athlete, model, actress, author, inspirational speaker, Aimee Mullins.
In 1976, she was born with fibular hemimelia (missing fibula or calf bones) and she had to have both her legs amputated below the knee at the age of one. Her story is stunning and what a dazzling example of ”dynamic self-renewal” ~ have a look at one of her most compelling, recent TED.com talks.
Titled The Opportunity in Adversity, trust me, it’s well worth 21 minutes and 58 seconds of your time.
And in the spirit of brevity, I’m going to stop, here, for now. Don’t worry, I’ll be returning to this subject, often. It’s going to be a theme because you can learn to be more resilient, according to what I’m learning.
I’m also discovering that resilience is a complex and rich area of investigation and one of the most powerful tools of mental health recovery and empowerment. So, stay tuned.
WHAT ARE YOUR STORIES OF RESILIENCE? SHARE THEM…
And most important, let me know your thoughts and experience with resilience. Or where you would like to focus in learning more about resilience. In other words, share your stories. In the comments. You know, I live for your comments. We all do, I believe, in this community of ours.
We can all learn from each other.
“Blessed are the cracked, for they shall let in the light.” ~ Groucho Marx