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How do you do it? Resilience!

Updated: Jun 24

I didn't measure my resilience until my husband died.



But during the year following, "How do you do it?," was a question I was asked a lot.



Friends, strangers, even a Rabbi once, all asked this question.   



I didn't really have an answer for them, then.



But now I think I do.



We all experience stress as a result of daily triggers, and from crisis, loss and as a result of other life changes and opportunities. 



Our ability to metabolize that stress and then grow from adversity depends first, on the degree of resilience we are born with.



But we don't have to stop there.   



We can learn to grow the circuitry in our brain that helps us learn new skills, like resilience.



A painter in my six week intensive described her growth this way last week (paraphrasing):



 "I want to paint something that I feel scared to confront. In order experience a successful outcome, I have to intentionally go after that feeling.  I did that by creating a safer way to enter the painting  That way, I got to create a new experience, so I now I fear approaching that difficult subject less next time, and the time after that."



Artists who value growth learn resilience. 



Learning to be resilient seems a worthy practice for folks who work in fields where there is more than a fair share of disruption, rejection, and uncertainty.



Why?



Because the strength of our resilience determines to how we feel about ourselves. 



Dr. Rick Hansen, author of the book Resilient, says resilient people develop an unshakable core of well-being that keeps them feeling whole and happy even while facing triggers, challenges and hardships.



This kind of learning is not something we can do just in the mind.



In order to expand our circuitry in the brain and become more resilient we have to record the new (and successful) experience of resilience in our bodies too.  



The creative spaces - painting, movement, writing, storytelling -  they are often embodied practices that lend themselves to this kind of thoughtful sensory integration --  The kind of learning that leaves a trace. 



If you want to grow in a certain area, be specific about what trait you want to grow. 



Then go ahead and learn how to do it by experiencing it first, and then allow the new feelings to be felt and installed.



I came into the world with a good degree of optimism, that is true.



But I became resilient because I value learning and growth - those two values are in My Top Three.



I was willing to learn to be more resilient by taking risks that felt empowered and got me results I wanted.



How do I do that? 



To be honest, there are days I don't know how I've become as resilient as I have (consider where I started!).   




It's a responsibility to be resilient. 



It means you will always get back up again even when you don't know what the future holds.



It's still scary sometimes.



So how do I do it? 



It's something I



have learned.  I wasn't born that way.



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