Saturday, October 14, 2017

Cultivating resilience

Cultivating resilience is about finding a balance
between labor and rest; 
between acceptance of what was and is,
and hope for what will be.

As always, the above is a distillation of whatever's dominating my thought processes at the moment. And I was definitely drawn to this image -- originally entitled "On the edge of the oasis." But I find myself wanting to say more -- so (because I can) I will. 

I'm reading two books in the morning these days: a sort of day-by-day guide of excerpts from Julia Cameron of The Artist's Way, and Krista Tippett's Becoming Wise. So my thinking began with a remark from Julia about creativity and perfection, noting that none of God's creations seem to be perfect, and yet creation continues.

Because I struggle with perfectionism, this resonated with me, and I found myself thinking I would post a photo of a particularly gnarly tree, to illustrate the appeal of imperfection. But then I found Krista Tippett talking about some of Brene' Brown's work -- which is also about perfectionism, and the shame we feel around imperfection -- but it was in the context of resilience.

The little podcasting organization I manage has just done two podcasts about resilience -- one for raising resilient kids, and one for building resilient communities -- so the word struck a chord. And I found myself thinking about the differences between my generation and my millennial children's generation. 

The me generation is a bit notorious, of course, for its emphasis on competition, perfectionism, being the best -- clearly our current president is a proponent of "the one who dies with the most toys wins." But our millennial children do not seem to be buying into that (although I am of course generalizing from a relatively small sample.) I think they figured out early on that collaboration and cooperation were more important than winning; that thriving is not necessarily about acquisition; that happiness and community may be more important than money and success. Enough, they seem to think, is pretty much enough.

And to me, it seems like those choices will help make them more resilient. So then I find myself thinking that (and I'm always looking for some redemptive value here) perhaps our president is modeling the end result of those old ways of thinking; that we as a society may learn some important lessons from watching what happens to "the man who has everything," and reading the studies that tell us that those who whip out their automatic weapons and randomly slaughter innocent children and bystanders are almost always those who did not get to play as children, who were not blessed with happiness and community -- in the same way our president does not seem to have been blessed.

So if we continue to ask -- what can we do to offset all the hate we see around us -- perhaps the best answer is to work at building community; to work at inclusion; to work at reaching out to those around us -- however different they may seem -- and to somehow convey that by finding ways to work together we can not only survive, but thrive.

I know. Old thoughts. People have been talking about this for centuries --aren't these the root beliefs of communism and Christianity? -- and still there are wars, and famine, and cruelty in the world. But I'm thinking now is the time to not give up: now we are called to work harder at this, to work harder at love, at listening, at compassion, at collaboration, at caring. Now is the time to reach out, to seek out common ground; not to vilify, or close off, or reject or condemn but to ache for those who are lost and to model, not just tolerance, but love.

But no one said it would be easy.

1 comment:

Doris R. Brodeur said...

Good followup to yesterday's blog. Words to live by. Thank you.