Resilience: What it Takes

resilience

The first words out of my mouth, after I slipped in the snow and broke my wrist, were, “WTF?!”  My broken clavicle had literally just healed, and now a broken wrist?!  As my sister drove me to the Emergency Room, I repeated “why why why?” like a mantra. Why was this happening?  Why my right arm? Why now, when I had just begun my journey?  Why a second break? Why me??!!

Unable to drive, or use my right hand for 2 weeks, while I waited to have a cast applied, I spent my time reading Carolyn Myss’ Anatomy of the Spirit, and perusing all my wolf books, in preparation for my art show.  During that time, I realized that asking WHY? is meaningless.  It turns out my first word after the fall: “WHAT” … was the important one.

Why gets us nowhere.  We can’t move beyond self pity with “why”.  But, by asking myself “What?”, I was able to find meaning and purpose in my life circumstances.  That’s what Resilience is all about: finding ways, or at least A way, to spur you on your quest..to fuel you to continue being curious, to propel you to the next step of your journey.

Instead of “Why”, I began asking myself: What can I do with this situation?  I now had at least 2 more months in which I would not be capable of completing any serious work for my exhibit.  So, what could I do with that down time?

Thus, I read; I drew stick figure, left-handed sketches of paintings I planned to create.  I read wolf fairy tales and myths, and wrote barely legible notes for my own fairy tale painting.  And in the process, in the slow relaxation of days, I realized that the novel I’d been working on needed to be transformed into the memoir it was originally meant to be.  What I needed to do was own my story, tell the true tale..despite the many flaws it will reveal about me, about my choices.

I believe we all fall down, and without resilience, we stay there…grounded, wounded, and without purpose.  The next time you find yourself asking “Why,”…turn the question into “What?”  What can you do about it?  What meaning can you find?  What will you do with your experiences?  What action will you take to move forward?

I titled my gallery exhibit “Resilience/Reverence/Resistance”  because the three themes were working and weaving; braiding and criss-crossing together in my life. Resilience calls for movement…be it a change in perspective or an action of matter.  Reverence and Resistance can bolster our resolve.  Stay tuned for my next blog entry which will explore these two notions.

(Photo from Sean Christopher Gallery OH; Resilience Room)

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