Resilience: noun. 1. the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. 2. the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.
I’ll come back to this word. One thing I like to do with words is find other words in them. I’ve done this for many years…it started when I used to play the game Boggle with my stepdad, Schmig. I am aware that isn’t the way to play that game. However, I have sat looking at this word resilience for a few minutes looking to see what other words I could spell and which ones had some sort of meaning at this crossroads I’ve come upon.
Silence: noun. Complete absence of sound. Sometimes silence is hard to come by in our lives. We are so busy running to work, running home, running to the store, running to the gym, running to swim practice, running to soccer practice, running to the kids’ lacrosse games, running to church, running to meet up with friends for a night out—that we don’t take the time to sit and quiet ourselves. I have had the chance to do this with myself for the last several days. Silence can be quite a respite from our daily activities. It can also be maddening and frustrating because left alone with our thoughts, negativity and doubt of ourselves can begin to creep into our minds. Each time my mind has gone in the latter direction, I have gently nudged it back from the darkness. Wednesday, I went for a run/walk. It’s been awhile since I’ve done this. I recall at one point a couple of years ago being pretty fit. I would do CrossFit and run on the same day. I can’t afford CrossFit, and now, I have been working out with friends and sometimes on my own. I have been surrounding myself with some strong role models to keep myself motivated, and one of these friends is an awesome coach, Jennifer Burnett. She and her husband are teaching a boot camp this summer on Saturday mornings, and she teaches Pilates. She has helped me to stay on course and keep myself healthy and in shape. Exercise is my go-to for stress relief. Do I wish I was in better shape than I currently am? You betcha, but one day at a time. I have to learn to take things step by step and not get overwhelmed by the big picture. Running used to be a time for me to quiet my thoughts and meditate somewhat. I miss that and desperately need that in my life. Most of us have a better sense of ourselves when we allow time for silence/meditation. So, time to incorporate it again.
Resin: noun. A sticky flammable organic substance, insoluble in water, exuded by some trees and other plants (most notably fir and pine). What I took away after thinking about this word is that sometimes my feelings about my situation at the moment lead me to be angry, flammable, and maybe not easily contained with water (aka others trying to help me keep perspective). Fir and pine are pretty hardy woods. They’re strong and durable. I don’t always view myself this way although a friend once told me: “I wish you could see yourself how I see you. I wish I was as strong as you are.” At the time, I thought he simply meant what I had been able to do with my body because of doing CrossFit for a year. Now, I think he was speaking about my tenacity, my determination. I’ve kept that conversation close to my heart the last couple years since we had it a few days before he died. I can’t tell you the amount of times it has allowed me not to lose heart and to know that I am meant for something greater than maybe my head can imagine right now. It’s too easy to allow myself to feel as if I wasn’t valued in the communities I worked for the last couple of years. I am starting to think though, that maybe it was me that wasn’t valuing myself. When a flower doesn’t bloom, fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower. All this time I have wondered why I can’t fix myself to be more of what a community needed. Sometimes one has to realize she isn’t broken. My growth hasn’t been stunted–unless I allow it to be. There’s much more to me than I often share with others, so I am going to try to let my guard down and allow people in. Let’s face it: being in education is not easy. It is late hours, it is a plethora of paperwork, it is stressing about observations, it is heartbreak, it is blood, it is sweat, it is heart, it is soul, it is mind, and it is more than its share of tears. And many would agree–it is not worth the amount of money one makes as a teacher. That’s not what being a teacher is to me though. Being a teacher is lighting a fire under someone’s arse so that he/she is passionate about learning for a lifetime. I may just need to re-imagine what being a teacher “looks like” to myself and others. I can do that.
Rise: noun. An upward movement; an instance of becoming higher; verb. 1. Move from a lower position to a higher one; 2. Get up from lying, sitting, or kneeling. I am reminded of a quote by Marianne Williamson: “Our deepest is fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.” For too much time, I lived in a space that I know now was beneath my capabilities. I didn’t feel worthy. I didn’t feel important. I didn’t feel love. It took a long time to convince myself that I am worthy, important, and loved. I have struggled to rise up. I sometimes still struggle with it. Anyone sensing Maya Angelou here? That light Williamson mentions makes me uncomfortable, but that doesn’t mean I am not going to go chasing after it. I will rise. It’s a part of who I am. I will rise. It allows me to grow, and I certainly shouldn’t be trying to put it out. I will rise. Enough people in the world try to diminish the light already–which is silly really because all of us were made to shine uniquely as we are. We should all rise. We should help one another rise. What’s the saying? Blowing out someone else’s candle doesn’t make ours shine any brighter. In fact, it makes the world darker. Duh. Let’s rise, instead.
Resilience: noun. 1. The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. 2. The ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity. I recover pretty quickly from an upset or obstacle thrown my way and although I stumble around at times, I usually find that my mind and heart go back to a pretty positive frame of mind. There is a plant called meadow sage that pretty much grows wherever you plant it in any type of condition–sun, shade, rain, no rain–it will bloom. Meadow sage seeds were formerly used as a paste to remove particles from the eyes and to reduce inflammation and redness. It was also used as a gargle for sore throats and to clean teeth. Pretty medicinal. The current trend is to use it to flavor beers or wines. Anyway, I’ve digressed a bit. There is something from this plant for me to learn I think. It has many positive attributes. Meadow sage thrives in whatever adverse conditions it is thrown in, and I should be ready to do the same. I learn what I am made of in times of adversity. I learn to navigate my way through the uncertainty and feel stronger on the other side, and once I have made it there, I consider where I have been. As I’ve grown older, I sometimes believe I have lost my ability “to spring back into shape,” and yet, each time I have felt stretched and compressed at times, I still seem to find my center. Plus, we never know how that resilience or beauty will impact the world around us. This time will be no different. It has taken a bit longer, and I am still unsure of my path, but I will remain calm, centered, in motion, and ever passionate about learning something new. Why is this? I have done it before. I will continue to do so. It comes from a word that when broken apart into other words knows me well and is part of what makes me, me. See that? Resilience.