Resiliency

Saturday April 23, 2011

I am really happy for the sunshine this morning. We’ve had almost of week without rain. Although cold, the mostly clear skies have helped the entire county population feel better!

I am skipping cycle class this morning to work in the yard. I really haven’t done much in the last two or three years. The physical exertion has seemed too much. I don’t know if it is the weather, the acupuncture I’ve been undergoing for headaches, dizzy spells and high blood pressure stuff (may have to admit stress here), or that I am filtering my activities to be productive in terms of the future (as in, resell value on the house). Likely it’s all three.  Regardless, some heavy yard work of dethatching is good for both me and the yard. I’m sure the neighbors will appreciate it!

I have a new word in my vocabulary: resiliency. I attended a workshop by Lisa Iverson on Thursday night at a local boutique about “learning to ride the waves of life’s inevitable curveballs.” I often see resiliency in the literature about children when related to grief. They are resilient. Why not us grown-ups? Keeping some child-like qualities may be helpful. What makes children resilient? Why do we see them as resilient? That’s something to ponder.

Two things struck me:

  • First, a technique that is easily applied for identifying the positive in life’s irritations. “That’s true, and…” can be a learned response to the well-known what are you telling yourself about the situation? Example given: If you’re stuck in a traffic jam, you might be telling yourself how it will make you late, waste gas and time, just be stop-and-go aggravating. “That’s true (obviously!) AND… I can use this time to decompress my thoughts before I get home.”  Simple, and a new perspective. I like this. This is “trading up” our inner thought pattern to a happier self, one of the writing exercises found in the SFH writing community under construction. I’ll add “That’s true, and” to my “This too shall pass” inner voice.
  • Second was an exercise on listing the areas of our lives, assign the percentage of time we spend in each area and then look at where we might make adjustments to balance the time assigned. Family, work, home management, leisure, friends, relationship, etc. The list is easy. I absolutely went blank on the percentages. Nothing would come out. The following morning I realized why: there is no distinction between all these areas for me! Wow. Grief is the overpowering umbrellas to all these aspects of my life. Grief is the motivator and distraction. Work and family are grief related; home management centers around grief, such as gardening for the future; stress management and self-care are connected to “down time” from grief. These areas of my life are without boundaries because of grief. I don’t have a 9 to 5 job to know when I disengage from the work day. I can’t talk to Dave without knowing time is limited.

That’s true, and…  I actually do have a very balanced approach to all these life areas. I consciously choose to keep my health, friendships, self-care, caregiving, work and family activities in check especially through this overwhelming emotional turbulence. What’s important is that I acknowledge this “curveball” and keep an eye on the ball for a home run rather than a strikeout.

I am feeling resilient at this moment. I’ll bask in this positivity. I know my mood can change. I don’t like what is happening around me, but I can move bravely forward day by day.  Happy sunshine.

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