Resilience…

As defined by Google…

Resilience means knowing how to cope in spite of setbacks, or barriers, or limited resources. Resilience is a measure of how much you want something and how much you are willing, and able, to overcome obstacles to get it. It has to do with your emotional strength.

As defined by me…

I have heard many times in the last year that I am resilient as defined by friends, family and co-workers that have walked this journey with me. They say this because in short I have proven that I can “take a licking and keep on ticking” but I am not sure that resilience is the right word. The two other words that come to mind are:

  • Stubbornness as I am a Taurus and those that know me best know that I can be very bull-headed! (I am a Miami Gangster, let us not forget!) As defined this suggests that I am headstrong and willful but so many of the situations I have been faced with were not in my control therefore regardless of how headstrong, I could not have avoided these outcomes and in many cases could not have willed these comebacks.
  • Relentlessness because as defined I can be unstoppable or unceasing but then again I was stopped; my life as I knew it ceased in a moment twice in the last year.

Therefore I resolve that resilience is likely the “right” word. The experiences in my life have given me great emotional and mental strength. I get knocked down and I always get back up; I don’t know any other way. Quitting is simply not an option…EVER. My father taught me that lesson in sixth grade. I came home earlier than expected one day and he asked “don’t you have Patrols today?” and my response was “not anymore, I quit”. His disappointment was palpable, he told me “we don’t quit“. No truer words would ever be said again, from that day on I would never quit.

Life as I learned is all about stops and starts and learning, always learning. Every situation offers a lesson and when you live your life with that point of view you simply can’t “stay down”. If I fall, I learn what created the fall and with that new found knowledge I get back up. I have no choice, none of us do. Life is going to happen, it’s how you react and how you bounce back that will make all the difference.

Setbacks…I have had many…so what…

  • Five procedures and thirteen incisions in the last six months…yep…that is real and every single one of these procedures was unexpected, the ultimate definition of a setback. Resilience they say…but what was the choice? I had to get back up, I had to fight on.
  • Losing my mom…yep…that sucked! Resilient, well not easily. This was a heck of a setback but I carry-on because that is what she would expect and I would like to believe I have never let her down.
  • 30 years of failing at weight-loss…yep…but I never quit! I failed at hundreds of diets but learned something with every one. Ultimately it was the experience of failing and learning (falling down and getting back up) that finally led me to the solution.

I could go on with many more examples as everyone’s life, including mine, has been a series of setbacks but as Tim Storey says, “I believe that while you are feeling the sting of your setback God is preparing your comeback”. Resilience is the ultimate comeback story, it’s the before and the after, it’s the up to the down, it’s the hero’s journey. It is truly about triumph over adversity.

The opposite of resilience is fragility, vulnerability and weakness. These are equally powerful words and have their place and time in our lives. I have experienced each of these in the rawest forms both emotionally and physically. It is when you are in these states that resilience will pull you out. It is the WANT to be better, feel better and do better that makes sure that fragility, vulnerability and weakness are not our end-story.

In conclusion, I am on a journey and most of mine has not been on well worn paths; my journey is truly as my favorite poet writes, “

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

This is life as I am living it RESILIENTLY – L. (Dedicated to my Aunt Judith)

UnFu*k Yourself – My thoughts…

Unfu*k Yourself; Get out of your head and into your life from Gary John Bishop. I got this book on Audible and started listening when I was in Dallas a few weeks ago and about 20 minutes in I turned it off. I was DEFINITELY not in the right mindset and wasn’t sure the book was for me. I restarted the book (yes, always starting) on Monday in time for my 3rd first day back at work…ha! I finished the book today and have thoroughly enjoyed his points. Here are the one’s that appeal to me and why:

  • “All I know is that I know nothing” – Socrates
    • We all have to learn this, some more than others. I was taught a valuable lesson from my boss a few years ago and that was to be the one in the room that only speaks when you have something to add and not for the sake of speaking. She told me a story of a man that she highly regarded and when he spoke the entire room would stop and listen…because he only spoke when he could offer value. My mantra to remember this important lesson is W.A.I.T. – Why Am I Talking…
  • ”True relentlessness comes when the only thing you have left is relentlessness. When it seems all is lost and all hope and evidence for success has long since vanished, relentlessness is the fuel that drives you through.” – Bishop
    • Words to live by indeed! Many think I have gotten through the last ten months as a testament to resilience but the reality is that it is relentlessness and again the inability to GIVE UP even when I wanted to, I just could not.
  • “We are waiting until that point when in our minds everything is perfect…while you are waiting for your life to get better your life is not getting any better!” – Bishop
    • I have done this so many times in my life! “When I lose 50 lbs I will be happy”, “When I have a house I will be happy”, “When I ______ (fill in the blank) I will be happy.” It’s BS! Your life will be the life you have whether you are fat, homeless or in any condition! Live your life NOW!
  • “Your internal condition means nothing. It’s just another excuse you give yourself to stay out of the risky zones of life. The problem is those risky zones are life.” – Bishop
  • “Stop blaming your past!”, “We all have pasts, some of them are f’n horrific, SO WHAT…why is it that you show more passion for your past than you do for your future!” #WORD!!!!!!
    • Somewhere in the world my Aunt Susie is screaming PREACH!
    • Let me tell you about a past that has passed…girl grows up in a trailer park in Miami, her parents remarry and divorce multiple times throughout her life, she drops out of high school five months before graduation, has a child at the age of 18, marries a drug addict and then wakes up one day and says NO, this is not going to be my life…that girl is now a Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer of a company.
    • Talk about turning your mess into your message…that girl not only SAID it was going to change she DID it, she became the change she wanted in her life. She moved out that morning, packed everything in her car that she could fit (including her 2yr old), started a new job that day, finished her diploma, enrolled in college and obtained three college degrees and busted her ass climbing ladder after ladder (with many chutes along the way) there has never been a rear view mirror on her journey; there was simply NO looking back. There was no choice. Relentlessness in action.
  • “We can forget our past by creating our future”, “When what is in front of you is so bright, and so satisfying you won’t have time to look behind you, your eyes will be focused straight ahead” – Bishop
  • “You may not like everything that has happened in your past but it has shaped every part of you.” – Bishop
  • “Look at the habits that have put you in the situation you are in.”, “Stop doing it”, “Stop letting your internal condition dominate the quality of your life.” – Bishop
  • “You are not a special case”, “NO more excuses” – Bishop

I have to conclude this blog on the very chapter that drew me to this book to begin with; “I am not my thoughts, I am what I do”. I have been studying the “Power of Now” from Eckhart Tolle and the theory of dis-identifying with the mind. What comes first the thought or the emotion? The thought elicits the emotion therefore how we identify with our thoughts is key to controlling the emotion. Going further down this rabbit hole it’s important to remember that YOU are not your thoughts. It takes practice indeed. You will have a thought and rather than reacting to it, you stop and decide if you will acknowledge it and the act or not fnrom there.

“You don’t have to feel like today is your day, you just have to act like it is…if we sit around waiting to be in the perfect mood you will never get started.” Bishop. This is where relentlessness lives, there is why I continue to get up every time I get knocked down, why I get up at 5a to get on the treadmill, why I push harder at work than anyone could push me, because I have to create the life I want every day, even when I don’t want to. We all KNOW what to do, why then do we not do it?

“You change your life by doing, not by thinking about doing ” Bishop.

Gary’s final quote “I get knocked down but I get back up again” – Chumbawamba!