I have been thinking a lot about resiliency lately. And you know how it goes … when you start focusing on something like a new car you want to buy or a particular paint color for your office it tends to show up in your life over and over as if the universe is right there with you as you explore your possibilities.
Resiliency came up for our country during the Boston marathon recently. The whole city came together and lifted itself up with many good deeds and community action despite the terrible tragedy on Patriots Day. The city has a high score for bouncing back from such a low blow.
Personally I have had to wonder about my own emotional style when it comes to resiliency. Richard Davidson talks about it in his book “The Emotional Life of Your Brain”. I remember reading it last year and taking the self assessment test in the book. I did pretty well when it came to resiliency. But with all the changes in my life lately my ability to bounce back has come into question.
I am now a resident, with my partner David, of two wonderful and completely different cities: Oakland and Sebastopol. At least they are both in California, unlike some of my friends who live a bi-coastal existence. My office is in Berkeley so I spend mid-week seeing clients and then travel north to Sebastopol for long weekends. Sounds great doesn’t it? And it is, but the planning has been quite a task. “Now where is my toothbrush?” “Oops I forgot to bring my good shoes! How can I see clients with flip flops on my feet? Yikes!” “How can we function with one car and two people?”. The resilient part of me thinks “Wow, all this scheduling and change of plans is going to keep my brain very flexible and be a good way to prevent Alzheimer’s” but another part of me feels quite buffeted by all the change. I was at the Temescal Farmers market in February when all of these changes where just beginning and I met David Griswold, a local bard, who wrote an on-the-spot sonnet for me while I shopped. I think he nailed it:
What Homes Share
Our life has changed direction, pointing north,
A new home waits for us to claim our place,
Half here, half there, we’ll shuttle back and forth
And slowly grow accustomed to the pace
Of life that’s lived between, a life of roads
Connecting us to all we’ll come to know,
The homes we make become our social nodes
New centers for new friends to come and go.
And yet, with each new home there comes a shift,
A newfound gravity, each shaping each,
And this may be a new home’s greatest gift,
This new perspective, and its greater reach.
What happens here affects what happens there,
What we call home expands to be what’s shared.
Our 3rd Act offers lots of opportunity to grow more resilient if we take a chance, knock on doors, and walk through them when they open. Better for our brains and our hearts. What have you bounced back from lately?