Resilience: Thriving, Not Just Surviving

by Ruth Bachman, The Hourglass Fund Project, Inspiring Speaker and Award-winning Author
 
In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on. ~Robert Frost
 
HourglassCancer is a very powerful and proficient teacher with the potential for profound transformation. It is a change that draws a line in the sand between the way we once looked at life and death and how we currently live life after surrendering, accepting, letting go and integrating that insight into who we are.
In his book, The Beethoven Factor, Dr. Paul Pearsall describes “Thrivers” as those who know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em.” He defines “thriving” as stress induced growth that happens when we face a challenge. The way we respond to change – both large and small – is a good indication of our level of resilience.
Resilience is navigating the complexity of everyday life with resources that promote well-being and cushion us against being overwhelmed. Most experts agree the key indicators of resilience are: self-awareness, mindfulness, purpose, self-care and relationships. Resilience is a complex set of skills and attitudes that can be enhanced and learned.  A resilient response to change is far from effortless.  Not unlike a garden, cultivating resilience requires intention, attention and effort which allows us to grow.
Within the depths of winter, it is hard to imagine spring. The beauty of nature takes time. Imagine tending a garden – your very own little plot of earth. Trust that it can be cultivated and that cultivation will bring it to its full potential. Even though it’s full of rocks and the soil is dry, you begin to plow your plot with patience, sowing the seeds of your future well-being. At the beginning, joy might be found in just feeling that your little plot of earth is workable. You stop looking for a different or better place to be. This does not mean that there are suddenly flowers growing where there were previously only rocks. It means you have confidence and hope that something will grow here. As you cultivate your garden, tending it with a quiet mind and an open heart, the conditions become more conducive to growth. Slow down, breathe deeply, listen to your heart. Have patience and faith. Something beautiful will blossom in your garden.
        
How do we increase our resilience? Primarily by putting forth the effort each day to focus on what is right – cultivating the positive. It sounds so simple. The key is focus – where are we bringing our attention?
For more information on how to build resiliency, attend our next webinar, featuring Ruth, on April 19, 2016. Register at http://triagecancer.org/webinars/. Can’t attend, not to worry, we record our webinars and post them for later viewing.