Maintaining resilience includes staying connected to that which is greater than us all. Some this reality Goddess, Love, Nature, Community, Humanity, or Creation. How do you name this greater?
Our connection to the infinite is never so apparent as when life gets really hard. Brené Brown once wrote, “I can confidently say that stories of pain and courage almost always include two things: praying and cussing. Sometimes at the exact same time.”
In the biggest picture, you are one small human, on one small planet, in one solar system, in a huge galaxy, in a universe that is bigger than we can perceive or measure. At the same time, you have a brain that allows you to think about the vastness of this physical space. Your self-awareness allows you to consider mystery. This awareness can result in feeling so alone, so insignificant. Other times you may marvel at being one spark in the greater Whole. How do you tap into the life force that you are part of when you are feeling distress?
Belonging to a group of people (family, neighbors, friends) matters a lot. Every human is a distant, many times removed, cousin. Complete strangers belong to the same tribe through sports, country, occupation, denomination, and other identity markers. One tradition claims that we are all “God’s children”, that we all belong to one another and can support one another. “I hear you” from someone who is on the same path, or better yet, has recovered from the same struggle provides a powerful connection. How do we connect to another who validates our struggle?
Being reminded of my smallness reminds me of the amazingness of the universe. A night sky full of more stars than I can count. Toes in the water listening to the endless ocean waves roll. Standing at the base of a tall tree looking up to the farthest leaf. Marveling that I cannot see to the top of a mountain or the bottom of a valley. Connection to wonder. If all this is possible, perhaps there is a solution to my problem. Prayer seems practical.
Other times, I get lost in the detail of tiny creatures. I once saw a bug that looked like a tiny bit of fluff. When I realized it was a tiny living being I spent some time watching it move along an informational sign in the metro park I was visiting. Everywhere life is scurrying, resting, budding. Other lives are also hard at work. A tiny ant lugging along a huge piece of leaf reminds me that hard work is doable.
Appreciating beauty and pleasure is another way to connect with the infinite. Music, art, poetry, dance, taste, sensations. A pink flower on the “Christmas cactus” which decided to bloom in time for Halloween. Delicious tastes, wrapping up with a warm blanket on a cold day, cool water on a hot day. Gratitude for, and taking time to savor, beauty or pleasure fills our resilience reserve.
When going through a difficult time, we can boost our resilience by giving ourselves time and permission to connect to the infinite. By praying and/or cussing. By experiencing wonder. By remembering our connection to all that is living. By taking pleasure in moments of beauty and small delights. How do you connect to that which is greater?