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BOUNCING BACK

BOUNCING BACK

Resilience researchers ask why some people handle adversity better than others and go on to lead normal lives despite negative life experiences while others get de-railed by them.

After years of study, they pretty much figured out that the old guys had the right of it:  You need to stay positive.  You need to have a good crew at your back.

ONE SCIENTIFIC STUDY

This YouTube video from Big Think, “Resilience Lessons from Our Veterans” features psychiatrist Dennis Charney, the Dean of the Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine discusses his book, RESILIENCE:  The Science of Mastering Life’s Greatest Challenges, which he wrote with Steven Southwick, who is the Professor of Psychiatry, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Resilience at Yale Medical School.

According to the good doctors, the right kind of optimism as well as a strong support network are key factors in developing resilience.

ANOTHER TAKE ON IT

International bestselling author Paul McGee wrote HOW TO SUCCEED WITH PEOPLE:  Remarkably Easy Ways to Engage, Influence and Motivate Almost Anyone.  He did a series of remarkably satisfying podcasts published by Capstone Publishing in 2013 with riffs taken from his book.  Here’s the one about being resilient….

PULLING IT TOGETHER

Emily Esfahani Smith, in her book, THE POWER OF MEANING:  Crafting a Life That Matters, pulls together a whole body of information about resilience and gives some insight into the characteristics of resilient people and how they keep on bouncing back.

She tells us that resilient people have the following assets in their set of character traits:

  • Purpose and a worthy goal
  • A moral compass that’s tied to altruism or selflessly serving others
  • Social support
  • Spirituality (which could be defined as a “source of strength and power that is greater than yourself”).
  • A natural inclination to continue on through adversity.

According to most resilience researchers some people naturally resist adversity better than others.  Maybe it’s their genetic makeup.  Maybe their early life experiences predisposed them to this way of doing things.

But, Smith says, resilience is not a fixed trait.  Everyone can learn to adapt to stress more effectively by developing a set of psychological tools to help them cope with stressful events.

She points out three successful mindsets and strategies that center on finding meaning in the everyday that work:

OPPORTUNITY MINDSET.  If you can see a stressful situation as a challenge and not as a threat, you are more likely to just keep on keeping on.

“IT’S NORMAL” MINDSET.  If you can see the difficulties and obstacles in front of you as a natural part of how the world works, then you free yourself from stressing about how it’s all because YOU are not-this or YOU are not-that and YOU don’t belong  and YOU are not-supposed-to…and the rest of that garbage.

This mindset can set your mind free from the uncertainties about “belonging” and the doubts that rise up when you’re doing something that is not what the people you want to impress would do.   It allows you to just keep going.

“KEEP YOUR FOCUS ON THE JOB” MINDSET.  If you focus on how doing what you’re doing can help you and others live out self-transcendent values (rather than focusing on how to promote your own self and your own agenda), it’s easier to keep on moving forward.

Smith believes that keeping the life values that are important to you firmly in mind helps to protect you from the damage that stressing over some outcome or other can do.

cahill-craziness
“Cahill Craziness” by Helen Taylor via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0]

MY OWN THOUGHT

All of the foregoing stuff gets me to thinking about what the old guys called “gumption.”

Merriam-Webster says “gumption” showed up in the early 1700’s as a word.  Its earliest uses referred to “intelligence” and “energy”.  By the 1860’s Americans were using the word to imply “ambition” and “tenacity.”  It has since evolved into a synonym for “courage” and “get-up-and-go.”

Bouncing back requires all of that.  It’s good to know that they can be developed, they can evolve and they can grow.

 

sunrise-over-maui
Sunrise Over Maui by Rose Braverman Molokai Hawaii via Flickr [CC BY-2.0]

Another IPS (Inner Peace Symptom):  an understanding that the thing you absolutely cannot lose is your gumption.  [Nothing is sadder than somebody whose gumption got up and went.  Hang on to that gumption!]

Here’s one more YouTube video, “Resilience:  Hard Times Motivation” published by Eric Thomas and the Marshall Training Systems guys:

Whew!

And here’s a poem:


MEBBE NEX’ TIME

There you are,

A bit shaky still as you stagger up the beach

Out of the foam.

Life took you and tossed you

Over the falls…again,

But you made it through that maelstrom

More or less intact.

 

There you are, still standing,

Dripping wet and breathing hard.

The pounding’s rubbed you ragged,

But you’re in one piece and you’re moving.

Wobbly as you are,

You’ll be reaching for your board again,

Looking for the next wave,

“Spahking-out” the next ride.

 

Eh!

Good one, brah!

Mebbe nex’ time you goin’ get ’em!

You go!

by Netta Kanoho

Header Picture credit:  “Engulfed” by Nathan Rupert via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

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ORDINARY MAGIC

ORDINARY MAGIC

Another IPS (Inner Peace Symptom):  an understanding that transcendence has nothing to do with escaping the world or your own self.  [All it means is stepping out and dancing your own heart-dance right out in the open, in the middle of the world and in the middle of yourself.]

“Listening to your heart” often seems like a scary thing.  Your heart keeps insisting that you just have to do things that are counter-intuitive and not-the-thing — the very opposite of what everybody around you says is the Smart Thing To Do.

Your heart often keeps urging you to make these moves that make no rational sense, insisting and insisting that the very thing you are trying to ignore or avoid or resist has to be embraced.

Your heartsong, it turns out, is also what holds you together when your life turns to dreck and you have been knocked down to the floor again by some other Life-thing.  Not only does it help you get back up, it can even help you keep your feet under you the next time you get a 2×4 upside the head.

This seems to me to be a very good thing to explore when you’re searching for meaning and mana for your ordinary life.

THE POWER OF THE HEART

In this YouTube video of a TEDxRockCreekPark talk, “The Power of Resilience,” neuro-psychologist Sam Goldstein tells a story about his work with children and touches on some of the things that his patients have taught him.  His early work with children led him to focus on studying resilience in humans, his life-work.

Resilience researchers ask why some people handle adversity better than others and go on to lead normal lives despite negative life experiences while others get de-railed by them.  Goldstein is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Utah, a Research Professor of Psychology at George Mason University and the director of the Neurology, Learning and Behavior Center in Salt Lake City in Utah.  He’s written many books and articles on the subject.

Goldstein’s own work has led him to understand that it is the ordinary, heartful actions of everyday people that fosters and instill in childen the strength, hope and optimism they need to face the world.  It is, as he calls it, an “ordinary magic.”

He also points out that our heart is connected to our brain in more ways than any other organ in our body.  It affects us physically and mentally as well.   He encourages us to listen more to our hearts.

In this YouTube video published by the HeartMath Institute, “The Importance of Resilience” further explains the real effects of the heart-mind connection, applying it to the business world.

HeartMath Institute is a nonprofit research and educational organization founded in the 1980’s by Doc Childre, an internationally known authority on optimizing personal effectiveness.  He believes that the “intelligence of the heart” can be harnessed and originated a system of “heart-based tools and technologies” that has been used widely in business, the military, hospitals, clinic and schools to enhance health, performance and well-being.

Another scientist (one who’s turned mystic) is Gregg Braden.  He spends his time exploring ancient wisdoms from a scientific perspective, sharing what he has discovered on his journeys and his thoughts on these discoveries.

This next YouTube video, published by philosophical freeborder in 2015, features Braden talking about how the emotions of the human heart can apparently affect the electromagnetic field of the earth in a GAIAM TV interview.

The thinking’s “out there.”  It’s also fascinating.

Braden’s book, RESILIENCE FROM THE HEART:  The Power to Thrive in Life’s Extremes, is also worth checking out.

FINAL THOUGHTS

From the ancient wise guys to modern-day big brains, the advice remains the same:  Listen to your heart.  That’s where the magic is.

Here’s a poem:


CARING FOR THE ESSENCES

I am learning:

The wiseguys are right.

It really does NOT matter

What happens to me.

The only thing important

Is my response.

 

Building up and tearing down,

I wade through the stream of Time

And dance in the Creative

As I work on caring for

What is essential to me on

This journey I am making.

 

Caring for the essences of my existence

Keeps me hopping,

But on the stage

The dancer leaps with abandon,

Throwing out her heart

And following after it as

The beauty of the dance

Continues to grow.

by Netta Kanoho

Header photo credit:  “Sunny Sunday Mornings” by Chris Chabot via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0]

Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you’d drop a comment or note below and tell me your thoughts.

 

 

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DEALING WITH CHANGE

DEALING WITH CHANGE

The wise guys tell us that most of the phenomena in the world are the results of consensus and moving energy.  They are part of the larger dance that includes everything and everybody.  How you see it is filtered through your own memories and the patterns of behavior built up by past experiences.

But then, one day you look up and notice that the world-as-you-know-it has changed so much you don’t recognize anything any more.  What do you do then?

AS THE WORLD TURNS

Many wise guys say  that most of the world’s phenomena often have little noticeable impact  on you except as they accumulate all together.  It’s like the long-term effects of accretion and erosion — Earth-energy things.  It’s a slow-flowing liquid movement, like the movement of glass, for instance, or a glacier, and you are just one particle in all of this.

margerie-glacier
Margerie Glacier by Kimberly Vardeman via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
For decades it all goes along in a way that is understandable and part of a continuum that you are able to embrace because it just is a continuance of what has gone before.  And then comes the landslide, the calving iceburg, the new discovery, the game-changing world event…and everything is different and you’re there scratching your head.  Huh?

DOING THE ANT

Some people say your view of the whole thing is like that of an ant lugging along a bit of a bread crumb with his buddies.  You, the ant, are doing your thing.  And the whole rest of it goes on around you.  You and the guys get the crumb home.  There’s a party.  Whoop-de-doo!  Life goes on.

Then one day some bozo drops poisoned ant bait on the counter and you and the guys lug it on home and it all changes.  Oy!

LETTING GO

The best way to navigate in a world of change, according to the wise guys, is to try releasing old stuff — letting go of being an ant locked into ant-ness.  If you can do that, then you can stay in touch with the world all around you.  You have a better understanding about what is going on and you can respond better as a result.

In the following YouTube video, “Letting Go of the Old World,” the author of the book THE TURNING POINT: Creating Resilience in a Time of Extremes, Gregg Braden, tells a story about people in a town who are stuck because they are waiting for things to return to their old “normal.”

Braden says the old normal is not going to be coming back.  His suggestion for avoiding being overcome by the extreme changes in this post-modern world is the same as the ancient wise guys:  Let Go.

What Braden suggests is another way of Un-Seeing and , for real, it is very hard to do.

FINAL THOUGHT

I do like Braden’s suggestion about properly mourning the world that is gone and then turning around to face the future again.  Somehow, that seems likely to make it a little bit easier, maybe.

Here’s a poem….


NEW PROJECT

Okay, new project:

Letting go of all the dreams already blown away on

The whirling blusters that blast through my days,

Unheeding of the time and care I lavished on the silly things.

 

It’s not like they’re anywhere close by, those dreams.

They’re probably in Kansas by now.

They really were cool.

Everything just so….

The perfect this,

The stellar that.

 

Oh, dear…

Oh, my…

Oh, me….

 

Wise guys say it should not matter,

That the dreams are all illusion anyhow,

But what do THEY know?

All THEY ever want to look at is the Big Empty –

The same one that’s sucked up

Every one of those rainbow-colored ice cream sherbet dreams

That probably would have melted into sticky goopy puddles anyhow.

 

I wonder what those wise guys see in that Empty place….

And, don’t go telling me about the Empty that’s Full

‘Cause right now I am THIS close to bopping you!

 

It does make me wonder…

How come those dreams flew off and I didn’t?

Why am I still standing in this poppy field?

Who knows?

 

I wonder where they went, those dreams.

I hope it’s a nice place.

They really were some good little dreams….

by Netta Kanoho

Picture credit:  Ants Carry Off Some Bread by Tom Houslay via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0]

Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you’d drop a comment or note below.

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