Tag Archives: resilience

Down but not out

Two days of relentless gales had flattened my newly flowering daffodils.
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I rescued what I could and bought the flowers inside to enjoy.
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I see today that the remaining leaves and damaged flowers have almost returned to their previous height. Winter is very much with us still despite these early spring flowers showing a brave face to remind us of things yet to come.
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An offering of Hope on Wednesday

I was reading through some blogs last evening and came across a reference to “Reasonable Hope,” a concept from the work of Kaethe Weingarten. Google helped me learn some more about Kaethe and provided some links to this concept she has developed and which piqued my curiosity.

I followed this link and read about this organisation which had begun to explore and work with these aspects of “reasonable hope”

Reasonable hope can help us build a bridge to creating more authentic hope in our lives even in the midst of challenging circumstances, uncertainty and even despair.
Weingarten identified five characteristics of reasonable hope, which we are understanding and interpreting in the following ways:

Relational. Hope happens between things and in relationships. It is held, shared, communicated, birthed. It shifts and moves, waxes and wanes, as we interact with ourselves, each other and our environment. It can be likened to the African concept of “Ubuntu,” which Archbishop Desmond Tutu described as “being enveloped in the community of other human beings, in being caught up in the bundle of life.” Hope is like this, caught up in bundles of shared experience.

Is something to be practiced. Hope is a verb more than a noun. Rather than an internal feeling we have or we don’t, hope is a quality we can actively cultivate through the choices we make. Hope is an ongoing process, something we practice in the here and now—not something we passively wish for in the future—that makes us more “hope” prone.

Sees the future as open, uncertain, influenceable. An uncertain future creates space for change, growth and transformation. It opens the door to possibilities beyond our current expectations. Hope is a process where “the soul turns toward a light which it does not yet perceive, a light yet to be born,” as is eloquently described by the French philosopher Gabriel Marcel.

Seeks goals and pathways. Reasonable hope is both practical and fluid. It looks for what goals can be accomplished now (and identifies ways to get there) and adjusts as new possibilities and pathways become available.

Accommodates doubt, contradictions and despair. When understood as a dynamic, moment-to-moment practice, hope can be messy and spacious. It can hold the whole of our lives with all of its losses, joys, setbacks and surprises. Instead of closing our eyes and making a wish, we can open our eyes wider and turn toward a light that may not yet be born.

Reasonable hope is only one of many ways we can bring hope into seemingly hopeless situations. A bridge from what is true now to a place where we can dream and hope again.

Hope has been a word on my lips so often lately that this expansion has proved to be both comforting and illuminating to me. Sharing ways to become more “hope prone” is such a positive gift to us all.

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Filling the well

It has been a dry season.

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Our summer since mid January has been near perfect – hot, dry and calm or breezy with only the occasional deluge of rain.

The outdoor conditions have been mirrored indoors here with one issue and another needing a lot of resourcefulness and resilience.

Today I needed to fill my well.

I needed to play.

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And seek treasure.

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I needed to see growth and development.
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I needed to hear waves breaking.
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To look to a wider horizon.
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To do some blue sky dreaming.
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To witness flow.

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To soak up colour and beauty and creativitiy.

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To know that “all will be well and all will be well and all will be well.”

Promoting goodness

My friend and colleague, Marian Kerr has just launched two e-books, one entitled “The Confidence Connection” and the other “Positive words are powerful” via her website and I would warmly encourage you to visit, check out the details and purchase them either for yourself or for someone you know. The two books make a wonderfully complementary self development programme.

We are both passionate about empowerment and work to support others to be who they really are and to reach their full potential.

I did some proof-reading and feedback for Marian as she wrote and formatted the e-books and found my attention to her encouraging words and non-judgemental tone meant my step was lighter, my self awareness sharper and my sense of resilience increased.

I have been thinking a lot about confidence in the past few days as I watch two people close to me wrestle with making courageous steps in their lives, asking as Marian puts it “what am I capable of?”

Each of the e-books contain quotes, personal experiences, tips, guidance, exercises to complete and always a strong positive and encouraging tone. The benefits of reading and completing the material in the e-books would include increased capability, resilience, self acceptance, growth, confidence and a richer more enjoyable life.

These benefits are too good to miss!

P.S. As a bonus, on her website Marian offers a free e-book “Empowerment: Live life your way”

A quote for Thursday

I found this quote in a book I am reading by Alicia Salzer, M D, entitled: “Back to Life – getting past your past with resilience, strength and optimism.”

“In a world blinded by the pursuit of pleasure, I am here to say that people are in pain. In a world rushing to get ahead, I am here to say that people are being left behind. In a world obsessed with the value of the market, I am here to speak for the value of life……and I am alive. This will be no quiet fight, for I am the voice of audacity in the face of apathy, I am the spirit of bravery in a world of caution. I am commitment to action in the face of neutrality. I am alive.”
Dan Pallotta, activist/survivor

The photo shows a small part a 600 year old Rimu tree in Otari-Wilton Bush Reserver, Wellington, 2007.

Prompts

Over the weekend I saw this suggestion for encouraging writers to write. Begin sentences with “I write of”. Here are some of my sentences from today:

I write of nature because it contains so much beauty, power, rhythm and a space for me from the pressing things of life.

I write of things quirky because I have a sense of humour and a curiosity that enjoys such things.

I write of the ordinary and the good to offer a balance against the glitz, hype and unpleasant that occurs in our world.

I write of the ordinary and good because I know the value that both offer to me and to others.

I write of simple traditions such as cooking for others, writing letters, gardening, knitting, singing in a group, walking, spending time with people we love and connect with.

I write of books simply because I love books.

I write of books because they have helped me in a myriad of ways throughout my life.

What do you write of?

Another prompt I found was over at http://concernedwithstory.wordpress.com was to write beginning with “Right now….”

So for me today, Monday 25th July 2011:

Right now I am very grateful for heating, warm clothing and warm food on such a cold day.

Right now I can see the birds enjoying the apples I have hung for them for winter food.

Right now I am pleased to have paid the bills and grateful for having the money to pay them.

Right now I am wondering if my cat will increase his food intake.

Right now I am processing the information I received about a family member who served in WW2.

Right now I am thinking a lot about resilience and the notes I made this afternoon.

Right now I am pleased to have fixed the errors in the socks I am knitting my grandson.

Right now I have meal preparation to do so I am off to begin that:-)

When I ran self awareness groups I would use a “Right now” exercise at the beginning of the session to help clear the immediate, scattered stuff that was “on top” for participants. Once this happened, focus was easier for everyone in the group.

Writing “right now” sentences offers me similar but different clearing, focus and more.

I’d be interested in your discoveries from writing some “Right Now” sentences.

Friday wrap-up, a day late

Saturday 2nd July: Friday wrap-up, a day late.

So here are a few things that have happened today. It has been a good one.

 I realized that the very cold weather we have had this week is just the thing to stimulate my newly planted garlic bulbs.

 The coffee was good and hot at the café this morning

 A friend and I had a discussion about resilience which is a topic we are both interested in

 I walked around the lake near our shopping centre and enjoyed the winter light, the water, the birds and some stunning colours that surprised me in the depths of a steely, raw winter’s day

 Hot soup was just the right food for lunch

 I took some interesting photos on a walk near my home. I’ve included these two of a Melia tree near our local dairy. It looks so vastly different to the one in my garden.

 I completed my Garden Bird survey and was delighted by the number of chaffinchs in the count this year

 I did a guided meditation as the light of the day faded

 Everyone enjoyed their hot roast dinner

 There was some humorous television to watch in the evening.

And I found a new blog which I will be following closely with great interest. I’d encourage you to have a look:-)

The soft stuff

My work as a trainer and facilitator was once described by someone as “the soft stuff” that was “an extra to other skills”. My workshops and courses were in areas of self awareness, self development, communication and facilitation skills, relationships, stress and time management, assertiveness, listening, understanding interpersonal dynamics, team work, effective groups, leadership and parenting skills. Underpinning these was my philosophy that life-long learning is a vital part of being human and enjoying life.

The comment did cause me to reflect on my work but I felt certain it was critical work and not just “the extra” to more important skills. The soft stuff helps to overcome the hard stuff.

So it was extremely reassuring to hear an interview on the radio yesterday where self awareness, self care, empathy, supportive relationships, adaptability and willingness to grow and change were all critical as the babyboomers begin to consider the later years of their lives. The good news is that for many the “later years” could span 30 plus years.

One of the women being interviewed lives in Christchurch and she commented that these same skills are critical as people begin to adjust to their new ways of living in that city.

I am planning to set up another blog exploring self awareness and resilience building. Watch this space, as they say. I hope you might be interested in following that blog too:-)

Happiness

2011 has had some daunting moments and the events that have occurred will continue to impact on our lives for a long time.   I am constantly looking for things that help boost mood, build resilience and an optimistic view of life.  The title of this book caught my eye and I requested it from our local library.

“The Happiness Project, or Why I spent a year trying to sing in the morning, clean my closets, fight right, read Aristotle and generally have more fun”  by Gretchen Rubin.  

I have found this book to be a stimulating, provocative and helpful read.  It certainly requires attention and is not some glib, once over lightly wander through “happiness”.

Her website is: www.happiness-project.com and is chock full of extras.

Even without natural disasters, economic recessions and unrest around the world, we humans are fascinated with Happiness.  If you want to extend your inquiry into this state read this book.