Archives for posts with tag: resilience

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I’m reading Brené Brown. I recently finished The Gift Of Imperfection and immediately ordered all the rest.  So now I’m on I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t) .  Guess what?

She’s right!!!! It isn’t just me!!! Spoiler alert – the glow of that realization only lasts so long.  I’m glad I’m not alone. I’m glad I’m so abnormal and dysfunctional I’m completely normal.  Doesn’t change a dang thing about the process though… Still gotta walk the walk, talk the talk and get moving. Sigh. Note: Always read the fine print which says something like “I never said it would be easy, but it will be worth it.”  Oh Fine!

Shame. It’s something we’ve all experienced numerous times in our lives. And it’s something most of us would really rather not talk about it seems. So I’m grateful that Brené Brown has removed the stigma from the topic.  She defines shame as,

the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection. I don’t believe shame is helpful or productive.

While discussing Shame Screens, those screens we put up to protect ourselves when we feel that burn of shame creeping into us, – which another spoiler alert –  don’t work by the way (to be honest, I’d already figured that one out… ) Brené references the work of Dr. Shelley Uram, a Harvard-trained psychiatrist.

“But Dr. Uram points out that we tend not to recognize the small, quiet traumas that often trigger the same brain-survival reaction. After studying Dr. Uram’s work I believe it’s possible that many of our early shame experiences, especially with parents and caregivers, were stored in our brains as traumas.  This is why we often have such painful bodily reactions when we feel criticized, ridiculed, rejected and shamed. Dr. Uram explains that the brain does not differentiate between overt or big trauma and cover or small, quiet trauma – it just registers the event as “a threat that we can’t control.”

In her work on “remembering the wound” versus “becoming the wound,” Dr. Uram explains that most of the time when we recall a memory, we are conscious that we are in the present, recalling something from the past.  However, when we experience something in the present that triggers and old trauma memory, we reexperience the sense of the original trauma. So, rather than remembering the wound, we become the wound.  This makes sense when we think of how we are often returned to a place of smallness and helplessness when we feel shame.” page 89  I Thought It Was Just Me – Brené Brown

That was a little mind blowing for me. And it made perfect sense.

My first thoughts were about empathy and compassion. Maybe there  really is no scale for trauma at all. Trauma just is – regardless of what caused it, or how “big” or “small” we may think our own or someone else’s trials and tribulations are, the size of the emotion we feel, the reaction we have – are the same.  That’s it. It’s the great equalizer for me.

It…

wait for it….

Changed my perspective and perception.

Yup it did. Here’s the thing, it made life a whole lot simpler. No analyzing or measuring required.  We’re equal.  We are in it together. It hurts. It’s painful. Its frustrating.

And that’s the catalyst for me to build my resilience. There are tools to do it. As Harriet Lerner, author of The Dance of Anger reminds us, “Shame is a profoundly debilitating emotion. It drives our fears of not being good enough.” And here’s the kicker, we are good enough. So let’s start moving toward believing it and living it. I’m worth it. So are you.

Rise on.

©2017 JFries/Rise Like Air

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Lissa Rankin had a fantastic Facebook post this morning. It smacked me upside the head. The kind of smack that makes you sit up and take notice.

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I often get asked how you know when it’s time to take a leap of faith, and I say, “When the pain of staying put exceeds your fear of the unknown, you leap.” But you don’t have to wait that long. It’s not necessary to wait until the pain is extreme. You have the option to cave early- but most people won’t leap when the pain is just a twinge. We wait until we’re in agony, and then it doesn’t feel like a choice- it feels like survival. Ultimately, we get to the point where we know we’re being guided to do something scary, and we have faith that when we follow these kinds of Divine instructions, things go well, whereas when we ignore the signs, it hurts. That’s why they call it a leap of faith. Faith is not just finding comfort in the unknown but actually taking refuge there. That’s when it gets easier to leap- and leap- and keep leaping into love and trust. – Lisa Rankin

I know this is very true for me. Without a doubt I usually wait until I’m in agony before I leap. I know this about myself. I recognized this trait many years ago when I began scuba diving and I was literally standing on the edge of the swimming pool in the 4 foot end. I was totally geared up and all I had to do was step of the edge into the water. My dive master was right in front of me. So was my husband. My husband kept saying, “Just jump already, it’s only 4 feet deep and you can swim! You’ve got a BC vest on, just jump already!”  My dive master, on the other hand, kept smiling at me and saying, “It’s ok, take your time. You’ll jump when you’re ready. And you will be ready. And then you’ll just step off like it’s nothing at all.”

And he was right. However, in the probably ten minute, yes, ten minutes, that I stood there, sweating, feeling silly, feeling ridiculous actually, heart racing, mouth dry, trying to feel “comfortable” in all this strange feeling gear I FINALLY took a deep breath and I stepped out. I felt completely awkward and my stomach lurched and somewhere I was sure I was going to die.

And then as it almost always does, it all went away, disappeared. I hyperventilated for a second, the water closed over my head and I was in heaven! Not because I’d died either. But because it was as good if not better than I’d dreamed it would be. I’d wanted to scuba dive all my life but waited until I was in my 30’s to try. Go figure. That was a leap in itself, just to sign up for classes. And then the real leap happened, right into the pool. I didn’t want to ever get out.

To be honest, stepping off the edge of the pool, or doing a back roll off the side of a rocking boat has never, and will likely never be, my favourite part. But I can do it without too much effort because I KNOW that what happens right after I take that leap is more than worth the twinge, even the agony. It is beyond heavenly.

So I’ve spent a lot of years using that metaphor with myself to make leaping easier. Still working on that. It works really well in my head. But my sympathetic nervous system isn’t having any of it. That system is flawless, sort of, in what it does. It is very good at “keeping me safe” but it’s also incredibly good at making me miss out on life, things I shouldn’t miss out on, don’t want to miss out on.

Working on getting my parasympathetic nervous system working a little better. The one that helps you relax, rest, rejuvenate, have a little fun. The one that tells you hey, all is well, relax a little.

We are all going to experience many things in life that require us to take a leap if we really want to live the life we are meant to live, deserve to live. What’s that saying?

I never said it would be easy. I just said it would be worth it.

I think that pretty much sums it up. So go on, take a deep breath

And LEAP!

In that moment where you are sure you’re about to die, you will find what being alive really feels like.

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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I AM FREE

It’s taken me a long, long time to realize this.  And even longer to actually believe it.  And some days are harder than others.  But ….

 

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“But still, like air, I’ll Rise” – Maya Angelou

 

Yes, I am.

And I will remain free.

I realized there is only one thing that determines whether I am truly free or not.

My THOUGHTS and thereby,  what I BELIEVE.

It took a lot of realizing OTHER people were trapped in a “less than”, “shackled” mentality.  A lot of time spent trying to help them realize how awesome and important they are.  Convincing them they not only have hope but tonnes of unrealized potential.

And then, one day I looked in the mirror and I realized that I was carrying the same heavy burden as all those other people.

I saw their potential, their amazingly awesome greatness but I had been overlooking my own.  I had been overlooking what I can do, who I can be…. who I truly am.  ME!

And there is nothing wrong with me.  I am me.  Just the way I am supposed to be:

A beautifully wonderful masterpiece, and a work in progress all at once. And that is what I will always be, because that is exactly what we all are.  And what we are all supposed to be.

I realized it is time to embrace myself, my potential and all that I am.  No matter what other people think I am or who I am, my freedom comes from embracing me for who I am and learning to love myself just the way I am.

Broken, sometimes smashed to bits. Healed, sometimes with bold scars. A little wild and crazy.  A little bit of everything.  A wonderful eclectic mix of awesome.

 I am learning to live my life for me, because only then do I live my life well enough to be all I can be.  And only when I am all I can be, can I do what I am meant to do in this world.

Some people see it and allow me to shine easily.  Some people don’t understand me and try to change me to fit into their mold.  Some people stay, some people walk away.  Sometimes it feels good and sometimes it hurts.  Sometimes it hurts a lot. Sometimes doubt creeps in.  Sometimes a lot of doubt, almost too much doubt.  But every time that happens something else amazing eventually happens too. From somewhere there is always a message that arrives in some unexpected form that reminds me with complete certainty.

I AM A MASTERPIECE AND I AM FREE.   ALL I HAVE TO DO IS BELIEVE.

It really is that simple, but as we all know simple doesn’t mean it’s easy.  Sometimes it’s hard work and takes time.  But I do guarantee, that when you come to the epiphany, you too will realize it is worth it.

You see, you really are already completely free.  You just have to realize it and believe it. And then you can feel it. And you will never want to feel any other way again.  You will cherish your freedom and you will do the work to keep it. You will become strong enough to walk tall and with purpose and you will wonder how you never realized you were already free before.

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oh rise and show your power (rise up rise up)

we’re dancing into the sun (rise up rise up)

it’s time for celebration (rise up rise up)

spirits time has come

We want loving’ we want laughter again

we want heartbeat we want madness to end

we want dancin’ we wanna run in the streets

we want freedom to live in this peace

we want power we want to make it ok

want to be singin’ at the end of the day children

to breathe a new life we want freedom to love who we please *(rise up rise up)

oh rise and show your power(rise up rise up)

everybody dance into the sun (rise up rise up)

it’s time for celebration (rise up rise up)

the spirits time has come

Talkin’ ’bout  the right time to be workin’ for peace

wantin’ all the tension in the world to ease

this tightrope’s gotta learn how to bend

we’re makin’ new plans gonna start it again

rise up now It’s time, it’s time, it’s time (rise up rise up)

(part lyrics – RISE UP by The Parachute Club, released 1981

 

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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Things change around us all the time and for the most part we really don’t take that much notice.  Until it’s a big change.  Or the change affects us very personally.  Or when it’s unexpected.  Or when it’s unwanted.  We can’t outrun it, we can’t hide from it or ignore it for long.  At some point we have to wade in and get through it; one hand over the other or one foot in front of the other.  Either way, it’s up to you to make the first move.

Hand Over Hand

I never thought, “it won’t last”
But it shattered like fragile glass
Slowly, the shards began to fall
Cascading, refracting a piercing call

Silence cries a deafening roar
So desperate once again to soar
But then the bottom drops away
And I can’t keep the demons at bay

The darkness holds tightly to me
Nowhere to hide let alone flee
To the depths I feel myself slide
Never dreamed I’d be on this ride

Grab hold and breathe deep
Hand over hand I will creep
Out of these depths, this black abyss
I rise whole again, even from this

December 12, 2013 ©J Fries

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©2014 Rise Like Air  J. Fries

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Failure.  It can be the end, or it can be the catalyst for a new beginning.  It’s all in how you look at it and most importantly how you deal with it.

A great article on the Huffington Post called How to Bounce Back From Failure – Over and Over Again by Carolyn Gregoire holds some gems of advice.

What do you think the opposite of depression is?  Was your first thought happiness?  Psychologist Peter Kramer says its actually resilience.  People who get out of bad situations and who are depressed most often share the trait of resilience.
re·sil·ient adjective
 1.(of a substance or object) able to recoil or spring back into shape after bending, stretching, or being compressed.  synonyms:  flexible, pliable supple.

Carolyn Gregoire quotes Winston Churchill

It is the courage to continue that counts.”

Gregoire goes on to describe seven habits of resilient people.  Really well worth the read in detail but here’s a bit of a summary.

Resilient people allow themselves to feel all their emotions whether the emotions are negative or positive.  Feeling them allows you to work through them and use them. This enables them to see both the positive and the negative without being overwhelmed by either.

My favourite is that “They’re realistically optimistic“.  I love that .  Optimism doesn’t have to mean being unrealistic – you can still be positive allowing yourself to see choices and make plans, be flexible.

They don’t fall into the rejection trap.  Elaine Dundon says, “Rejection steals our joy.”  It wears us down and makes it harder for us to get back up and try again.

Having strong support systems helps resilient people get back up and move forward.

They recognize the importance and value of and appreciate small and positive things.  It keeps them positive and willing to try again and again.

Resilient people don’t wait for opportunities to come to them.  They go out and find them!  Something like that old ’80’s catch phrase of being proactive instead of reactive.

Resilient people also have a great tendency towards gratitude.  They are not the bah-hum-bug types.  They’re thankful for the little things and the big things, the obvious and the not so obvious.  It sets the tone for what they do.

Most of us tend to exercise our muscles and our minds on a regular basis, well, at least once in awhile.  It might not be a bad idea to exercise our resilience too.  It just might be that catalyst to get you through the next failure and turn it into a resounding success.  Happy exercising.

© 2014 J Fries/Rise Like Air  all rights reserved

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