This word has been rolling around in my head these last few weeks.
How are we resilient beyond armoring, grit, clenched teeth and sweaty effort, resilient beyond some impenetrable, diamond toughness?
What is the resilience of flexibility, adaptation, persistence, a quiet gathering of strength? How can we use our imaginations to dream up a fresh resilience, visualizing new worlds to grow into? Systems of suppression want us to forgo rest, reject reflection, and refuse our need for balance. Rest restores our ability to think, feel, and know ourselves. Rest brings answers.
Driving the edges of Death Valley, CA this summer, I contemplated how the desert is a true master of resilience. There the heat is a compelling being of its own right, heat with its own pulse, its own breath, its own cracked skin. And somehow every single desert being is completely adapted to this heat. Deep below the ground, snoring kit foxes curl up and dream of desert hares, who also hide snug and dreaming in their cool burrows.
There is a wise resilience in this hidden rest. Not hiding from our truths, or hiding from ever taking action. But hiding as a strategy of self-preservation. Poet David Whyte describes how “hiding is one of the brilliant and virtuoso practices of almost every part of the natural world: the protective quiet of an icy northern landscape, the held bud of a future summer rose, the snow bound internal pulse of the hibernating bear.”
We might make a study of how these desert animals rest and then act, how sometimes we need to withdraw in order to enter life more fully. For it is in this stillness that our truths get whispered. Here we grope in the dark, studying our edges and borderlands, learning how to feel into ourselves with grace. Here we find a resilience in knowing our vulnerabilities, asking for help, or remembering in our marrow that we are deeply resourced.
Sleeping out the hottest part of the day (or taking care of ourselves well during the most intense time of an already intense year), is to enter the highly charged fear webs of the US election season and second covid fall/winter with strategies of energy management. How do we see ourselves moving through these volatile times?
So as the days start to darken in the Northern Hemisphere, don’t underestimate the amount of sleep and rest you might need. Continue to engage with all of your nervous system support (deep breathing, meditation, prayer, binaural beats, yoga, acupuncture, massage, walking with intention on the Earth). Take media breaks. Take social media breaks. Course correct when you need to (because you know we all do sometimes). Again and again return to your own energy signature and what you want to outprint to the world.
Let us turn to a model of resilience given to us by the living world. Let us look towards the boldness and impossibility of Rock Trees.
The sensitive root fingers of the Rock Trees seem to spread and search through this old granite as if reading its ancient stories, tales of rising and falling oceans and glacial kingdoms sliding. The embrace of rock and root feels intimate, old friends that carefully hold each other’s secrets.
Rock Trees seem to teach about the nature of true resilience, not a resilience with a clenched jaw and white knuckles but an older, more patient version that moves with the flow of all life.
They tell me that I am resourced in my roots, that there is sustenance, nutrients, resources waiting in unknown places.