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reSLience… a.k.a. resilience

it's what lies within that really matters

Category Archives: resiliency

I woke up this morning with a Beatles song in my head… the lyrics repeating themselves over and over “Nothing’s gonna change my world… Nothing’s gonna change my world.” and I thought to myself… WAIT! That isn’t the right mantra to have in my head – no matter what world I’m living in.

So I hopped in the shower… still having that Beatles tape loop in my head (which btw, I love the Beatles so don’t get me wrong) and an old camp song from middle school came into my head. Montlure Camp 🙂

Chorus: You and I can climb every mountain, Cross every stream and drink from every fountain, In His name, In His name, In His name…
Verse 1: Truth is gone, the world proclaims, No foundation now remains, Yesterday cannot return, Tomorrow won’t be the same, but…
(chorus)
Verse 2: Men hide their deeds from human eyes, Their hope in self alone, Man’s power fails, the light grows dim, Blind lead blind, I hear their wail, but…
Chorus: You and I can climb every mountain, Cross every stream and drink from every fountain, In His name, In His name, In His name…

And… all of a sudden I started to feel really energized. Yes… I was in the shower. I sound incredible when I belt it out in the shower 🙂 heehee Beyonce has nuthin’ on me in that shower when I’m singing… let me tell you. And… I started thinking about the words. With an idea in your head of facing mountains and knowing you can climb them anything is possible… even 60+ page grants needing to be written in a matter of a few days… even silly drama that people I know seem to be praying on stirring more of… blah blah blah… forget it CLIMB THAT MOUNTAIN .

Then, I went on to give my youngest, Simon, his breathing treatment for his asthma as I continued to get ready for work. And I was reminded of another favorite song of mine. I fell in love with it during those same camp years and it has carried me through some very dark and stressful times. This is the one I sang softly as I rubbed Simon’s head and gave him his treatment. This is the one I’ll carry in my heart today. When chaos and darkness prevails, it is most definitely time to return to center. I added new quotes to my sidebar today. I’m excited that it is May 14 and there are incredible possibilities, including mountains ahead of me. And… I’m ready to climb ’em or move ’em.

Happy Thursday in whatever world you are in 🙂

All I Ever Have To Be
Written by Gary Chapman, Sung by Amy Grant
When the weight of all my dreams
Is resting heavy on my head,
And the thoughtful words
of health and hope
Have all been nicely said.
But I’m still hurting,
Wondering if I’ll ever be
The one I think I am.
I think I am.
Then you gently re-remind me
That you’ve made me from the first,
And the more I try to be the best
The more I get the worst.
And I realize the good in me,
Is only there because of who you are.
Who you are…
And all I ever have to be
Is what you’ve made me.
Any more or less would be a step
Out of your plan.
As you daily recreate me,
Help me always keep in mind
That I only have to do
What I can find.
And all I ever have to be
All I have to be
All I ever have to be
Is what you’ve made me.

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If you wonder about something… it is always best to assume yes. most often your gut feeling was correct. SL is all about finding role models you admire. It is most definitely junior high revisited and when you take the time to examine why… it is because where else in life do you make and keep lists of people you like and people you don’t? I heard a guy on the radio the other day talk about social networking – and he too felt like it was junior highish – because putting yourself out there – faults and bumps and all – is all that. Ironically – some of us insist on going back for a second helping… aka experiencing Second Life.

I suppose the key to navigating our way through it all is to figure out how to best handle it. We don’t have zits and parents on our case any more. We have plenty of other things I’m sure – but in most situations, our brains are now fully developed and capable of self-actualization. So… where does one look for best next steps?

    Psychology Today?

• Learn to be brave. If you feel that you are easily intimidated into backing down, write down your feelings and give your writing to the other person.

• Don’t make blaming statements. Conflict resolution begins with the understanding that truth is relative. So much depends on one’s perspective, and none of us has a lock on the whole picture of anything. Nevertheless, most people start with exactly the most destructive question: Who is right and who is wrong. Two people spend time trying to convince the other of the rightness of his or her own position. But in fact, most disagreements are based on interpretations that come directly from private experiences in life, not some verifiable Truth. The single best way to resolve conflict is to listen to the other party. Most people just want to be heard; it is a basic form of validation. And often the solution suggests itself from what is spoken.

• Allow your partner to express his or her grievances. This is a good thing, because otherwise these feelings build walls between people.

• Take responsibility for your part in creating problems. Ask yourself: How did my actions and the things I’ve said or failed to say helped to create this situation or crisis?

• It’s the final step that people most commonly fall short on—accepting responsibility for making things better. “You need to seek out what will make the situation better in the future so this situation doesn’t arise again,” observes Raphael. “Further, you need to tell the other person, ‘this is what I need from you now to make things better.’ You need to take responsibility for what will fix it now. Is it merely listening? Is it an apology? Most people miss this piece.”

    Consider an authentic middle school approach 🙂


John The Kid Who Gets Everyday Pleasantries Wrong Kid!

John The Kid Who Gets Everyday Pleasantries Wrong Kid!

    And then… there is WILLA’s Way!

Hooo! Ask yourself… what would Willa do? And most likely it involves firearms and a whole lotta fun! Go Willa go!

Sometimes fire can be cleansing?

Sometimes fire can be cleansing?

some really good advice from a friend today…

it’s okay if you feel bad right now but recognize a lot of why you feel bad is your own pain…the people affected at least know it and can move on to what’s next. We are all left to wonder and also have to pick up the slack. If you’re feeling really sad…there are reasons and you have your own reasons…it’s not just about the colleagues that aren’t here today. So take some time for yourselves but come back ready to do your best…and know that if you give in to the anger and fear you only hurt yourself in the long run. We’re all going to be okay

some days it is just a lot to take in… I still have a job and I just keep on keeping on… its all about resilience, isn’t it?

Mary Poppins got it right!

Mary Poppins got it right!

I used to joke about work furlough programs. I thought they were something you got in prison -like a work release – when you have been good and they let you out to work or something. OBVIOUSLY I should have consulted a dictionary and really understood it. I have a big fat FURLOUGH staring me in the face. This, not to be confused with a FURBIE, is much uglier and more disturbing.

I am not going to turn this into a grip post. I am RESILIENT after all and the queen of making lemonade out of lemons. So… I am taking my furlough day (aka a day with no pay so that my salary is reduced by my daily pay rate) – the first of 12 I must take between now and early June 2009 – with a spoonful of sugar. I realize I am horribly mixing metaphors but isn’t that how the medicine goes down when you live with Mary Poppins?

The GOOD NEWS? the SILVER LINING? NO ONE immediately will lose their jobs. They are saving some ungodly amount of money across the whole system ($24 million I think) by asking… no wait REQUIRING… everyone to take 10-12-15 furlough days. I fall in the middle so I’m a 12er. I am completely for this if it really helps. I am completely for this if it means NO ONE loses their jobs unnecessarily AFTER June 30. Will that happen? I just can’t muster enough pollyanna in me to believe that is the case. I think this is the first blow with more to come.

So I talked with my bus stop friends this morning. The guys that take their kids to school and wait at the stop. The guys from other types of employment communities who seemed shocked. They figured… oh … a furlough… just take all your days at once and go get another job for the month. Me being the achieve, achieve girl had of course already thought of that. However, a month of does not work because of loss of benefits, etc. Second jobs? Yes, I have thought of that too and applied everywhere and anywhere to teach part time in the evenings (knowing full well it would severely cut into my SL habit). Nothing. No second jobs. Everyone is too busy finding first jobs.

So… skipping along… singing a happy little working tune I go. I tell you. There is no fat lady singing here. It ain’t over. Dave and I are working with some very cool friends, who are equally strategic, and we are going to launch a LLC. If we can’t find extra work, we’ll make our own. I’m SO EXCITED about it. Its all about getting the right people on the bus and getting headed up the mountain in time to reap all the benefits that come at the top – at the Tipping Point. WE are going to be on that bus. No short bus this time. Lemon from lemonade. Sugar with our medicine.

Cheers to restrictions from looking at work emails. Cheers to new beginnings and all things that are born from tough times. RESILIENT baby!

I have often been accused of being too positive, too cheery, and too pollyanna-ish. Not surprisingly, I do a hair flip and skip away when facing such criticism (insert laugh here). Seriously, I do an internal check and try to figure out what makes me decide to be happy when the reaction should be anything but.

In RL, I have one of those faces that smiles automatically. I smile when I’m sad and crying even. I even find myself laughing when I cry sometimes – yes, for those of you wondering, you can now OFFICIALLY declare me NUTS. However, since I have had children, though, I have come to realize this is a genetic trait – smiling and being nuts. My oldest son is often in trouble for smiling when he is getting redirected for torturing his younger siblings.

I did a search for cranky, bad mood, negative thinking, and anything else I could think of on Google. I read a few blogs. I tried to get in the skin of someone who chooses this outlook or at least can communicate it well on the web. I dispute my husband’s bad moods enough that I simply cannot go there to get into character 🙂 but I have to say I think we make a good yin-yang and he tempers my pollyanna-ish views.

What I found was a whole host of individuals and organizations trying to move out and away from negative thinking. People don’t write about staying in bad moods, they publish how to overcome them. I suppose this speaks to the huge industry that is self-help and wellness. It is the ultimate in-search-of-a-happy-ending Hollywood factor that childrens books and movies end with.

Happines is associated most heavily with the left (i.e. logical) side of the brain, while anger is associated with the right (emotional, non-logical) side of the brain. From a Society for Neuroscience article on Bliss and the Brain:

“Furthermore, studies suggest that certain people’s ability to see life through rose-colored glasses links to a heightened left-sided brain function. A scrutiny of brain activity indicates that individuals with natural positive dispositions have trumped up activity in the left prefrontal cortex compared with their more negative counterparts. “

In other words, happy people are better able to think logically.
-Creating Passionate Users blog, 4/17/2006

I would like to challenge you, if you are taking the time to read this, to consider the above passage I found in another’s blog (Creating Passionate Users), and take the additional effort to follow the link and read up. Being happy makes you HEALTHY. Heck, with my whole family – all 6 of us – battling asthma, the flu, pink eye, you name it I think we are due for a little happiness or maybe a BIG happiness. For those of us in SL who choose to enjoy our pixelated freedoms, why not choose happiness there as well? SL is built around the text communication that takes place between individuals and groups. We talk talk talk talk talk. But when, does one, as a person and as an avitar decide to walk the talk? Easy to say, much, much, much harder to do.

Is a happy ending possible? Can someone REALLY wear rose-colored glasses and survive in the big bad RL and SL worlds? I say yes. If you took the time to read the link I included – I hope you read far enough down the screen to realize that happy people feel bad too, happy people experience sadness and unfortunate experiences, but happy people choose to look at those experiences and process those feelings in a different way.

Ironically, I’m coming full circle here. I ask you to look at the name of my blog (not the typo name, smartass) and think about what it means to be resilient. I have to say… another way to be pollyanna-ish… is to be resilient. It is super hard. It makes you crazy. It is not the way the rest of the world would like you to think. But hey, I never was much for trying to do what the rest of the world wanted me to do anyway.

Some days I try to figure out if I have finished growing up yet. It is hard to be achieve, achieve girl. What the heck, who the heck is that, you ask? First born sure. Parents who believe life can be perfected. Parents who raise you believing anything is possible, and by the way, get going and accomplish it, would ya. I’ve blogged before about all the blessings in my life – and I’m holding to that. But… in the grand checklist of lifelong to do’s, what remains?

Days like this I feel like I have entered that zone where you are in-between stops, in-between goals. Something is coming. Change of some sort. I’m cocooning myself for something that lies ahead. The problem is I just don’t know what that is. All I know is I feel like something is unfinished.

Maybe it is just a transition time. Our kids are shifting into an older stage of independence. Far from leaving us, but ready and able to play outside with friends without me hovering and stay up late watching movies on the weekends without me hounding them. My husband has told me I am far too young for a mid-life crisis – so that can’t be it 😉

I always grew up knowing what would come next. I knew the goal I was heading out to achieve and did just that to the best of my ability. College, teaching, marriage, kids, house. I’ve even passed the 20 year high school reunion life marker. I was recently reading a book from my mom, Robert Fulghum’s From Beginning to End – The Rituals of Our Lives and in it the author specifically addresses the power of high school reunions.

I was one who didn’t go. I thought about it. I connected with a good friend that the reunion invitation reminded me of and then googled a few names. Robert Fulghum writes of how the reunion process – whether participated in publically, or simply visited privately in reflection – is all a very necessary part of life. I found it reassuring that there must be others that only experience reunions through personal reflection. I didn’t take the time to dig out my high school yearbook like I had at the 10 year mark. Those that are vivid in my memory don’t need me to gaze at their yearbook picture for me to remember how important they were to me. I wonder where they are and wonder if they ever think about me. One in particular I remember wrote a message in my yearbook a year after I graduated because at the time I did graduate he couldn’t think of something significant enough to write in exactly then. All he wrote was a simple “Let’s see where we are 10 years from now.” Ironically. as in all yearbook sentiments, that never happened.

He told me he knew I would make a great teacher. He knew it was in my heart to live and breathe teaching and kids and small towns. He could see me being happy in the same place 10 years from now and that would be enough for me. I can’t say he was all that right on all accounts. But he did know one thing – I would be happy and I would live and breathe teaching – if not directly, indirectly through my husband and the aspects of my career that touch teaching. He promised me that day he would go on to be famous and I remember laughing saying if that is the case, I need to have him promise he’ll come back and visit my students so they believe me that I really did know a rock n’ roll man. I found a clip on YouTube where he drums for Dick Dale. He has gone on to other successes with his own bands – but this is the one moment I remember reading about in the newspaper, seeing his name in print, and knowing he had made it.

Cheers drummer man. The years have treated us both well. What does all this have to do wtih SL? Really nothing. Just the connection I suppose I make to music in my SLife. And the connection to resilience. To get this far in life – on any path – requires resilience.

Many have joked about my spelling – and believe me – I have to laugh at it myself! I am always in such a hurry to get my thoughts down – the words pour out of my fingers as they fly across the keyboard and I am left with a hiddddeous mess to decypher. The title of this blog, however, is purposeful.

SL offers me the perfect chance to explore resiliency. SL is the perfect opportunity to see how the human spirit can be resilient. SL is the perfect place to explore who we are, what we might be, what we could imagine, and how we can reinvent ourselves. SL is also the perfect place to reevaluate what is important to us, gravitate toward people we most likely will never ever meet in RL but for some reason SL allowed our paths to cross, and SL reminds us how human we all are.

According to Dictionary.com (Unabridged v 1.1), here is how the root word is defined (and LOL spelled correctly):
re·sil·ience /rɪˈzɪlyəns, -ˈzɪliəns/ –noun
1. the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity.
2. ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy.
Also, re·sil·ien·cy.
[Origin: 1620–30; Latin resili(éns), prp. of resilīre to spring back, rebound (see resilient) + -ence]