I’ll bury my nut my own way.
November's theme is all about resilience. Think of those squirrels burying their nuts in the ground in preparation for the coming winter*.
Lately, though, I've been thinking of resilience not in the sense of planning ahead or bouncing back, all in an effort to avoid or get out of discomfort. Instead, I've been thinking about resilience as the capacity to stay in discomfort and to find inspiration in that friction.
Alex and I had long conversations about this very topic during the Wonder Body Connection Tour. Perhaps this comes from my New England Puritanical roots but, as we discussed the "healing power of pleasure," some part of me resisted that concept, hearing in "pleasure" the concept of hedonism, at worst, or pacification, at best.
When I think of resilience, I want to push towards something else. I want to, at worst, develop the capacity to stand in the discomfort and, at best, have the courage take action even when discomfort still exists.
Many years ago, I remember standing on a high log element of a ropes course (yes, a real log stretched between two trees, 40' up in the air, but me on belay with rope and harness—in other words, real fear but not real danger). My legs were shaking so much I could hardly move. I waited, thinking eventually they would stop and then I could dance with grace across the log. But they didn't stop. They continued to vibrate like a sewing machine. Finally I realized that I would have to find a way to move *with* the shaking, instead of waiting (hoping?) for it to stop. And so I took that first step—awkwardly and without grace—and then another, until I found myself mid-log, suddenly clear that comfort is not a prerequisite to action.
This concept was re-inspired for me recently at the National Center for Civil & Human Rights in Atlanta where an amazing experiential exhibit allowed me to viscerally imagine what it might have been like to sit poised and determined at the lunch counter protests, even in the midst of screams and threats. Would I have had that type of courage?
And so I wonder, how do we cultivate the capacity to stay embodied, aware, grounded, and focused, even as our legs are shaking? What's your relationship to resilience, pleasure, and fortitude?
* Just in case, I searched for youtube videos on the subject and found this silly one.