In yoga we are reminded that to overcome adversity requires resilience; an ability to cope with circumstances and as such make peace with it. This leads to liberation or a freedom from the angst of adversity. Without adversity we can never find contentment and thus happiness. Resilience is the ability to cope without faltering and this ultimately leads to liberation.
From a quote by Anne Bradstreet, “If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”
You don’t get to be my age of sixty-seven without experiencing and overcoming adversity. To not get crushed by life’s ups and downs requires resilience.
Resilience is the ability to spring back from setbacks, disappointments and failures. Resilience, I would say, is something we are born with; otherwise we could not survive? But just like learning to walk our sense of resilience only gets stronger and more balanced after a few falls, bumps and bruises.
I was divorced at a young age with two young children to care for. I stood in a welfare line desperate to feed and support my family. I chose to go back to school and with a lot of tenacity I found the resilience to solider onward and achieve my dream of a higher education. Poverty has a powerful way of either taking you down, or inspiring you upward. It takes resilience to overcome poverty and to understand that poverty is not a virtue, but it can be a powerful motivator.
Later on in life I was diagnosed with cancer, struggling for five years to reach recovery. Anyone who has experienced illness knows that to cope you need the will, strength and resilience of the soul. Like poverty, illness, if you let it, can defeat you, or make you stronger and more appreciative of life and good health.
As a very active person heading into my sixties I suddenly found myself a senior. Arthritis and other signs of aging began to appear. Like all my contemporaries I too began to struggle with the inevitable; I am getting old. I am a senior citizen! But with this aging comes wisdom. Its’ an understanding that life is constantly changing and what might be important today might be meaningless tomorrow. With the onset of corona virus priorities have changed.
Two weeks into the Corona Virus lockdown and my mother passed away. I live on the West coast. She lived on the East coast. I could not travel to say my good-byes. This was the emptiest and most helpless feeling I have ever experienced. But through my life, many times, I have had to pull myself up by the boot straps and keep moving forward. Life isn’t always fair, but they say what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger and more resilient.
This too will pass and the history books will be full of stories about the great 2020 Pandemic. I’ve been through poverty, divorce, recessions, long gas lines, antiwar protest, fighting for women’s and civil rights, struggling to raise a family, cancer, loneliness, disappointment, failure and death of a loved one. But the one thing that has kept me going is resilience for when you lose the ability to spring back from life’s pitfalls you lose the ability to live.
Within every crisis there is an opportunity. Focus on it and then use your resilience to turn every adversity into prosperity, and with this we can make the world a better place.
Namaste ~ may you always go with health, happiness and peace!