January can be a challenging month. After all the rushing excitement of the end of December and the New Year, back to everyday life reality can bring us down with a thump. The unremitting parade of bills to pay, winter’ s cold surges or summer heating up (depending on your hemisphere), everyone back to work if they have it or refocusing on the search again if they don’t, can have the effect of dimming the hope and energy of the previous few weeks.

Additionally, here in the USA we are currently assaulted with the nonstop lunacy of political campaigning and the promise of it lasting through almost the end of the year. It is easy to get depressed, irritated and feel hopeless resorting to either belligerence or escapism as a means to try and cope.

The very first line of my book Personal Magic in the Prelude is:
You can be someone who is resilient, optimistic and kind while being realistic in the present world.’

These are big words and require some thought as it applies to you and your situation. What exactly does it mean? In this blog and the next two I will explore each of these words. Today let’s look at Resilience.

In the final chapter of Personal Magic I write this:

Resilience can be (simply) understood as the capacity to overcome fear, helplessness and anxiety in the face of  great difficulty and challenge, without resorting to violence, escapism or victim-hood. Studies of people who do well, rather than those who do not, have revealed common attributes of well-ness.

One of these is resilience, a normal human quality, not a rare thing for some. It can be learned. The opportunities and skills developed through living in community assist greatly in evolving resilience. A personal relationship/experience of Spirituality also seems to be related to levels of resilience. 

So the good news is that it is not the prerogative of a few. When you are able to face the reality of your situation and stay engaged in life, you begin to practice resilience. How do we get there?

Resist the urge to self isolate, seek out community, engage in learning life skills, exercise and include artistic endeavor in your daily routine. For many people facing incredible personal health challenges and social difficulty, writing, art, music and dance have formed the bridge between helplessness and hopefulness. That is the difference between believing there is no point and realistic optimism.

Further in this chapter I write:

Likewise, as medical practice has begun to reconnect the body-spirit again, the link between resilience and the individuals’ interaction with their environment became clearer and clearer.

Resilience appears to related to the ability to connect with others and to deal with the present as it is, while taking responsibility for oneself and those immediately in your circle. Ultimately the resilient person has a strong personal Self.

As you advance into the year, pay attention to your skills of resilience and include on a regular basis the activities that will nurture and develop that most powerful aspect of your Personal Magic.

Resilience Exercise from the Personal Magic Book:

Using your own experience, explore the word and the meaning of ‘Resilience’ as it applies to you.

Create an art piece of it. It may be a one-dimensional drawing or an actual 3-D piece.

Imagine Resilience as a mobile or chimes that sway in the wind, all the swinging strands remaining free and clear of each other, creating a beautiful sound.

Perhaps words dangle, what is the cross bar made of?

And what is the music it sings? Make a cd to go with this image.

I’d love to hear about your exploration and experience of Resilience. Leave us a comment!

The next post in this series will bring us Optimism! Click on Follow if you are not already subscribed to be sure you get it.

I also encourage you to read the book by Anne Deveson, ‘Resilience’. (Allen & Unwyn Australia, 2003)

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