As a wellness consultant in the financial industry, I’ve seen my fair share of worn-out financial professionals. At the end of a turbulent tax season or the start of a volatile market cycle, burnout can be brutal and show up seemingly without warning. As you pause for a moment over this holiday season with your families and friends, I hope you’ll take a lesson I shared with my son, Zeke, to heart.
I am not a fan of the word resilient. For one, I have a hard time spelling it and, secondly, it’s been THE buzz word in the coaching/self-help/personal development world for the past 3 years—especially in 2020. Don’t get me wrong, I love the definition of being resilient. I’ve often thought it’s not survival of the fittest, but survival of who can bounce back when your world gets turned upside down—and let me tell you, it will.
When life does throw you a curve ball and knocks the breath out of you, do not go back to sleep. In one of my favorite books on being resilient, Broken Open, author and spiritual teacher Elizabeth Lesser shares:
“In the most broken moments you will be brought to your knees, humbled, and begin to open. And later, pull the pieces back together, discover a clearer sense of purpose and a new passion for life. But also, there will be people who did not turn their misfortune into insight, or their grief into joy. Instead, they became more bitter, more reactive, more cynical. They shut down. They went back to sleep.”
So, how does one go to their knees, get humbled and open and surrender to the adversity that ebbs and flows in our life? Zeke, I will share with you three NON-NEGOTIABLES to practice on the regular to survive this more-than-messy life.
- Surrender– Yes, surrender to the mess. Acceptance will give you the power to put one foot in front of the other. In difficult moments, I have often repeated to myself “I accept this.” This doesn’t mean I am okay with the challenge, or that I’ll just brush it off and avoid dancing with the pain. It means I accept what life has given me to grow me, to mold me, to change me.
“In the difficult are the friendly forces, the hands that work on us.” –Rainer Maria Rilke.
You see, Zeke, our problems are here to help us, they become our friends. Surrender to these hands. These are the hands of transformation, the door to reinvent yourself. Again, these hands will mold you. These hands have made me stronger; they have worked on me repeatedly. Now older, I wake up grateful because at this point there’s not much that can rob my spirit, and many of my problems seem like old friends. When life doesn’t seem fair, I beg you to whisper, “I accept this.” Surrender.
- Move your Body-Get moving ASAP!! Dance, hit the weights, cycle, run, walk, bowl, play tennis… whatever! Get out of your “feelz” for a moment and get in your body. This will allow for all those good hormones like endorphins and dopamine to kick in and get you feeling good. Moving your body will allow you to shift perspective and give you the strength to move past the chaos. Back in 2008 there was a large lay-off where I worked, and, once again in a two-year span, I was laid off. My heart was crushed. I found myself in fear again for my financial well-being. It felt scary and out of control. So, what does one do when they’re not sure where their next paycheck will come from? They sign up for a half marathon! I joined a running team, met every Saturday with my iPod and ran it out. This was my therapy: sneakers and a running trail. Find your physical therapy, Zeke. No matter what, just keep moving your body and I promise life will work itself out… Move your body, change your mind!
- Find your People– Family and Friends! Your tribe is the reflection of your soul and tells the story of what you value. Surround yourself with solid people—period! I’m talking about people who love you, support you, and think you’re the bees knees. If there’s someone who doesn’t see your magic, that is not your person. The people you keep are important. When life goes south, you’re going to need all the hugs, cards, flowers, cupcakes, text messages, phone calls, quotes, poems, laughter, etc. you can get. Your people are crucial for bouncing back. In my darkest times there were people to surround me and not let me “go to sleep.” They refused to allow me to give up by showing love and support. Make sure to have people in your corner who will do all the above. And, of course, you must be all the above, too. Be that friend, that family member who shows up during the breakup, didn’t get the job moments, the loss of a family member, feeling depressed, etc. Be sure to show up for others.
There you have it, Zeke: 3 strategies that I promise if you practice daily, you will bounce back stronger and even more ready to care for your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual wellbeing!
I want to leave you with this…
The snake is an ancient, sacred symbol for transformation. To grow, it must shed its skin. This process is very painful and can even be dangerous, but it’s necessary for growth. As the snakes’ insides are outgrowing its outsides, it must remove the restrictive, outermost layer.
The snake scratches and rubs with pain in the shedding process. If, for whatever reason, the snake resists the shedding, over time it will become malnourished, could go blind, and may even die from suffocation. But—if the snake surrenders to the process, it transforms and emerges stronger and healthier. It’s a cycle of rebirth and renewal. This is an excellent metaphor for the beauty of your transformation, Zeke. You are so capable of resilience and growth!
I love you and yes, you got it from your Mama!