Resilience Training

by Jen Whinnen

Whew, what a season this has been!

I’ve sat down a dozen times to try and write the opening of this newsletter and I keep getting stuck. I find myself just sitting, staring at a confused screen full of jumbled thoughts and messy sentences. I don’t have adequate words for what’s been happening in this country and in my own personal life. I am entirely inadequate. I feel completely incapable of completing the tasks set before me. Where do we go when we feel there’s so much to do, and so many people to protect, and we’re so full of worry and doubt that we just want to flee? I don’t actually have an answer for that. Oh how I wish I did!

However, I do know that we have to keep plugging along. We have to keep trying to be the best, most loving, most supportive people we can be. And to do that, we have to refine our resilience skills. Because resilience, the ability to accept that things are going to be hard and uncomfortable, but to keep doing it anyway, will fortify us.

Resilience can be learned. And I know this because I was in my late my 20’s before I had any resilience skills. Before that every time something got uncomfortable, I quit. I simply didn’t know how to be uncomfortable. When I was “bad” at something, I assumed that meant I was bad at that thing forever and gave up.

So how did I learn otherwise? Yoga, of course! The routine of a regular yoga practice, of teaching myself to just show up regardless of how “bad” I was at it, slowly changed my mindset and taught me how to try again. This seemingly basic skill, learning how to start all over again, created the conditions for success and wellbeing. Thanks so much yoga!

Now, I’m not going to say that yoga will fix the current state of affairs. It won’t. We can’t fix community problems by going to a yoga class. But, yoga can calm the mind. It can help unbind bound emotions and give us a moment of pause. And in those moments we find a path, a way of being of service, a way to hold down the fort, to protect others. The practice itself won’t do the big things, but it will direct us to ways that we can. So, get on your mat again and again. Use it to reveal the path you need to take to muddle through these murky waters.

And then, get off the mat and do the things. Use the practice to teach you to be flawed, but dogged in your pursuits. Don’t give up, but also know that you are going to have bad practices. And then get up and do it again. Be redundant in your effort. Show up every day and stick with it.

You are proficient, powerful and have so much offer so get to it!