Spotlights & Insights, Vol.2 – October 2017
October has flown by and I can’t believe we’re already here at the last Friday of the month.
This month has been a doozy – from the news, to social media, to personal struggles, I know many of us have been left with our heads spinning; feeling anxious, sad and questioning ourselves and the world we live in.
But through all this, there have also been great moments of solidarity, of encouragement, and of coming together to stand up for what’s right in the world. I have been a grateful witness to many deep acts of kindness and compassion this month and reflecting on those moments has also been important.
So has you process and recover from all this and look to next month, here are some thoughts, insights and links for you on your journey – to help you stay strong, connected and resilient.
Let’s dive in. 😊
My October “Aha!” – Resilience: Ongoing and Growing
I have always loved the word resilience and this month it has been on my mind more than ever.
While the first definition offered for the word by the Oxford English Dictionary is “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness”, it’s the second definition that really captures why I love the word; “the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.”
Elasticity. This really captures what I believe is one of our greatest qualities as people; our ability to adapt, morph and stretch with the forces of life, but still maintain the strength that hold us together.
This is such a needed quality in these challenging times.
But I also recognize that there are times when we may stretch ourselves too far. When the weight of our lives or the world becomes too great and we fear we are close to snapping and may never regain our shape again.
This is why this month I’ve become so aware of the connection between resilience and self-care.
While it’s important for us to step forward into the world and do the diligent work we’re called to do, the only way we are effectively able to do this is by balancing it with time for rest and recovery.
I so appreciated author and teacher Sharon Salzberg’s words on this in her article, We Can’t Survive in a State of Constant Agitation (link below). In it, she talks about how our desire to constantly stay vigilant in an effort to heal the world often impedes us from making a real difference.
Instead, we become so exhausted from this that we are unable to put our full effort into the causes and projects we care about. Instead, we substitute real action for reading the news, watching YouTube videos and scrolling Facebook feeds. This gives us the sensation that we are connected and taking action, but we’re really just fueling our anxiety and depleting ourselves further.
So for me, staying resilient is about finding balance. It’s about knowing when to step back from the challenges of our lives, to take a break, and to engage in practices that refuel us (hiking, biking, yoga, cooking, drawing, sleeping etc.). It doesn’t have to be complicated, it just has to be something that’s meaningful for you, and something you make time to do (regularly).
This is how we reshape ourselves after the world has stretched too far.
This is how is how we stay resilient.
Updates & News
A few weeks ago, in response to what had been a tough morning news-wise, I made an audio recording with some words about resilience and an exercise that has been helping me stay strong at heart during this time.
Later that day, I posted the exercise on Facebook and the next day I included it in a blog post on the Five Winds website.
This was the first time I had done something like this, and I was so grateful to everyone who took the time to listen to the recording, to share the post, and to tell me their experiences of working with the exercise.
Based on this feedback, I’ve decided to make offering these practice for resilience a regular thing. While the details are still in development, the goal of each post/recording/session will be to provide you with words of encouragement and an exercise to help you decompress during these stressful times and rebuild the strength you need to go out and do your work in this world.
Because, like I said in the recording, the world needs you.
P.S. The platform I’m looking at using will allow you to access these exercises directly on your phone, all with automatic updates. So cool!
Read, Watch or Listen
In case you missed it, here’s the link to my blog post and exercise for heart protection and resilience mentioned above.
We Can’t Survive in a State of Constant Agitation
From master teacher Sharon Salzberg and the good folks at On Being. Great words on the necessity of self-care and encountering the world from a place of love when we feel overloaded by it.
Michael Phelps: A Golden Shoulder to Lean On
This was one of my favourite articles on performance and wellness this month. It speaks not only to the importance of balance and recovery to high-level performance, but also the need for community. It shows how big a difference it makes when we reach out and support each other. So great!
A Little Bit More…
6 Things You Need to Recover from Every Day
Some great insights, stats and advice here. I especially appreciate the thoughts on recovering from technology, something we could all make a bit more time for.
The One About Boundaries
I am a big fan of Rob Bell and his podcast, The RobCast. Often spiritual, but always accessible, this podcast regularly blows my mind. This episode is on such an important topic: boundaries, in all areas of our lives.
In times of challenge, it’s important to also find moments of joy. This is not to diminish our struggles, but to remind us of the need for balance in our lives. Many posts from this feed have been bringing a smile to my face. Enjoy! 😊
This blog is a part of my work with Five Winds. It’s a space where I share thoughts and insights on performing and wellness, and offer tips and ideas on how to stay balanced and healthy (body, mind, emotions and spirit) while living the life of a performer.