So fellow travelers, with one of his poems today, my friend Tom Atkins made a comment on resiliency.
“Life knocks us down. Sometimes we get up again. Sometimes we don’t. To this day, I don’t know where our resilience ends, or why. I don’t know where it begins, or why. I just know both are real. It’s scary, not knowing.”
I sat with the poem and his comment for quite a while this afternoon.
Water Lilies in the afternoon sun at my little pond, my sanctuary for ponderence.
I don’t need social media to find evidence of the life’s blows; I know many people within my own personal circle who struggle to find the strength to keep getting up. Friends raising transgender kids in a bathroom obsessed society, or dealing with chronic pain trying to find relief from an insurance hampered medical system, or hanging on by the thinnest of financial threads in an uncertain job market.
Being someone wired to make a difference, it sucks to feel helpless to help others.
“Hey hang in there! Sending Prayers and Hugs!” sometimes feels like an empty platitude, no matter how much genuine love and Light I will into each keystroke as I type. I can hope my friends feel my love and can take in the Light when they read the words of encouragement I’ve sent them online. I hold onto that hope when I feel most helpless.
It’s hard to stand by, even in a supportive role, as people face the challenges on their path through life. Yet if there is one lesson I have learned well in half a century and then some of mistakes it is this: Each of us must find our own way. We may travel together at times, yet ultimately no one can live our lives for us. Each of us is responsible for creating the life we have. Every moment of every day we make choices for Light or Darkness, Love or Fear. Everyone has the power to change their choices and no one can make those changes for them.
This thought called to mind another recent post from a writer who filled my heart with joy by describing our connection as “friends who have invested in the creation of a history.” Dang, if I had plans for a tombstone that’s what I’d want inscribed “She was a friend who invested in the creation of a history .” Maybe it can be put on a plaque at the foot of the tree which will sprout from the biodegradable burial urn I intend to end up in.
Lisa’s post (which I also reblogged here) spoke to the matter of how we truly can help simply by being there for one another. The way we create, maintain and strengthen our connections to each other weaves safety nets which allow us to catch each other when we fall. Sometimes those nets can be used to pull people up, if they will take hold. Yes, sometimes we seem to slip through the gaps. This is why it is essential to maintain and strengthen our connections to create stronger nets with smaller gaps.
Sometimes, we are not mindful of when we are walking into a web we perceive as a safety net. In my experience this happens mostly when we have lost our sense of who we are. Our need to belong can over ride our innate awareness of malevolence when we are desperate to find acceptance. I have learned the best way to discern the difference between webs and nets is for me to become better at practicing kindness and being compassionate. Genuine kindness and true compassion are always selfless states of being; they come from choices focused on others and are never self-serving.
Webs are woven from conditions set by others. Safety nets are unconditional, they allow us to be our true selves even when it means letting someone fall further than we wish to have them go. We cannot always save people from themselves. Sometimes the best we can do is stand by waiting to cast our nets and have faith they will catch those we love.
That point of faith I think is where our resiliency begins and ends.
Some of our pond fish. Considering the winter conditions they survive year after year they are the embodiment of resiliency!
Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.