The U.S. Army defines resilience (R2: Ready and Resilient) as a goal in order “to achieve and sustain personal readiness and optimize human performance in environments of uncertainty and persistent danger.” In this chaotic time with coronavirus, economic fear and political battles we all need practice in resilience!
There’s a Japanese saying, that when adversity comes, we should copy the bamboo which bending with the wind is not broken. It is resilient and does not fall with a crash like sturdy trees. When storms lash, bamboo does not resist. While keeping its integrity it allows the gales to pass over and through it. When the storm is over, while it may have lost some leaves, it returns to its familiar shape. Bamboo has a great underground root system of runners spreading out over a large area providing stability for the plant and making it extremely difficult to eradicate as many gardeners have found out.
A resilient community in uncertain and fearful times looks like a community with a wide-spread unseen network of people who care about each other rather than only themselves no matter their political persuasion, age, race, religion. It looks like people who deal with anxiety and the unknown by not projecting their fears and anxiety on to others with blame and shame. It looks like a people who don’t feed the gossip mill on social media with rumor and hearsay. It looks like hopeful people offering kindness and understanding especially to the most vulnerable in the community and who follow public health directions without assuming they’re the exception. In fact, it looks a lot like a stand of bamboo in a storm reacting as a whole organism rather than as individual canes each bending its own way. Social distancing does not mean a lack of concern or care for others.
A resilient spirit knows that the age-old antidote to fear and anxiety is gratitude! In difficult times find something for which to be grateful. Every day find something beautiful on which to feast and nourish your spirit. We’re together in this. We’ll flex and bend and come out the other side of the storm a little battered but strong.