Monday, December 23, 2013

Thinking About Resilience

The end of 2013 is drawing near.

I would surmise that this reality draws a collective *and very audible* sigh of relief from all around.  I personally cannot wait to raise a glass of bubbly (oh, who are we kidding? I'm going to raise at least a few!) on the last night of this year and welcome the year to come.

This year has been so hard for so many people.  I don't know how else to say it, but to assert that it feels as if this year has been a test of our resilience. Certainly, many wonderful things have happened to me, and to many people I love this year.  But amidst this, there has been so much loss, so many challenges.  The loss and the challenges seem disproportionate to years past, and though I'm not sure why this is, it really does seem to be the case. When I think of just my own immediate circles, I am reminded of:

homes (yes - multiple homes) damaged,
situations of homelessness (all temporary, but some hanging on for much of the year),
huge financial strains resulting from home damage,
the rocking of emotional foundations borne from losing the familiarity and safety of our homes; the spaces, the walls, the foundation that ground us and help us stand in the world.

loss of loves,
of loved ones,
of parents, family members, friends, beloved pets,
of jobs or job security.

and in a less tangible, much more ephemeral way, we have struggled with security all over the map (and globe),

under measures of austerity,
governance that is utterly baffling in its backwardness,
the resultant sense of hopelessness and anxiety stemming from witnessing these measures, living under the results of these measures, and the fact that no matter how loud the protesting voices are, they seem to go unheard.

we have struggled with too-intense workloads,
too-intense lifeloads,
with depressions,
and losses.

In a nutshell, 2013 has rocked us.  Rocked our foundations, rocked our faith, rocked our belief that we can affect change in the world, and in the complexly layered goings on around us.

In other, less nuanced but possibly more apt terms, it has rocked the living shit out of us.

Maybe this roughness is cosmic, maybe it isn't. Maybe this rocking will continue into the coming year, and maybe it won't.  (Though I *DO* like a good marker of the shift in these sorts of things... that would be nice, wouldn't it? A calm, gentle, lamb-like peaceful 2014?)  I don't know how things will come at us and to us in the coming year, and that ain't something I can control, so I'm trying not to dwell on that bit (at least not too much, but as you all probably know, I'm a dweller.  What can I say?!).

What I do know is this: 2013 has seen a truckload, boatload, snotload, shitload and all kinds of other loads, of resilience.  Of our ability (abilities) to take a deep breath and move through it, despite it, into that hard stuff and keep our asses going.

We kept loving, kept growing, kept teaching, kept learning, kept working on it all, because of it all and despite it all.

And so what I am choosing to gather and take with me as this year nears its finale and we move into 2014, is that resilience.  The knowledge and belief that just as we (and hear I mean the collective we, in the community, in the city, in the country, in the larger world) have struggled, we have also survived. We have kept going, met the challenges, and lived with them with as much grace and spirit and bravery as we could muster.

And here we are, in the darkest part of the year.  Still standing (you know, mostly).

And that ain't nothing.

So as this year draws to a close, I'm going to raise my glass to you, to us all, and to resilience.

*We are all stronger than we think.* 

Wishing you all the very best of the holiday season (aka holiday season survival),

With love and light,


1 comment: