I’m not sure about you, but for me most everything this past year, including Christmas was different. From my own major health challenges and my mother’s passing to staggering political, social and climate catastrophe’s, the extirpation of outdated, systems, beliefs and ways of being that do not serve has disrupted the status quo, leaving most of us quite altered from where we started a year ago.
The roof across the alley from my bedroom window spilled the long low rays of the solstice sun over its ridge onto me as I lay heavily on my bed. Christmas eve day would be dictated by the deep acrid feeling in my belly, tormented from a unusual year of repeated monthly antibiotic toxicity. I felt completely depleted cellularly amongst the discouragement of the continual bodily assaults. But it is Christmas! However my usual approach – to rally in like the rest of the sheep, to the hark and herald song was different this year and I took notice. But it wasn’t just my delicate physical state dictating the shift. No, life was moving me, like many of us along on some unusual trajectory.
In addition to the kids not coming home or not exactly celebrating Christmas this year, my extended family were all staying put, adjusting to my mom’s absence and intentionally scaling back on the usual hype and seasonal stress. Initially I was concerned, having long held the belief and tradition of the Christmas celebration as the pivotal non-negotiable time to get together with family and do it up. Somehow if nothing else, it perpetuates or assumes the illusion, that things are the same and ok.
But maybe they’re not and that may be ok. Facing major change and re-structuring will challenge our emotional intelligence and resilience. In fact I think resilience is both a remedy and a result of life’s upheavals. It’s like courage, you need to have it to get through the challenges and you get more of it by using it. Christmas was delightful long distance calls, followed by a four hour massage and healing session ending with a beautiful meal prepared with love by my daughter and Boxing day visits with dear childhood friends . I marvelled at how peaceful and fulfilled I felt. There was no thought “this should be different.”
What I noticed in myself was the amazing capacity to accept what is. I found myself not having expectations about what Christmas would be at all. I thought I would but I didn’t. My ability to re-orientate was refreshing. Normally my emotions would be pulled by my own and my community’s ideas’ of what Christmas ‘should be’. My teacher likes to say, “expectations are planned disappointments” in fact accepting ‘what is’, is the hallmark of most eastern spiritual traditions and a cornerstone of resiliency.
The other cornerstones which make up the foundation of the landing pad of resiliency are perspective, purpose and non-personalization. Resiliency is the ability to adapt and we need that now more than ever, personally and collectively. Resiliency is also the capacity to reimagine to reinvent and to find solutions when there seems to be nothing but barren ground. Often learned through adversity, neuroscience tells us that we can all learn to become more Resilient, it is a skill, one I realize I know quite a lot about, I have had my fair share of trauma and adversity. In fact I have been writing about my journey with trauma and resilience in my memoir, due to be available later this new year. Be sure to follow and sign up for updates on my Blog www.mary-
One of the ways that life has been moving me recently is to reinvent my offering to the world. Instead of focussing all on Therapeutic & Adaptive Yoga I am shifting to a new skill I have been developing – Personal Coaching for Resiliency. I’m very excited about this new direction and especially to share it with clients to help navigate through life‘s trials and tribulations. Find out more on my personal site www.mary-jo.com. www.mary-jo.com For now I leave you with a poem for the new year of 2020 and may you all be peaceful and prosperous.
|“Though we live in a world that dreams of ending.|
That always seems about to give in.
Something that will not acknowledge conclusion, insists that we forever begin.” Brendan Kennelly