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  • Writer's pictureRev. Gwen Smith

We have to be Bouncy

We have all been experiencing the “second wave”, here we go again with the extra precautions. I want to say that I am ok with these restrictions, and mostly I am. It’s just sometimes, dang it, I am in disbelief that we are still in a pandemic and have to go back to being in very small groups/bubbles. But I will do all I can for the greater cause because well, I do believe we have to.

When I was thinking of what I would write about for the blog, the word “resilience“ dropped in. Mmmmm ok, I was not so convinced but then I randomly opened a book and there was “resilient” in the heading! Okay then.

I am really loving the word resilience and I can see how the meaning and the importance it in our lives. I grew up on a farm and resilience was only used regarding how the seed for the crops were resilient to disease. And as a young person, hearing this talk amongst the farmers and my dad was just white noise to me. I was a kid and paid their talk no attention.

Resilience was a hot topic to study in the 1970’s and there was plenty of research. I feel truly relevant today with so much uncertainty and frequent changes in our daily lives. A definition of resilience is capacity to recover quickly from difficulties, to bounce back (Oxford). And “Psychological resilience is the ability to mentally or emotionally cope with a crisis or to return to pre-crisis status quickly. Resilience exists when the person uses "mental processes and behaviors in promoting personal assets and protecting self from the potential negative effects of stressors". (Wikipedia)

In the generalized population, there is little to no awareness to recognize the importance of growing our individual resilience. It probably is not a part of our vocabulary either, not on the radar. A I confess, it was not on mine either. But over the past few years, I have been paying more attention to it and it is because of the global suicide rate. It is alarming whether in Kenya or Canada or USA, how high the numbers of deaths from suicide really are.

What research is showing is that people, especially our young people, have little to no resilience. Coping, rising above or moving through discomforts have not been mentored or the opportunities for our young to experience the discomforts have been cushioned for them to avoid it instead of leaning into it. There are many factors but none the less, the stats are showing la ack of coping.

Life happens and that includes losses. What do we do with the pain of loss? Whether it is loss of a job, loss of a loved one to death, loss of home, loss of availability of food……

There has been tremendous loss with a global pandemic. Can we lean into it and be vulnerable and bounce back? Brene Brown, a research professor, has gathered data and found 5 key factors to resilient people:

1. They are resourceful and have good problem-solving skills.

2. They are more likely to seek help.

3. They hold the belief that they can do something that will help them manage their feelings and to cope.

4. They have social support available to them.

5. They are connected with others, such as family and friends.

Another significant finding was the common “protective factor” that people who had a “bouncy“ resilience, were grounded in spirituality. Not religion or theology, spirituality.

“Spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion. Practicing spirituality brings a sense of perspective, meaning and purpose to our lives.” Brene Brown.

I cannot count the number of times that I have been thankful for my spirituality, my spiritual practice, my beliefs, my spiritual community for the past 10 months. We are all One and connected as the Divinity we are right here and now. And the five key factors that Brene Brown pointed out, will be our bonus to building our resilience.

I was driving by a church and the sign out front said “Jesus is a selfie of God” let me expand that idea as the Truth…each of us is the face of God therefore, we are all individualized selfies of God.

Blessings of Peace, Health and Light, and may we all be bendy and bouncy to move through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Love, Rev Gwen


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