When it comes to my own Inner Guidance System, after over 60 years of pretty intense living, I’m still always on the prowl for others’ perspectives. But the wisdom I often seek comes from a place of earned-resilience. Traumatic experience or difficult lessons-learned haven’t caused the person to shut-down and withdraw from humanity. Instead, the wounded heart is now even more open through its suffering; more determined to not only survive, but to flourish. More receptive and, ultimately, more loving. Bluntly stated: I’ve learned a lot from people who’ve been through some crazy, mind-blowing and life-altering shit, yet still embody hard-core resilience.
There’s a global celebrity who parlayed a very damaged childhood (long-term abuse) into what I call a Syndicate of Wellbeing. Her media presence and brand is instantly recognizable, with global reach. I don’t track this mega-star like I used to, but there’s a kind of literary meme — always featured in the first pages of her monthly magazine – that once guided me through a very tough time, and continues to resonate with me. Her Intro is titled, “What I Know For Sure”.
I glommed-onto this glimpse inside the writer’s mind and heart after my father died unexpectedly. My family went into an emotional tailspin, pulling apart instead of together. I began to walk-on- eggshells with them, trying to ‘caretake’ everyone’s needs but my own. Which led to months of stumbling-around people and situations, feeling in my heart, “This isn’t right”, but not knowing how to advocate for what actually was right.
When life gets crazy and the people you thought you knew start behaving in strange and upsetting ways, it’s time to get back to The Essentials: what you know to be real and true, no matter what’s happening all around you. In my case, it was a matter of accepting that my thoughts and actions in that situation were flowing from my accumulated ‘baggage’.
There were other opportunities in my life for similar learning. Why did I ignore the early warning signs of a troubled relationship? How did I miss the clues, charging headlong into a toxic work environment? The perspective of “I got myself into this ; the people around me are really just bystanders” meant ongoing ownership of one simple fact: my Life evolves from how I think about myself, which then drives the things I do. This, I know for sure.
Resilient people have taught me that, with each new day, it’s my job to chart my own course and not worry about anyone else’s compass or coordinates. Are there moments when I feel lost? Yep. Can I just ‘sit’ with this feeling until the anxiety passes? Hopefully. No one has this thing called Life totally figured out, but resilient people are definitely onto something.