“… We often cope in the wake of our own personal traumas, remembering the wounds as we struggle to see the growth stimulated by terrible events. Resilience has no meaning without disaster.” -Riley Black (The Last Days of the Dinosaurs)
Sometimes life goes sideways, and we lose our footing. It could be a death, illness, extreme weather, unexpected poverty, the list could go infimum as the things that define us – also have the power to destroy us.
During the last three weeks our homelife has been upended. The details don’t matter as much as the outcome, which was two parents at their wits end with two young children who still need to be reminded that they are not responsible for their parent’s feelings.
Somewhere in all that transpired, my footing slipped and down I went into a shame filled world of “should of, could of, but didn’t…” Convinced that my health must be in decline, as no other reason would suffice for the complete incompetence I was experiencing, I made an appointment with the doctor.
Disappointment is a strange word to use to describe the feeling I had when my new primary doctor not only told me that my overall health has improved but said unequivocally that my problems were a result of my mental status, not my physical wellbeing. I was prescribed antidepression medication, given an empathetic pep talk, and sent on my way.
While I remained a bit disappointed that there was no outside cure that was going to get me back on my feet, optimism seeped through the cracks of my psyche, promising a better tomorrow. It wasn’t until the next day that when I was reading a book about dinosaurs, that I came across the above quote that moved my thoughts from unproductive to gratitude.
“Resilience has no meaning without disaster.” That sentence hit me in a way that allowed the scales of pity that had clouded my vision for the last few weeks fall away. While meditating on what it means for me to be resilient, I was reminded that my personal experience, even my terrible experiences, are the most precious gift I possess to share because despite it all, I am still here.
The only reason I am aware of myself to the extent that I will seek medical treatment within a few short weeks is a direct result of knowing what it’s like to not seek medical treatment when it is required. I am willing to talk about my feelings with a stranger because I know what it’s like go inward with tough feelings. I am open to trying different interventions to correct my path because I know what’s it’s like to head full speed down the wrong path.
Today I am aware. I am grateful that I can accept my humanness with grace and compassion. I am not defined by any single event in my life but rather the sum of my actions. Happiness is not a requirement to live a good life, but it is often the outcome. Today, I will look kindly at my past and enjoy all the colors of the experiences that have given me a rich pallet of color to choose from to paint my life with beauty.