I used to do A LOT of theater in my thirties and forties. One of the necessary, but for me, dreaded part of that was auditioning. In order to get a part (the part you wanted), you had to audition. I would prepare extensively for the roles I auditioned for in Musical Theater, sometimes to the point of memorizing all the songs and the script, too. Let’s just say I liked to over-prepare, so I felt totally confident when I walked into the audition room. This was fun in the preparation, because I felt like I had done the role. However, still, when I didn’t get the role, it could be devastating.
This brings me to what I want to write about today: Resilience! One thing I was good at was being resilient. Oh, yes, I would cry and lament for however long it took me, but then I would pick up myself and go at it again. I remember one time when I lost the role of a lifetime, Eliza Doolittle in “My Fair Lady.” That was a hard one. However, I remember my drama teacher at the time saying, “One thing I know about you, Rita. You are resilient. You’ll be okay.” And, I was after a bucket of tears.
I’ve left my auditioning days behind and I’m great with that. However, today, I am thinking about resilience and relating it to life now. In the book I am reading by Gregg Braden – Human by Design. He talks about resiliency and its relation to living a long life.
It makes perfect sense and it is an interesting thing to assess in our own lives. Are we resilient? Have we been able to adapt to the times, and yet still be our own person. I’m familiar with people who refuse to use a cell phone or email. They just won’t do it. Forget Facebook! That is something that is no good at all, they think. This is all fine and we should be comfortable in our world and how we live in it. But, then to complain about it and lament for the “old days” can be detrimental to our health, so they say.
Resiliency is being related to long life and growth and expansion. How resilient we are can determine our life span. Studies have proven that the people who are adaptive, excited and have the ability to change in the midst of challenges are the people who live the longest and are the most contented and happy. I see this proven in many older people in my world.
Please do not confuse resilience for the stifling our feelings in the midst of tragedy or sorrow. I always allow my feelings to come forward in a bucket of tears, and I have sat there for long periods of time. However, I’ve also come to realize that after working through whatever it is, there does come a time when I must get up and live again in a new and expanded way. And, it is okay if people choose not to. We are all at choice. My own mother at 87 told me she wasn’t sure if she wanted to go on after her husband died. And…she didn’t. We are always at choice.
Resilience, on the other hand, is a choice, too. It is something that can be practiced and learned. It includes the art of flexibility, the practice of faith, and the time it takes to really know the Truth about ourselves with a capital “T.” Many of us carry our past around. It gets so heavy on our hearts (literally).
It’s not about how long we live as much as it is about the quality of the life we have. Resilience is an art form that is worth exploring, and I believe is key to that quality of our lives. For me, in this context, the opposite of resilience is regret. Which do you choose? Today, I choose resilience not because of the hope of having a longer life, but because I believe in joy right now.
Love and Aloha,
Rev. Rev. Rita