Resilience. Bouncing back.
I recently spoke at an event where, as I often do, have something to give the participants. Sometimes, it is chocolate; sometimes it is an activity to do. This time, I came up with something even I thought was a bit off the wall!
I gave everyone a yo-yo. Not your typical wooden or plastic with string type yo-yo, but these yo-yo’s were a variety of colors of soft plastic. They had a small circle for your finger to fit into that was attached to the same flexible plastic as the yo-yo’s were. The big surprise was they were filled with water and had little spikes sticking out all over them.
My point was “are you a yo-yo brain”? Or, are you focused, and have your priorities and boundaries set in sync with your passion; your ‘song’, your ‘assignment?
As people played with the yo-yo’s they found they were actually hard to ‘catch’ in their hand as they bounced them up and down.
My point, exactly: Resilience. Bouncing Back.
“There is nothing we can’t live down, rise above or overcome.” Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Today is one of those rare “rut days” for me. It’s a day when you feel like you have slid down a mud slide after a heavy rain. You can’t get a grip. You keep slipping.
I could blame the ‘rut’ on the 10” dump of snow that we finally got. Believe it or not, we haven’t had enough snow to use our snowplow since October 2015 – and we live in Alaska. We are used to snow 12 months a year. No snow is uncanny! And so came in Spring 2016….
But the real reason for my rut/mudslide has been my denial/difficulty (especially as an occupational therapist), of losing more of my independence. Knowing that driving a vehicle is a thing of the past is humbling. (Lord knows I don’t want to hurt anyone!) But now I also have the distinction of being labelled a dangerous fall risk. These words were added to weight lifting limit of 8 pounds, and no working with sharp utensils or hot items (due to neurological deficits).
These were/are hard words to hear. Yet, deep inside, I know they are true. Maybe you have had to tackle these issues yourself, or with someone you know. It’s not easy.
So this is my choice – to be constructive. I will work at clearing my mind of the word I can’t. I choose to be humble and ask for help. (This is much easier said than done!) I choose the word can, and focus on what I can still do. I will work hard at not getting frustrated at my short term memory loss when others get frustrated with it.
I can still walk (with my walker!) I can still do the laundry (oh joy!) I can still bug my husband (a perfected art after 40 years!), and I can enjoy the new snow on the Talkeetna mountains where our slice of Heaven on Earth sits at the base of. And, I can write! (Aren’t you lucky?!)
Lastly, and I think most helpful beside first my faith, is I I can be constructive by choosing humor. If you don’t believe that is the best medicine – not just ‘laughing’ but ‘getting it’, (aka: humor) Google YJHTL or David Naster. Be constructive!
When’s the last time you found yourself singing in the fire? NO! NOT “SHOWER”! I said “FIRE”!
You know, when you found yourself a day filed with drudgery, mounds of work, or difficult people to work with.
Darkness seems to creep in, even though you do your best to stay to positive, keep yourself at peace, with a positive attitude. You try to find that foothold that will keep you from going down the slippery slope of frustration that you DON’T want to go down. You grasp for that hand to hold you firmly, keeping you safe.
Suddenly, you hear a whistle. It’s not a train, it’s not a bird, it’s not even Superman, coming to save you. Oddly, it is coming from the woodstove and one of the big logs you had put in, to keep the chill at bay.
The whistle was more of a melody, a song. It was mysterious, yet comforting.
I began to think about how the song had come to be.
Maybe it had come from within the center of the old, hardwood log; from days long ago when the winds swayed through its branches; when birds would nest and generations of song would keep the tree joyfully at peace. Maybe it came from days that it was bathed in warm sunlight, or pelting rain. It would drink intensely, its roots growing deeper and stronger, the leaves growing denser to provide shade and comfort.
But then the tree had grown old and hard. It didn’t let anything buffet it, nor let anything in. Soon, with all the rings that would revealing its age, it became good only for firewood. Ring after ring had made it forget its song.
How about you? Have you forgotten your song? Have you let the outside world swirl about you that your song gets lost in the din of traffic? Do you long to find you melody again, to burst out in song, ridding your soul of pent up debris that has clouded your passion and peace.
What IS your song? Today, let the tough, fiery tunes and assignments you are given, allow you to release the notes of peace within. Let the notes of joy, the breath that fills you with life, echo across the din of the day.
I think I’ll head to the shower – after I put another log on the fire.
Care Tuk is a nationally known speaker, educator, and retreat/workshop leader. She has been a school, hospital, and home health occupational therapist for more than 30 years. She has been named as a Top Business Woman in America and recognized for her work with youth, disability outreach and awareness, and the American Cancer Society.