Resilience Amid Chaos
By Loren Swift
It seems an avalanche of change is upon us. Undoubtedly, we are living in chaotic times. I experience it as external points of reference dissolving. Those parts of life that I have counted on for stability and comfort are disappearing rapidly. Some of my close friends and family view the socially and politically mandated health measures from completely opposing stances. Fear of spending time together has penetrated our psyches and threatens the bonds of social connections that make us human. The frayed edges of dilemmas surrounding us leave a residue of doubt and turmoil that challenges clear thinking, as well as our psycho-emotional well-being and, for many, even physical survival.
The Human Dilemma
I don’t think the state of affairs is going away soon. In fact, the effects of pervasive upheaval may well increase in severity over the coming years. The question that keeps rising in me is, How can I meet the ongoing changes with courage and equanimity? What will it take to face and solve the challenges? Life as we have known it seems to be in its death throes. When looked at from the ego’s survivalist mentality, fear takes the helm. Fear cripples our abilities to see clearly and respond with our full capacities intact. Like in a boat being tossed on an angry sea, we need most to navigate the next wave coming at us: resilience and flexibility. And we need the perspective to see that we’re all in the same boat.
What I mean by resilience is the ability to not only meet change but also to use new circumstances to grow. In other words, to evolve by choice rather than rail against what’s happening. Since everyone is on their own path of evolution, I cannot speak to your development. I can talk about creating internal resilience and developing flexibility, necessary qualities for riding the waves of change. These two qualities can be engendered and practiced at will. When we practice embodying qualities of life, we are investing in ourselves and our internal reserves that nurture equanimity. This internal reservoir then nourishes and stabilizes connections to ourselves, to others, and to life. It is a pathway to remembering ourselves as part of the greater whole. With this vision, we can more readily see what steps to take. Next, that is, what will serve life at the moment.
The Function of Resilience
Resilience comes with self-connection, with the self-awareness of who I am – at this moment. The specific moment is significant. It speaks to our flexibility. Life changes from moment to moment, and so do we. To stay current with life flow, I use my internal coordinates, my inner reference points, as tools for self-connection and self-awareness. These are my physical sensations, somatic awareness, emotions or feeling, and my current, relevant quality of life. The qualities of life that matter most to you are the cornerstone on which self-connection rests. To know what quality of life is up and needing expression is to know who you are and what matters to you in the situation. Because qualities of life are universal, they also function to help us understand and empathize with others. They provide access to our common ground, the aspects of being human that we all share.
If you’d like, take a minute to name the qualities of life that matter most to you. They can be readily discovered an answer to this question: If everything in your life was just as you would most love it to be, what words would describe that state of being? As you write down the words that come to you, let yourself imagine the most beautiful life possible in all realms. This list can be extensive, including meaning/purpose, connection, creativity, respect, compassion, kindness, belonging, peace, beauty, fun, play, competence, learning, community, communication, and so on. The words depict what the experience is you long for, not how it will happen. How it happens differs from person to person and from situation to situation.
The Power of Self-Connection
The important thing is to list the ones you resonate with most strongly, say the top 10 -15. It may help put the list in your pocket and look at it to help with your internal state’s self-awareness. Knowing your internal coordinates is a powerful tool. When you know “where” you are, that is, what you are feeling and what is alive and mattering to you at the moment, you can respond with clarity and authenticity. You can speak your truth, know your capacity to give what’s needed or offer your presence. Or, you can ask for what you need. When we know we need each other, we are that much closer to collaboration.
The power of self-connection coupled with flexibility brings resilience to meet what comes. This self-connection has a stabilizing effect on us. It centers us and invites us into coherence. In fact, we can front-load coherence into any situation by embodying the quality of life we want to experience. This is an option either during or before a problem arises. The more embodied we are, the more resilience and flexibility we will have to surf change and navigate unknowns.
Belonging to Ourselves:
To deepen self-connection and further empower yourself, embody the quality of life you want when you want it. To do that, choose the quality you want to experience.
Remember a time when you experienced it fully when that quality was living in you, and you felt it completely. As the memory unfolds and the quality of life fills you, let go of the memory and allow the quality’s living energy to fill you up from the inside.
Use your breath for breathing it into your whole body. Rest in the energetics of the rate as it expands inside. When your quality of life is embodied, you will feel a sense of relaxation, perhaps, or expansiveness or warmth. This is the state of coherence. You are vibrating at a frequency resonant (coherent) with you, your life, and your most cherished value (quality of life) at that moment. This is an empowered state. From this state of being, you have greater access to your intuition, to clarity of mind, and to speak from your heart. Your immune system is enhanced. You may also have a broader perspective on life, meaning you may sense empathically what other people in your sphere are also feeling and wanting. Or you may have access to greater creativity and personal insights.
Being One with Everyone and Nature
We sense ourselves connected to the life forces that matter to us: our resonant qualities of life. We are strengthened by resilience through this self-connection. It is a form of belonging to ourselves. Our belonging extends out from our internal landscape to the world beyond and the people in it. It is belonging that infuses us with the impetus to care for ourselves and our community. Ultimately, it is the quality of care that invites us to collaborate, to add our unique ingredient to the soup of life. With resilience, each of us can accelerate our evolution. As we do, we contribute more courage and equanimity to the world.
About the author:
Loren Swift has a deep appreciation for the scientific, the psychological, and the mystical. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Oregon and a master’s degree in counseling from Oregon State University. As a licensed psychotherapist, Loren worked with addiction recovery and dissociative disorders in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has been a certified Nonviolent Communication trainer since 2005. She has worked as a life coach for nearly 20 years, integrating various backgrounds to support couples and s for systemic change. “The Earth Keeper’s Handbook Companion Program,” a 16-lesson, a video-based home-study program to deepen understanding of the lessons in the book and demonstrate how they apply to real-life situations. To learn more about Swift, visit earthkeepersall.com or on Facebook (@lorenswiftbooks)
Ministry Earth is a collective Awareness-Raising, Perception-Building Initiative from Humanity Healing International, Cathedral of the Soul Educational outreaches created to introduce the perspective of Ethical Consciousness and Nonhuman Personhood to its Animal & Eco Ministries. Ministry Earth is a Service-Oriented Initiative and its Magazine is a Copyrighted Publication of OMTimes Media, Inc. Broadcasting and Publishing House.