“Without purpose, meaning, and perspective, it is easy to lose hope, numb our emotions, or become overwhelmed by our circumstances. We feel reduced, less capable, and lost in the face of struggle. The heart of spirituality is connection. When we believe in that inextricable connection, we don’t feel alone.”
Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection
Note: This Saturday 5/23 I have a sub who will teach on his own theme, and next Wednesday 5/27 I am cancelling class to celebrate my birthday. So we will do this theme, Guidepost #3, this Wednesday and next Saturday 5/30, and then we’ll be back on track!
The third Guidepost on the Journey to Wholehearted Living is a rich one. At its most basic, it addresses the topic of resilience: the ability to overcome adversity, to bounce back, and to stay centered come what may. In addressing resilience, the chapter touches on a diversity of profound topics such as hope and hopelessness, addiction, powerlessness, entitlement, critical awareness, and a timely reminder of the fact that we can’t shut out the bad without also shutting out the good.
I certainly need much more than one class…one week…one chapter to explore the topics covered here.
While there are many important factors addressed in this discussion of resilience, I think the one I am connecting with most is Brown’s bold and surely controversial (at least to some of her peers) assertion that spirituality is an essential component of resilience. She states that in the face of the full range of human emotions including the ones we love to avoid like fear, pain, discomfort, vulnerability, and hopelessness, “the only experience that seems broad and fierce enough to combat [these emotions] is the belief that we’re all in this together and that something greater than us has the capacity to bring love and compassion into our lives.” (Brown, pg 73)
This is the essence of any true spiritual path: to take refuge in Something Greater that can provide support and protection, can bolster and buoy us in the face of things which get us down, can remind us that we’re all connected by and to that Something Greater. That which can help us keep opening…keep opening…keep opening.
Embodiment is a lesson in fluctuation and pulsation, light and dark, concealment and revelation. Living with eyes and a heart wide open means that we are bound to experience not only shame but sheer joy, not just depression but also delight…not just sadness but also celebration. We cannot shut out the bad, cannot take the edge off the challenge without also shutting out the good, depriving ourselves of the opportunity to also truly feel things like excitement and joy and amazement. A spiritual path is one that helps us keep things in perspective no matter where we are on the spectrum of emotion, sensation, intensity.
Whatever your spiritual path or practice, it serves you if it reminds you that you already have what you need to weather this and any storm. Regardless of the words you may or may not use, regardless of whether the space you feel most connected to that greater energy is under the majestic dome of a cathedral or the magical canopy of a forest, whether singing hymns or sitting in silence…your ability to connect with something greater is an essential component of resilience.
I invite you to join your community in taking refuge in your breath and in your heart. You are always being held.