A child’s resilience is amazing. My baby JJ (16 months now, but forever my baby) fell off the bunkbed ladder. He’s an intrepid soul. And he is obsessed with climbing up the bunk bed ladder. Turn your head for a minute and up he goes. The inevitable happened and he fell off. He cried. I held him. Two minutes later he was trying to get up it again. We blocked it with the wicker laundry basket and he is MAD!
Am I so resilient? When I get knocked down how quickly do I get back up again? The answer is 1 day. I think that’s pretty good.
Yesterday was a knocked down day. It was one of those days where I left my cell phone at home, dropped the kids off at summer camp and took myself out for some retail therapy. Luckily I still had my birthday gift cards, otherwise the “retail therapy” we’d be able to afford right now would be from the clearance bin of the dollar store.
I was hiding, pure and simple. I didn’t want anybody to know where I was until I knew where I was. What am I doing here?
The night before last I spoke at an event for the third time in one week. And for the third time in one week I was incredibly well-received. Everyone said how much they loved my talk. They loved my energy, my passion. They loved what I had to say. It was so true, so relatable, so real, so funny, so needed. Still, no book sales.
I left the event and cried all the way home. Yelled all the way home. Is it worth it? Should I just give up? I’m burning the candle at both ends between the kids, the house and the business. If everyone loves what I have to say so much, why isn’t anyone buying my book?
So I spent a day removing myself as best I could from everything and everyone. After picking up the kids from camp, we went to the park. Then I took them to Fred Meyer and put them in Playland so I could sit upstairs in Starbuck’s and look out over the store. It’s a good thinking spot.
I ended my 24 hours of contemplating the question, “What am I doing here?” with some journaling. That’s my system. And it works. Here’s a step by step breakdown for how I get back up after being knocked down. I call it Resilience 101:
1. Release your emotions.
When I get knocked down, I scream and cry for awhile.
2. Enter into a period of solitude and contemplation.
I shut myself off from the world for a day (kids don’t count) to pray, think and generally not talk to anyone unless I absolutely have to. If possible, I spend some time in a church sanctuary or some kind of place (like nature) where I can feel a closer connection to the Divine. I read something spiritually edifying that is going to give me “food” for thought.
3. Share your story with a trusted friend.
At the end of my day of solitude, I get a glass of wine, call a trusted friend and just get it all off my chest (in this case it was my cousin – she was drinking a glass of wine on the other end).
4. Insist you get a good night’s sleep.
I tucked myself into bed last night at 8:30pm and slept like a baby, even with Oliver and JJ in the bed with me.
5. Let your hand be a messenger of insights – WRITE!
I woke up early this morning and wrote in my journal to process my feelings and insights from the day before.
6. Immerse yourself in some exercise and heavy breathing.
I got some exercise so that I could experience taking deep inhalations of oxygen into my body. This, to me, is definitely a form of prayer and a key component of my spiritual practice. This morning I went jogging with JJ because I obviously couldn’t leave him home by himself. (As a side note, I will say that solitude and contemplation can be done around kids. Intention is everything.)
7. Elevate your thoughts through prayer/meditation.
In the shower, I pray and thank God for the opportunity to learn and grow.
8. Note your intentions.
Still in the shower, I state my intentions for who and what I want to be in the world.
9. Contact the outside world again.
Now I am ready to face the emails which have built up from yesterday and get on with business.
10. Enter into a new, more resilient you.
That’s it. I’m done. I’m back up. I’m clearer about what it is that I’m doing here and I face the world with renewed resilience, greater strength and a deeper sense of peace. I am grateful for the experience of being knocked down because it has brought me greater understanding.
Take another look at number 1-10 above. I used the word RESILIENCE as an acronym for these 10 steps. My intention is that it will be easier to remember that way.
Look, if JJ can fall off a bunkbed ladder and be smiling 2 minutes later, ready to do it again, I can also pick myself up when I fall down. It helps that I have a process for going from down to up. Because of what happened, I have new found clarity, I’m taking a new course of action and I understand at an even greater depth what I’m doing here.
For that, I am so very grateful. Thank you to JJ too for inspiring me to be resilient and showing me what true resilience really means.
We are all blessings.