This topic has been front and center for me the past few weeks. This week, I was a guest teacher for a group of students taking a Positive Psychology program. I had an hour sharing with them around the Phoenix Rising concept of the “The Edge” and how “playing the edge” in asana has a carry over into life. The “edge” in our body can be a great teacher for our life, but it can also show us those places in our life where we tend to hide or flee when faced with a little discomfort. The escapes from the reality of the moment are many. One student share that she went to her mind to escape. Another experienced anxiety at the edges in body and life and chose any way he could to back away from it
In our COVID world, many of the usual escapes have disappeared. We can no longer go to the bar, a sports arena, or even a movie to escape. We are face to face with ourselves and those we choose as housemates on this life journey. The edges arise, and we have to be there with them, just as they are. It’s easy to melt down and not handle them skillfully. Self-compassion is required here as we have had little training. Resilience is about being able to hang out with our edges and respond to them skillfully – perhaps even in ways that will strengthen ourselves and others in body, mind, and spirit.
The question I ask myself is this. What practices, habits, or rituals will help me become more resilient to be fully present with the reality of today’s world. What will help me navigate life with greater ease despite the difficulties I must face. (Note that I see a distinction between “easy” and “with ease.” Things may or may not be easy. That doesn’t’ matter so much. What matters is that I choose from the inside to engage with or without ease.) The last question and probably the most important is what will help build my “inner muscles.”
Last week, my wife Lori and I hiked a mountain. A big mountain. Katahdin – the highest mountain in Maine. Ascending Katahdin has been a kind of pilgrimage for me since my first climb in 2006. Over the years, though, my ascents have been less frequent, and as I get older, even though I maintain an adequate level of fitness from my daily walks and practices, I notice the effects of age beginning to play a part. I was delighted that Lori wanted to join me. The day was one to remember and gave me much to learn and digest about this topic of Resilience. It was so significant that I wrote a separate personal blog about the experience and am sharing it with you here. Enjoy your week.
Katahdin – A Mountain of Love