Resilience is that wonderful quality that allows us to continually bounce back after each rub, bump or fall. It’s that ability to be ok after going through something that hurts or disturbs our natural balance or order of things. It’s that willingness to move forward , to progress and open up ourselves to the new, to leave what happened and what was far behind.
I am learning that I have this quality. That behind all the layers of anger, hurt, confusion and sadness ,there is a quiet place; an inner voice that is me. If I listen to my inner voice I am fine. Sometimes I get caught up with all the other stuff going on and I believe the harsh inner critic or the feelings of smallness and badness. I am learning to quiet the other stuff long enough to hear ME. That bigger self that parents the rest of me. That spirit of beauty, tenderness, compassion and strength that guides me.
And how does one become resilient? I believe we all have this quality but we don’t always believe we have and this lie leads us to listen to smaller versions of ourselves and this manifests in our thoughts and actions. I believe that resilience can be nurtured by continually and consistently showing up for ourselves. Especially in those moments when we feel ourselves most ugly, most unworthy and most unloved. If in those dark moments, we can hold ourselves, completely and tenderly with acknowledgement and absolute acceptance and unconditional love. If we can do that, over and over, whenever we touch those empty and wounded places. If we can gather ourselves up, all the pieces and embrace ourselves wholeheartedly. Then… I believe we can nurture this quality of resilience.
Over and over, when my son falls, or is upset or feels that the world is unfair. Like today; the day after his birthday, when he is laying weak and ill with a fever and upset stomach instead of at the birthday party that I arranged at a children’s play area. I hold him close and tell him that it’s going to be ok. That he will get better. That we will still have the party on another day. That it’s not the end of the world. That he is safe and loved and that I will look after him and not leave him. And that is all he needs.
And that is all our wounded inner children need. That re-parenting. What should have been done and for whatever reason wasn’t. I am doing it now. We can all do it now; over and over until it becomes second nature and that hurt inner child is saturated with unconditional love and a deep and profound sense of security. I like to visualise being bathed in a warm, yellow glow that saturates every cell of my being; filling me with unconditional love and rootedness and a sense of belonging.
What has helped me and served me? Deep acknowledgement and acceptance of my inner child. Dialogue with her in therapy. Art therapy and allowing her to draw images that represent her world, have all been powerful tools to help make that deep and empathic connection with her, with me. I feel like she trusts me now, that she knows I care. I have seen her, heard her and her story has been powerfully witnessed here on this blog with you, my dear followers and in my counselling sessions.
I can now move on from the life/death, black/white, all or nothing, emergency survival mechanisms that coloured my thoughts, ideas, actions, behaviour and interactions. I can exist in that grey place, that mysterious place of not knowing, that place where I can allow new light, love and opportunities in. I don’t have to pin everything down so tightly and hold on so tightly. I can let go a little. Slowly, ever slowly, of those old coping ways.
It’s a long process and I have a way to go. There are so many ways in which I ‘protect myself’ by keeping myself small and invisible but I am recognising the old patterns and learning to hold the opposing feelings within. I feel the grasping and desperation and I hear my calm inner voice, quieter and wiser beneath and beyond. I am resilient. I will be ok. I am safe. Louder and louder my inner voice becomes. So that I look inward rather than outward for validation and approval and reassurance. Nobody has to agree with me or say that I am doing the right thing because I trust my inner voice knows what best for me.
I have found art therapy so beneficial in my journey to wholeness and integration and in my sketches now; the flames I draw are intensely red, yellow and blue. So intense that the blackness that is my smallness cannot penetrate. The blackness is there; but it isn’t the centre and it leaves no imprint on the vibrant flames. I see it there and it’s ok. I can manage to hold it there, integrate it into my experience and full acceptance of me.
It’s happening inside of me, this deep integration, I feel it.