As I mentioned in this column several weeks back, life is a series of ups and downs. Each of us has experienced demoralizing defeats, emotional hardships and unhealthy levels of stress. The current events we face today are perfect for inundating fear, worry, anxiety and distress. Sometimes we get knocked down so hard that we choose not to get back up. Please take note that I said “we choose not to get back up” rather than “we are unable to get back up.” Each of us has the spiritual attribute of resilience. Resilience is our capacity to recover from difficult experiences and setbacks and become stronger and wiser as a result. It is that power within us to see every failure as a lesson of life that provides helpful feedback going forward.
In 1385 England invaded Scotland. In order to save his life, King Robert of Scotland had to flee and take refuge in a cave. There he sat, commiserating, hopeless, and defeated. As he sat there, he observed a spider trying to build a web between the top of the cave and wall. Time and time again the spider tried to spin his web. Time and time again the spider failed because the web just wouldn’t hold. After each failed attempt, the spider would pause for a while then start over in trying to build the web. Eventually it succeeded. King Robert was impressed by the spider’s persistence and optimism. He also concluded if the spider had the persistence and optimism to overcome the obstacles standing in its way then he must have those two attributes as well. King Robert prepared himself and returned to Scotland to defeat the English.
The issues we face today are every bit as threatening to us as the issues faced by King Robert. Fear, worry and stress are natural reactions to such problems, but they are not meant to be long term residents in our minds. Resilience is our Recovery power. At this point in our lives, more than anything else we need resilience. Some of us are unemployed and facing financial difficulties; some of us are more vulnerable to Covid-19 than others and we actually worry about our lives coming to an end. Some of us are demoralized and ready to give up because injustices of inequality never seem to get any better. You might be feeling down and out; you might be feeling defeated; you might feel as if your life will never be the way you would like it so why even try. That is a choice and not the reality of the matter. Resilience is hard-wired into you. Instead of feeling down and looking down, utilize your resilience by feeling up and looking up at the life you have before you.