Spring, Evening Skies, & Resilience
by Suzanne E. Sky, MTOM, Life Resilience Coach
I was laying in bed watching the evening skies blues and purples streaking the long lines of clouds. And thinking about resilience. It’s early spring and flowers are popping up everywhere as warmth replaces the cold of winter.
It’s been a year and a few weeks of sheltering at home due to Covid. A year and three months since my father passed away, thankfully peacefully in his sleep, and even more thankfully just a short time before Covid arose, so that he did not have to suffer through that. And selfishly, thankful that we could gather as a family for his celebration of life and burial, something so many families, sadly, were not able to do over this last year to properly bid farewell and mourn those they lost to Covid and other causes.
It’s been a year of changes and challenges for millions of people around the world as I’ve been delving into world news more intently since Covid first arose on the horizon and I scoured reports from colleagues and medical practitioners in China and Europe, before it really hit the US. I knew it was serious. I knew it was life-changing. This last year offered changes, challenges, and opportunities all in one.
I walked through the doorway and closed my wellness clinical practice (Chinese medicine) of 31 years while keeping my focus on wellness and my heart intention on empowering and supporting women as I pivot to working as a Life Coach.
As such, I’m continuing on with the core theme of my work in herbal, nutritional, and Chinese medicine - that of resilience: the ability to thrive and grow through the stresses, challenges, and opportunities of life. When our nervous system and physiology are resilient we can withstand illness, heal well, and our physiology supports our mental and emotional well-being. I’ve always loved working with women during life transitions in particular which calls forth so many attributes of resilience and the ability to imagine, vision, and create anew.
At the same time I closed my clinic, my wonderful bookkeeper of 16 years also closed her business. We both felt it was time for a new chapter, a new adventure in our lives. Last spring was the perfect time for her to move and spend time with her family for a variety of reasons. I wanted to be able to work from home, spend more time gardening and doing things with my dog Ginger. This transition to Life coaching work allows me to work with people in a deeper way to support their growth and ability to create their life vision.
I’d been taking coaching courses two years before Covid hit and signed up for a Financial Coaching Certification course just two months later. The timing was perfect and this work dovetails with my Life Resilience Coaching. I’ve been meeting professional peers around the world on Zoom for the last three years, learned so much, and made some great connections. I’ve seen and heard so many stories of people’s amazing resilience, especially throughout this last Covid-challenge of a year.
In clinical practice, resilience was things like teachers and elder clients staying healthy through cold and flu season. Or a client coming in for acupuncture for physical distress and then taking up art as a way to find her way through the profound grief she was experiencing due to recent losses.
We're Always Creating Our Lives
Resilience is a creative process because as humans, we’re always changing and growing. We’re always creating our lives moment to moment, day by day.
Life is full of change, full of challenges - how do we perceive these? As scary, threatening, or as false news? Or as offering potentially new perspectives and opportunities? Whether it’s a health challenge or a life challenge, we need to make an assessment, likely reach out to others for insights, ideas, support; and make some changes to our diet, lifestyle, thinking, work, finances, or what ever is needed to heal, grow, and move on.
When we’re facing really tough, deep-seated emotional states like shame, lack of worth, or lack of confidence - these usually come from early childhood experiences and decisions we made about ourselves and life. Over time, we can learn to appreciate how these feelings arose to protect us from further pain or to keep us safe. When we approach these tough parts of ourselves with loving kindness and open awareness we can simply be curious about the shame, fear, worthlessness, and so forth that most all of us experience in some way at some point in our lives.
As we relax into acceptance of ourselves right where we are and open to the present moment, our nervous system relaxes and comes out of the back brain (freeze, fear, flight) survival function mode. When we focus on something that naturally brings up feelings of love, gratitude, joy we are able to live in the present moment. What happens physiologically is these genuine uplifting feelings stimulate the nerve plexus around the heart which activates the higher functioning areas of the brain where creative and win-win solutions are available.
Resilience Is a Journey.
Resilience requires loving awareness, grit, courage, and a sense of humor. I think of resilience as a process of openness and discovery. A process of expanding, contracting, expanding again. It’s also an ongoing journey. and we get to decide who our companions are on the journey. This includes our internal companions – our qualities of being – and our friends, family, coworkers, and allies in the world. Choose well and change when needed.
Resilience to me is about living fully in the moment - greeting what is here and dancing with it. Accepting ourselves and others as we are. Being open to change while remaining centered, loving, aware, kind and whatever qualities and values are vital to you, personally. Expressing yourself, your creativity, your gifts more fully from the center of your being, your heart, wherever you live.
I love this excerpt from an article that I came across earlier this evening. I’ll leave you with this inspiration. And we’ll continue this conversation on resilience in another article.
“Life is full of stops and starts. You’re young some years, then old, then young again. You learn and you’re brilliant and then you slow down and feel dumb sometimes. You’re tough and resilient! And just when you’re about to declare victory… you fall apart and cry and wonder how you landed there.
The goal is not to be better and better. The goal, every day, is to simply feel where you are and accept it. What is happiness, after all? Happiness is enjoying yourself as you are right now and connecting to other people as they are. That’s it. You don’t have to change anything. You don’t have to win anyone over. You just have to savor this day.” - Heather Havrilesky
From my heart to yours, Suzanne Sky - Life Resilience Coach
As a Life Resilience Coach, I offer a heart-centered approach to support purpose-driven women in transition in creating the meaningful life they love. We work together in a collaborative coaching process to identify practical steps you can take in alignment with your abilities, core values, and life vision so you can live your heart and create the impact you want. My whole person coaching integrates compassionate awareness, collaborative dialogue, gentle inquiry, and an invitation to engage in journaling and embodied awareness practices.
I offer a free 30-minute Connection Session to discuss the possibility of us working together. I'd love to meet you!