Why resilience and recovery is how you actually refill your tank. 

There’s a lot going on in the world right now and so today, I just want to remind you to stop, look around, put your feet on the ground, soak it up for a moment, think about something you love and just feel that – even if it’s only for 30-seconds. It’s so easy to get caught up, whether we’re talking about COVID or politics or work or weather. And sometimes we have no choice… but right now in this moment, we have a choice. 

Choosing This Moment

While we’re soaking up the moments, let’s try something else. If you close your eyes and think about a time you went through a serious pivot in your life, I bet you can still feel the emotions attached to that pivot. I bet your heart races a little bit and your face scrunches up a little bit just imagining how it felt to be in that moment of change. Maybe it was a career change or purchasing a home, maybe a relationship decision or a move across state lines. Somehow you found yourself at a fork in the road and you decided to take life into your own hands. How did you do it? How did you decide to make the leap? 

The more I’ve tuned into my own experiences and the experiences of the people around me, the more I’ve realized that this is a collective experience. We all go through this ebb and flow of life – sometimes on our own – sometimes together. Let me tell you a story.

We are all Change Proof.

In April of 2015, an earthquake in a remote village in Nepal wreaked havoc and leveled every building. The village of Laprak, nine hours from the closest road, was so destroyed that the entire village became completely cut off from help of any kind. A doctor by the name of Mike Karch was volunteering with an international emergency response team and was dispatched by helicopter into Laprak to provide lifesaving medical care and to bring in supplies. Landslides caused by aftershock made the task at hand seemingly impossible but Mike and his team refused to give up on the people stranded in Laprak. 

As the earthquake survivors poured into the medical camp they were finally able to set up, Mike learned of a Nepali man still trapped in the village who had suffered a stroke and sustained a spinal injury. The man’s wife was frantic and told Mike, through a translator, that neighbors had tied her husband to a rock to stabilize him. With little supplies, Mike and his team located the man and took turns carrying him, fireman style on their backs, until they made it back up the mountain. An athlete who competed in five triathlons, Mike later talked about how he had no idea how he was able to do what he did, calling the rescue the most physically demanding thing he’d ever faced. 

Hurricane Ida had me thinking about this story and reminded me that we all have resilience inside of us, and the more we develop it, the more incredible moments we get to experience – and not just experience, but use, thrive in and grow from. This is how we become, what I like to call, Change Proof -able to use whatever life throws our way. 

Resilience + Recovery: The Real R&R of Life

To add to this idea of using our “pivots” and trying times of change to grow, I think it’s important to acknowledge that we couldn’t carry others up mountains every single day or we would burn out. We would never benefit from the experience because there would be no pause, no recovery. 

Recovery is crucial because it’s in those moments you get to step back and really see where you’ve just been. You have a window of awesome clarity after you’ve been in the trenches where you can recognize where you’ve been, where you might want to go, and why ‘xyz’ happened in the first place. When you’re standing at the top of the mountain, you have a perfect view of the path.  When we miss that window of clarity, it’s common to end up back in the same place until we get the message and break the cycle. Sound familiar?

And resilience is on both sides of this story. So maybe one week you are the person and maybe one week you are the mountain, and maybe on the most incredible weeks you are the doctor, Mike, who defied odds and leaned into his own resilience to save a life. Resilience is the undercurrent of life and the more we tune in, to be able to recognize this, the more we will learn to use that resilience and the more we will learn to love our lives – no matter what.