Some of the best advice I ever received was to evaluate my goals and priorities every six months, and be prepared to radically change course. This advice was meant for a dancer whose life could shift in a moment due to injury or sudden funding! And though I’ve moved from dancing to editing, I’ve kept this habit. I stop every six months to take stock of what has come along, what has dropped away, and, most importantly, what remains, but requires a bit more acceptance. I feel resilient when I’m able to stay hopeful and grounded as things change, or I’m able to increase my tolerance for the changes I simply can’t control.
In my home, we have a tradition that first arrived as a holiday gift from another artist. It was a simple drawing of a jar on a large sheet of cardboard. The word “love” was written inside at intervals. Instructions said to hang the drawing on the wall and write a note when we felt grateful. We’ve hung a new jar drawing each year for four years now. By year’s end, it’s full of random comments from family and friends: “I love (friend’s name);” “COFFEE;” “strawberry shortcake for breakfast;” “my nice hair;” “old friends who remain curious;” “impromptu dinner parties;” “guests that leave, and guests that stay longer;” “getting real mail.” You get the idea.
Brené Brown reminds us that “joy, collected over time, fuels resilience,” and I agree. I look forward to taking down this drawing each year, because it always surprises me that comments really do continue to appear month after month, becoming little bits of joy on the wall. It’s proof that daily pleasures can add up to a happy life, and reading these notes engenders a sense of wealth. I see exactly what we nurture in one another, and it helps me become better able to ask for help when needed.
It also encourages me to lovingly detach from others and gift them the opportunity to solve their own problems with courage. Who knew such a simple device could provide so much valuable perspective?
What small things do you notice and actively nurture in order to build resilience? How do you creatively manage life’s challenges? Email me at JDenney@MotherEarthLiving.com and let me know. May we all fuel healthy resilience with more joy!
Mother Earth Living Book Club
Start the new year with a brand-new outlook inspired by the next read for our Mother Earth Living Book Club: The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown. Just as Brown brought understanding to the idea of resilience, so does she, through this book, deliver an unparalleled take on wholehearted living. From Jan. 1 to Feb. 28, read with us as we learn to set aside self-defeating thoughts and instead engage in the world around us with courage and compassion. We’ve invited Brown to check in with us to offer insight and encouragement while working through the book as a community.
To participate in the discussion, search for the private Facebook group named “Mother Earth Living Book Club” and ask to join. We can’t wait to connect with you!