#WritingWednesday - Resilience with Ada Limón

I have been reflecting quite a bit about resiliency. A thought that I am sitting with is that resiliency requires one to face their mortality, their fallibility, in order to cope with each difficulty encountered. I even struggle to come up with the right words regarding how one deals with difficulties. Some are survived, some are confronted, some are passed through. Resilience looks different depending on the person, their resources, and situation. Sometimes resilience is trying to maintain stasis - or finding a new reality.

A cycling accident four weeks ago started me on this line of thought. A subarachnoid hemorrhage and fractures of my temporal bone and clavicle and a lot can change at once. After my head hit the pavement, I spent 45 minutes with my eyes open and talking, but I have no memory of doing so. Suddenly, my brain came back online, my husband was over me, talking to me and checking my bones for fractures, I was sobbing. Had I not been wearing a helmet, I would be dead. As things go, my healing has been remarkably quick, but this experience put me in touch with my frailty and fallibility 

We can imagine the way we will behave when things go wrong. We can wonder how our loved ones will react. I can honestly say I know the answer to those questions. Such an experience brought out surprising moments of kindness and understanding in others. Learning to slow down, heal, and accept others' generosity has been my lesson - and I have failed quite a few times. Initially, I was in shock. I had to give my nervous system a while to calm down. I also tried to skip the healing process and go right to rehabilitation, but bones heal on their own terms. 

I have neither patience nor grace naturally, I have to practice them, and it has been a challenge not being able to charge my way through these challenges. Survival doesn't always mean developing empathy. In fact, sometimes it makes a person more rigid and judgemental ("I survived X and I still fulfilled my commitments. What is your excuse?")

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I went to Point Roberts to visit my Godfather and his wife. They are telling me how in the face of an aging population and limited resources, the community bands together to care for each other. Humans evolved because they grew together not in spite of it. Sometimes having to band together means we can come out better. As a defiantly independent person, asking for help doesn't come easily 

In a way, we are all heliographs. What we reflect at others can be our choice, and sends a powerful message to others.

 

Instructions on Not Giving Up - Ada Limón

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More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate
sky of Spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees
that really gets to me. When all the shock of white
and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave
the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath,
the leaves come. Patient, plodding, a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us, a return
to the strange idea of continuous living despite
the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.

How to Triumph Like a Girl - Ada Limón

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I like the lady horses best,
how they make it all look easy,
like running 40 miles per hour
is as fun as taking a nap, or grass.
I like their lady horse swagger,
after winning. Ears up, girls, ears up!
But mainly, let’s be honest, I like
that they’re ladies. As if this big
dangerous animal is also a part of me,
that somewhere inside the delicate
skin of my body, there pumps
an 8-pound female horse heart,
giant with power, heavy with blood.
Don’t you want to believe it?
Don’t you want to lift my shirt and see
the huge beating genius machine
that thinks, no, it knows,
it’s going to come in first.

 

Further Reading

Ada Limón on Poets.org


Recognized for her passion, knowledge, and support of her clients’ individual journeys toward their best selves, Frances Mulinix brings over 20 years of experience in coaching, voice, movement, writing, and performance to support her clients in breaking down blocks and reaching achievements they had previously not thought possible. Transform your relationship toyour mind, body, and voice, bringing new confidence and creativity to your life.