ReBlog Wednesday – “Resilience”

https://hokusgrey.com/2020/08/15/resilience/

“Don’t Break.”

We all wish it were that easy. I mean, who isn’t at least a little broken? Who doesn’t have cracks, and chips, and scars, and missing pieces of themselves – literally, or figuratively? I think every one of us gets pushed to the point where we think we are going to break. Some of us have had the misfortune to have been broken early in life, so that our lives become a series of restoration projects. Break and repair. Break and repair. Break and repair. For some of us, it’s all we know.

I think that there are those of us who crave the hunt, the pursuit, and the exploration. We want to do more, see more, and experience more than we ever have, maybe more than anyone ever has. Be it the entrepreneurial spirit that drives someone to pursue business after business, or the athlete that pushes their body and mind chasing after their personal best, then championships, then world records. Or the physician that spends decades in study and practice, pushing their body and mind in the quest to untangle the mysteries of our biological enigma. These people break. The business tycoon has a shattered family from long hours spent building businesses and travelling. The athlete’s body eventually succumbs to time, or injury, and their pursuit of performance is diminished, if not snuffed out entirely. And the physician, who we entrust our healthcare and our wellbeing with – he may be the unhealthiest of all. Stress and long hours, bad diet, even pharmacological dependence may have crept in. Family life is strained, if not abandoned in the long nights and on-call shifts that have painted their career. We all break. Even the best of us.

Most of us just face the day to day of life, but that is enough. Our worlds are no smaller, or less important than someone who has a high stress career. Then there’s the military and First Responders, whose career path is a potential crash test dummy of stress and fatigue that almost guarantees a collision course with some kind of breakdown at some point. Is it possible for us to recognize that we are approaching a breaking point and put measures in place to prevent it? Or, is the breaking of ourselves in some way inevitable, even desirable?

Much has been said about reducing stress and fatigue. I’m all for it. There’s some great science out there being done in neuroscience and longevity by researchers like Andrew D. Huberman and Peter Attia, MD, that point to not only the benefits of reducing stress and anxiety, but real and measurable techniques that can produce positive results for the average person. The fact is, we tend to carry more stress and more of a burden than we ought to, and we don’t do enough to recognize the damage it is doing to our bodies and minds. When our vehicles malfunction, we take them in and get them fixed. We inevitably complain about the cost of repair, but we accept the cost as part of owning a vehicle. The same ought to be how we think about our bodies and minds, but we don’t do it. We let them fall apart. We tell ourselves that we can handle it, that we’re stronger than we think we are, that we don’t need help, or change, or even advice. Our pride, and our stubbornness, and our fear causes us to push, and push until we break. Once broken, we have two options. Hope, or despair. We all know what despair looks and feels like, so let’s not waste our bandwidth with that. Let’s talk about hope.

There is a wonderful Japanese art form called “Kintsugi”, in which pieces of pottery or ceramic vessels that are chipped or broken are glued back together with lacquer, and the seams of the repairs are painted with gold, or silver powder. The result is a starkly beautiful vessel, once damaged and no longer useful, returned, not to its original state, but to a new and arguably more beautiful one. There is no attempt to hide the places where the piece was damaged, but instead, the broken areas are gilt with precious metals, as if to signify the importance of their presence. This is hope. This is the celebration of the scars, not only as trophies of our resilience, but of the ability for us to be broken and return more knowledgeable, more beautiful, and more valuable than before we were broken.

“Don’t break.”

If it were only that easy. Right? No one wants to be pushed to their breaking point. No one wants to push themselves to the point that their health, mental, or physical, fails. No one wants to experience trauma that causes scars to their body and mind that they must carry for the rest of their lives, but the fact remains that it’s going to happen to some of us, if not most of us, to some degree or other in our lives. So, what can we do about it? Well, we have great science and real data on how the body and mind work now, and we can leverage that to help us live longer, healthier lives. We can get help when we need it. We can set our egos and pride aside when the “Check engine” light on our lives comes on and go get help. Lastly, we can heal our broken bodies and our scarred minds and celebrate the lessons we learned from the experience. We can gilt our scars with something precious and recognize that those past traumas were part of our story arc that made us who we are. We are survivors. We are strong. We are resilient.

As always, I would like to thank all my readers for their time. Things are changing always, and I hope to continue to change with them. My poetry collection is available on Amazon, or on this website’s store. It’s still the only thing on there, but that will change soon, I think. If you are interested, I have a new podcast called “The Grey Range” podcast. The pilot episode with my good friend, Lucas Orich is out now on YouTube, with another episode currently in production.

I highly recommend checking out the works of Andrew D. Huberman’s “Huberman Lab” website and Peter Attia, MD’s website as well. These guys are really bringing great data on how the mind and body work and how we can leverage that science to live better lives. It’s not all woo-woo witch doctor magic, anymore.

God Bless you.

Be safe.

Be well.

Much Love!

-DJR

Links

My book (Amazon): https://a.co/d/iMLk1TV

The Grey Range Podcast: https://youtu.be/nI1FHbBMJrk

Andrew D Huberman: Huberman Lab

Peter Attia, MD: Home – Peter Attia (peterattiamd.com)

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