I have spent two years of my life being obsessed with ‘resilience’ and how someone can embody that quality. It began with a Dharma Report from the School of Metaphysics where I have been a student and teacher for the past 5 years. Dharma is the quality (qualities) that you have learned over lifetimes and are here to give. It is looked at as the opposite of karma, which is what you are here to learn. Within the profile given, you are given just one quality of what your dharma consists of and why it is important to you in the present moment and ways to utilize it to best fulfill your individual purpose within humanity.

When receiving this report, you attend a Spiritual Focus weekend on the College of Metaphysics campus along with all the other eligible students within the twelve different locations. You are able to observe the reports being given and the opportunity to hear others. I remember hearing words like joy, benevolence, and compassion to describe other’s dharma quality. I had a clear image of how those qualities are shared with others. How knowing compassion and how to embody it can change the life of another. How being joy could make a bad day into a better one for those around you.

When it came time to hear mine, I was so nervous I felt buzzy and slightly faint. I was ready to hear my purpose. What I heard from the report was:

“How can this one’s dharma be best described?”

“We see that of resilience.”

I instantly let my mind wander with all the ways I was unable to see it being a help to others. We are given the space to ask questions to the Conductor and Reporter during the session and I asked how I could best align with my dharma to be the most service to humanity and this was the recorded response:

“How can this one align with her dharma to be of the most service to humanity?”

“To recognize that the world needs what this one has. To recognize that others are weakening and that strength that this one can call forth, brings strength to them. Would suggest to this one to allow this thought of the world needing resilience to penetrate and to soak within this one, so that this one feels it in every cell of the body and to the core. This is all.”

That answer has changed meaning for me many times and I have observed the layers of truth that come along with what was given. The mindset I had when I first heard my dharma was very physical based. I had this idea that when I heard this shining, golden quality, I would understand what it is I was to do with my life, like a profession. I spent a lot of my time considering different ways to monetize this quality. Even writing that out seems like such a silly thing to me now. It is something I have to give to others freely and I was putting a pressure on myself to make it something provable, something real.

While setting the intention of wanting to experience resilience, I was stepping into a world of opportunity. It brought to me situations that required me to exhibit resilience for myself and become a person that others looked to to carry what they were wanting to dump out. I began to believe that to prove my resilience, I had to be surrounded by constant chaos while not letting it break me. How silly.

The most recent realization I’ve had involves my tomato plants. As the midwest weather took the normal toll it takes on unprotected gardens, my tomato plants beat all the odds. From being planted too early and surviving the surprise Spring time frosts to being too big for the supports and parts snapping off in the winds and rain. It became routine that the tomato beds would take a full afternoon of work to prepare for the coming week of growth.

While I was cutting off the suckers (new growths without fruit), I caught the passing thought of “these guys are so dang resilient and it is so much work.” I was taken aback that I was annoyed with something that I could see as resilient. Something that has taken its purpose so seriously, no matter what happens in the physical, it continues to grow. 

That’s it, that’s what resilience truly means to me and how to practice it in the physical. No matter what is occurring, you’re finding your way to grow.

After spending time pondering this new realization while my fingers became increasingly covered in dirt, I was noticing how the tomato plants are most resilient (new growth) in the areas where trauma had occurred to the plant and allowed the sun to hit it. For me, it gave me the aha moment that the map of resilience is easiest to follow when you search for the light. Just as plants need sunlight, the inner light of each individual needs to be honored for growth, to let the inner light be the guide.

Everyone is going to have a different purpose and their light is going to be unique for each individual. No matter the situation that someone may experience where they need to exhibit inner resilience, there is usually a feel good moment that turns the story around. The stories people share about resilience come from focusing on what they do want, their hopes through the situation, the things that bring them joy. It is their light, which brings them energy to continue to grow.

Resilience gets the reputation for emerging from chaos or a negative situation. As someone that holds this quality near and dear to my soul, how can I begin to embody this quality without having to swoop in to save the day, to help others to find their own resilience? For me, Self awareness is a large part of resilience. It is knowing what you are feeling and not falling victim to it. I believe victimhood is the mentality that is opposite of resilience. Stop asking why this is happening and begin asking what is happening. Taking time to honor what you are feeling in the moment so that it doesn’t get buried is Self awareness that leads to resilience. Self awareness brings clarity, and I believe with clarity can come understanding. It is through understanding that fears and worries are released, creating space for resilience to shine its light.