Resilience is bending without breaking
Some people have asked me, “Kevin, how is it you stay so positive despite the past hardships you’ve faced?”
Well, it’s not always easy and the truth is sometimes I’m not very positive. In fact, there are days I’m a downright negative Nancy. The trick is recovering from those days quickly and with grace.
The main key is to learn to be resilient. Yes, there will be storms in life. Yes, they will knock you down from time to time. But, the key is to get back up.
Resilience is the art of bending in the breeze and not breaking. It is taking a punch and getting back up swinging. It is an art form that took me the better part of 3 decades to learn. It is a skill that I’m still mastering, but it is a necessary skill to have.
There is strength inside of each of us
So, where does this strength to persevere in the face of adversity come from? There is a source within each of us that we can tap into and where the gumption to keep going can be found. We just need to reach in and grab a hold of it.
If we are true to ourselves, this source is open to us. We can use it freely and it will never run out. The reason this is possible is that this strength comes from the Universe. It is infinite and unlimited.
Stay true to yourself
Part of the reason why life can seem to beat on us from time to time is that perhaps we have strayed too far from who we truly are. In other words, we have gone too long without taking care of numero uno.
So, how then do we return to being the true version of ourselves? How can we get back that internal connection to the Universal source that we have strayed from?
Well, for starters we need to ground ourselves firmly in the present moment. It does us no good to be off in never-land and try to be functional. But, how do we ground ourselves in the now when there is so much distraction in today’s world.
Ta-da-tadaaaaa! Mindful meditation to the rescue!
Medicine of the mighty Sequoia
Although this may be my second favorite meditation behind walking meditation, it is the one I find I use most often. The standing tree meditation helps me anytime I’m stressed out, anytime I am moving too fast, or simply when I need to relax.
So, what exactly is the standing tree meditation and why bother with it? Well, think of the northern redwood forest in the U.S. and all those mighty sequoia trees that have stood for a hundred years or more.
How is it that they grew so tall and so strong? Is it that they were sheltered from the storm? Did they have some magical gift of survival?
No. Truth be told, they were battered by winds from the Pacific racing inland and up into the mountains from birth. Under constant influence from the winds of life, these mighty giants grew strong and were tempered by the very breeze that sought to knock them down.
The constant stress of bending and swaying caused their roots to dig in and their trunk to grow strong. We are much the same. The more we go through and survive, the stronger we become or the more resilient we are to future trials.
The standing tree meditation
The standing tree meditation is a very simple meditation that can be done virtually anywhere. And, the best part…it takes a few measly minutes to return to the present and ground and steady ourselves in the face of uncertain or certain stresses and influence.
- First, find a quiet place to stand where you will be undisturbed for 3-5 minutes (or longer, if you choose). I prefer to find a place outdoors with a bit of scenery but indoors works just fine, although you may need to do a little more creative visualization this way.
- Take a few deep cleansing breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth, as you calm your mind.
- Standing straight, gently close your eyes and let your arms fall to your side loosely. As you focus on your rhythmic breathing, imagine yourself as a tree. Whatever kind of tree you want to be, whether it’s a willow, an oak, or the mightiest of sequoia picture everything about it. the ways it bends and sways in the wind, the way it smells, the forest around it and the animals living in its branches.
- As the transformation from person to tree continues, feel yourself rooting deep into the ground beneath you. Feel the grounding of the earth as your new roots course their way deep into Terra Firma.
- Allow yourself to begin to sway gently from side to side or front to back. As you sway in the wind, allow your hands and arms to swing freely as branches would. And feel your other (imaginary) branches reaching high into the sky. Picture your lush green leaves absorbing and releasing energy.
- After a few minutes (again, no timeline here), slowly return to your waking conscious feeling solid and steady in the present moment. Notice the confidence and strength and liberation from stress you feel as you return from your meditation as the mighty and resilient tree of life.
Be strong yet flexible
The Standing Tree Meditation is a useful tool in helping us return to our inner connection to the divine energy of the Universe. Also, it allows us to be present in our daily lives and withstand the sometimes destructively stressful storms of life.
By being present and grounded, we can more readily face the cloudy days of our life and when the big ones hit, we can bend instead of breaking or uprooting into the eye of the tornado.
I hope this meditation helps you to learn the lesson of strength and resilience that the standing tree meditation can teach us. I welcome your comments and hope you will share your experience with this meditation with us. And as always, if this post speaks to you then please, share it with your friends and family, and like/follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and our Facebook Community Page.