Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain. These past few months have been a storm, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to pass quickly. I think it’s time that we accept our circumstances, make critical life adjustments and start “dancing!”
Humans characteristically prefer routine and stability, and very few have a passion for change and living on the extreme edge of life. There is definitely comfort in sameness, and no sane person enjoys trials and tribulations. And yet, wired into the framework of every individual is the strength and ability to be resilient – crafting a positive experience in the midst of the worst of times.
Resiliency goes beyond Hope, it is transformative. Resiliency is not only hoping things will be different or better, it is the application of imagination and creativity to make things different or better. Resiliency is the drive to survive infused with a passion for living and a pronounced unwillingness to accept fear and failure. Resiliency asks, “How do I transcend these circumstances to make life more fulfilling and enjoyable?”
Let me share a couple of recent examples that really touched my life. My wife and I live in a neighborhood with amazing neighbors who really get along and enjoy one another. When social distancing and shelter at home orders were issued, we, like others, felt confined; like we were being sent to our “rooms”. To break up the monotony and discomfort of the situation, one of our creative neighbors suggested a “dance in your driveway” event – like dancing in the rain! So, at 7 PM every Saturday night neighbors bring their music, food and beverages out onto their driveways and party from afar. Now, this is social distancing at its best.
Another great example is the lady in Templeton who started the virtual Easter egg hunt by suggesting everybody put a giant decorated egg in their yard so that folks could drive around with their kids and “discover” them. Every home in our neighborhood had one or more beautifully crafted eggs on display. This idea went viral – becoming a national phenomenon. This was resiliency in action supplanting the long-standing tradition with a new creative one!
The trick to “dancing in the rain” is learning to make the most of every situation. Life is only enjoyable if you make it so! I think we have all known people who are consistently miserable in spite of living in very comfortable circumstances. It’s a frame of mind.
I have always been motivated by stories written by people mired in the worst of life’s circumstances. The Great Depression, POWs, death camp survivors and the like, have all produced amazing tales of “dancing in the rain”, of resiliency, and of overcoming and emerging with strength and victory. We may have tough times ahead, but we have multitudes of forerunners who have conquered adversity to serve as our models, as our guides.
It goes without saying, the world as we have experienced it in recent times has been changed, forever! Our challenge now is to create something new; new attitudes, new thinking, new normals, new behaviors, new activities and new lifestyles. It is not a time to lament, capitulate to fear, to retreat or to lose heart – it’s time to dance in the rain!
I have a few suggestions to help us as we venture into the unknown and uncertainty that lies ahead.
First, Remain Calm! Panic never helps. We need to stay in the moment and take charge of our emotions.
Second, Accept What Is! As difficult as it is to embrace change, we need to for our own mental health and wellbeing. We cannot make a pandemic or recession go away, but we can accept the circumstance we find ourselves in, and begin to engineer strategies to not only survive, but to thrive!
Third, Stay Positive! Don’t become a victim, be a leader. Present yourself to others as an overcomer, as a model of resiliency and creativity.
Fourth, Stay Engaged! It is so easy in a time of crisis or tribulation to retreat, to give up, or to get depressed. It is important to remember, solutions are only created through conscientious engagement and activity. As we all face uncertainty, have the mental frame of mind that we are going to work together to maintain a healthy, enjoyable quality of life.
Fifth, Have Fortitude! I anticipate that there will be some dark days and uncomfortable situations in our future. Nonetheless, we must persevere in our determination to make things better. Whether we feel like it or not, we need to force ourselves to “join the dance!”
Sixth, Be Encouraging! It is incredibly important that we help others to have a clear, hopeful vision of the future. There will always be great waves of negativity and discouragement. I believe it is incumbent on each of us to serve as “shock absorbers,” absorbing that negativity and reframing it with encouragement. Others will only have Hope if we demonstrate Hope.
Seventh, Be Healthy! By “health” I mean physical, mental, spiritual and social health. We must be disciplined, and encourage others to take good care of themselves, in every respect. Don’t let the “storm” become an excuse to disintegrate into an unhealthy status. Now, more than ever, we need to keep ourselves on top of our game, prepared and ready to take on any challenge!
As new, unforeseen storm clouds emerge on our horizon, be ready to make the most of it and learn to “dance in the rain!”