A recent article in the NY Times explored the idea that we build resilience as we age. Some call this wisdom, a “knowing” that comes from experience. It’s also a mindset. When I worked as a Registered Nurse, I had the unique experience of witnessing and hearing the stories of so many during the ultimate challenge that comes at the end of their lives and how they navigated through crisis. What I learned is that life throws things at us that can shake us to our core and that most of us have experienced trauma. These traumas tend to hang out in our bodies afterwards and manifest in many forms. We relive events from the past, can be inundated in the present, or project tragedy in the future. Crisis permeates and alters our lives. Sometimes a crisis is a catalyst for much-needed change. “Crisis competence” is the idea that surviving a crisis builds resilience. Every time we survive, come out on the other side and then reflect backward, we gain insight and wisdom. The status quo is comfortable. Even if it’s not ideal, we know what to expect and there’s a tendency to stick with it, despite the need for improvement. A crisis shakes out of the status quo and forces us to change. It is ungrounding, intentionally, and can make us question everything. In that time of questioning, I’ve experienced an expanded sense of awareness, an appreciation for the kick in the butt, and even a sense of accomplishment for being able to prove that I can make it through another one. What’s interesting is that I experience less fear when I have to face the next crisis. This is crisis competence. The inspiring part is that when all resistance has lifted, I often discover that the place I’ve landed in is usually better than where I started. I’m learning to trust the process. Here’s to weathering 2020.
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