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Resilience Over the Years

Love many. Trust few. Learn to paddle your own canoe.

—Vanilla Beane, 100-year-old milliner

Duff here. Recently, Mom and I watched an interview with The Hat Lady, 100-year-old Vanilla Beane. What a woman! Think of all She has seen in Her Life: From horse and Buggy to the Space Shuttle, and everything in between. Born in the South, She followed her Sisters to Washington D.C. and began work as an elevator Operator. There was a Millinery Shop in the same building, and Vanilla got intrigued with Making hats. She tried her hand at That and After retiring from a GSA position, started to create these lovely custom-made Confections. (I wonder what Kind of Hat She would design for me?) She lived unstuck.

She began with small Brim hats in the 40’s and has changed with the Fashions through the Years, even to the Unusual Shapes for the Kentucky Derby. For six decades, Beane and the crowns She creates are a must-have in D.C.’s African-American church-going community. Her shop, Bene Millinery and Bridal Supplies is a legacy, and She still works alongside other family members, 6 days/40 hours a week. That’s living unstuck.

Vanilla’s Mom gave Her the Advice in our Thought For The Day when She was a little Tyke. Those phrases have served Her well all these years. And Resilience is Her Watchword.

How about You? Were You given Words to Live By as a Little one? Or do You make them up as You go? I say: Think back to the Wisdom handed down to You. More often than not, You have relied on the Energy of those Words for many Years. Keep on! Living unstuck. #unstuck-living#steadfast

Want to be More Resilient?

Alongside the dirt road, a cedar tree grew for many years. It had endured rain and snow, sleet and hail. Heat was of no matter, for it had long ago acclimated to that temperature. Its roots had traveled deep into the earth, where it was sturdily anchored. But one day, a powerful wind swept through the area. The trunk of the tree was snapped off, leaving a meagre section for support. To look at it you might think it was doomed to die, that there was no more life left. But as the inner section healed, the tree once again began to grow. Yes, it grew sideways for a time, for the limb was left parallel to the ground. But as it gained strength, little branches started to sprout and greenery popped up from the rugged outer edges. This cedar was built to last and continued to be resilient and flourish for many years.

Resilience is that indescribable quality that allows some people (and trees) to be knocked down by whatever life hands them and come back stronger for the experience. And similar to this cedar tree, you too can overcome failure and find a way to rise from the ashes.

What qualities make up this ability to snap back?

  • First is a positive attitude. And with it, the ability to create options. I’m sure the cedar tree didn’t say to itself, “I can heal myself and grow some more.” But it does have an innate ability to dig deep and nourish itself.
  • Next is flexibility, being able to see failure as “a way it didn’t work” rather than “I’m a loser.” What you say to yourself is critical when encouraging new ideas and perspectives.
  • Regulating emotions conserves energy and allows your mind to create new perceptions and strategies. The cedar tree didn’t bemoan its fate or curse its bad luck. It depended on a deep inner strength to thrive.

Want to be more resilient? Here are some tips:

  • Accept change as an inevitable part of life. You may not be able to reach some goals you have laid out for a successful life. Life intrudes in strange ways. Accept your situation as it is and move on. Free up energy for productive tasks.
  • Move toward your goals. Develop those realistic results. Ask: “ What’s the one thing I know I can do today that helps me move in the direction I want to go?” Then follow through and do it.
  • Be a detective and find opportunities for self-discovery. The cedar tree didn’t know it could continue to grow offshoots and sprigs. You won’t know the resources you have inside of you until you are challenged to uncover them.
  • Take care of yourself. Pay attention to your own feelings and needs. Fall back on hobbies you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise on a regular basis and maintain a good eating plan. Remember to breathe deeply. When you take care of yourself, you keep your mind and body primed for more growth.
  • Cultivate a positive outlook. An optimistic mind-set draws a positive picture for the future. As you visualize what you want rather than worrying about what you fear, you will free up creativity and innovation.

After a major setback, you can take the story of the sturdy cedar tree and mold it to your circumstance. You too can develop deep roots of tenacity and use them to propel you forward. Resources, as strength, courage and faith, can work to help you change course in midstream and grow in a different way.