Finding energy in adversity that we face and using a calm presence to maintain patience was our focus for the month of April. It’s a great topic as we watch spring flowers dance with energy. Daffodils, Hyacinths, Lenten Rose and Tulips seem to maintain their beauty, despite the adversity of the cold night air.
As of late, here in Pittsburgh, there has been a stretch of cold, snowy air and despite the several days of misfortune, the flowers are still dancing with flashes of beauty, color, and yes, energy.
Leader and businessman Garth Jestley once said, “Our attitude is critical to overcoming adversity.” I happen to agree with him. It didn’t take long in my first five years of adulthood to understand how using a calm presence can help in moments of adversity. Two life-changing events did just that.
Two Life Events That Required Energy in Adversity
The first life-changing event was a motorcycle accident at age 19, after just four short months of being married. The accident left me in the hospital for 17 days over Christmas. Being unconscious for 24 hours, and spending four days in intensive care and then not knowing if I would walk again, was, to say the least, scary.
The second life-changing event was the death of my mom. She took her life at age 52; I was 22 years young. The first five years of my adult life was about energy in adversity. Survival truly became a matter of attitude.
Resilience is key when faced with misfortune and positive energy truly does come from the attitude of how we choose to move forward. It shapes us emotionally, intellectually, physically and spiritually. I grew up hearing, “That which doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger.” While the accident and the death of my mom did not kill me, it did make me stronger. My focus was in the determination to walk again and adapting to the changing landscape of no longer having my mom.
The direction of my energy turned into patience, a calm demeanor within and a can-do attitude.
Nature Offers Powerful Lessons
The changing landscape of nature is profound, with lessons of mere survival. It becomes the teacher to help guide us in the decisions and choices we make. During those first five years of my adult life, I was probably living in the place I needed to be, at the tail end of the Rocky Mountains. I used nature as a place to heal, hiking in the mountains, once I WAS able to walk again, and embracing the quiet within the trees became a soulful place.
As I watch the earth warm up and the plants and flowers spring from hibernation this spring season, I can’t help but think about how patient and calm the plants were while waiting for the season to change. I think about caregivers and their warrior archetype within nature, with their attitude of strength, endurance and persistence. Regardless of the adversity they face with the fluctuating temperatures of caregiving demands and tasks, they continue with assertiveness during every season and continue to do what must be done.
In caregiving, daily tasks and demands sometimes seem endless. Keeping a calmness about our day is not always easy. At Hope Grows, we work with our caregivers to help them keep a positive and mindful approach and learn the importance of breathing one long breath at a time. Facing difficult times and setbacks is a part of helping someone at the most vulnerable time in their life; patience is the result when good energy springs forth from the challenge.
Adapting to the changing landscape of caregiving can be similar to the changing landscape of nature. Choosing to stay calm becomes the choice and attitude, which in the long run reaps patience as the reward. So, end the month of April and feel good about how often you were able to be patient. If you do not feel good about it, don’t give up, keep breathing and regardless, treat yourself to sitting with your feet up, drink some chamomile tea and marvel at the patience you have achieved.