FEP29 Cultivating Resilience

Show Notes:

Resilience is a quality we are all being challenged to cultivate in this time. In our discussion, we talk about flower essences we rely on for ourselves and our clients, to build our inner resources and find connection and meaning in our lives.

Flower Essences discussed during the show:


Show Transcript

Rochana Felde: [00:00:40] Hello, friends. This is Rochana Felde and Kathleen Aspenns with The Flower Essence podcast. And today, we want to dive into what the meaning of resilience is and how we can support that with flower essences. This time in history, I know every podcast now starts out with those words, but we’ve been under some sort of lockdown since March of this year. We’re recording mid-October. So it’s been seven months of some sort of Coronavirus lockdown and not really any end in sight at this point and in the Western states of the US and probably other places. But we’re in California, and we’ve been dealing with wildfires since the beginning of August. We’ve had several major fires near both of our homes and continuing to have smoke blow over from the August complex fire, which is north of us, not anywhere threatening us, but it’s now called a gigafire. It’s the first one in history over a million acres. And we’re not even halfway through what we consider fire season in the state. We’re in the middle today of a red flag warning, which means it’s fire weather where something can easily spark. And we have trauma that’s coming up from a couple of years of some very serious close calls of wildfires. And so I’ve been really thinking deeply about this concept of resilience. And what does that really mean, and how do we cultivate it? Because at this point, we don’t have any other options. We’re going to have to be resilient in order to survive. So just some of the concepts around resilience and it’s sort of a buzzword. You hear it a lot. From a psychological standpoint, it’s really an ability to accept harsh reality by having an objective view of the situation without becoming overly subjective in emotional reaction or denial, and then to somehow find some meaning in what’s going on and then being able to just continually improvise, think on the feet, reach out to resources and use resources and seeing those possibilities. So how are you doing with this concept, Kathleen, of resilience, and how are you feeling about being resilient during these times?

Kathleen Aspenns: [00:03:49] I think like you, this is a day-to-day process. And some days I feel like, “Oh, I can do this,” and then other days, maybe not so much. So it’s really a dance that we’re doing. I don’t think that anybody who is coping with it by having some realization that this is really a big deal and not trying to bypass. If you are willing to embrace, well, embrace the suck because there is a lot. It’s not great. But just being able to sort of stay with it and recognize that this is hard and recognize that everybody around you is having a hard time. And I like that quality of just sort of recognizing that it’s difficult and connecting to others in the best ways that you can, I think that that’s been really a good mental health practice for me, as well as doing my absolute best to maintain the self-care practices that I do. What exercise I can do as long as the air is good enough for me to do it and just trying to focus on the things that I can control or manage. And so I think resilience is such an interesting idea. And I think there’s also an element to it that speaks to sort of the baseline level of trauma an individual has experienced. So somebody who hasn’t– and I don’t know. What do you think, Rochana? I think it seems like people who’ve experienced a lot of trauma have either figured out how to deal with it, how to deal with these sorts of things, or they wouldn’t have gotten this far. I don’t know. It’s kind of interesting how different people manage it differently.

Rochana Felde: [00:05:40] It is interesting. I mean, that’s what we see with our childhood adverse events. The ace score that you can take your online and take the test and see how many childhood adverse events that have happened in your life. And some people are very well balanced even having those and some people are not. And then, the same with different kinds of traumas. So, yeah, I mean, I definitely don’t have the answers to that. But it is fascinating and something I definitely look at and like to explore what is that quality that some individuals seem to innately have and others have to work at a lot harder? And it’s not the same for everything. Like you could be resilient in one area of life, but maybe not in another. And I find with being able to deal with these, I think the fire stuff is the hardest for me. It’s so stressful. There’s so much anxiety being in a high fire– living in a forest with high fire danger during climate crisis, during right now. I feel like I’ve gotten a lot better at a lot of things. Like now that I’ve had to evacuate a few times, I know what to bring with me. I have go-bags ready. I feel like in the moment of a crisis, I’m pretty good normally with looking outside the box for solutions and just making things work. But then it’s that in-between times, the waiting times, the aftermath times that are really challenging for me. And I do wonder, “Okay, is it going to get– is it going to get easier? Am I going to get a little more desensitized?” And maybe that’s starting to happen. We are in this red flag warning again, and I’m not as– I don’t know, I don’t even want to say anything worrying of jinxing it. So anyway, I’ll stop there.But I do– and then it’s day by day. And then maybe in a night or two, I won’t be able to sleep at all that night because of the stress. So it cycles. And I think what you’re saying about the self-care– and for me, really, it’s like not even just one day at a time. It’s just one thing at a time, one step at a time, “Okay, what do I need to do next? Okay, let’s do it. And then what do I need–?”  It’s just like that. Sometimes, that’s just the only way to get through the day.

Kathleen Aspenns: [00:08:53] Yeah, and what you’re saying, that’s something that I keep reminding myself and I keep having these conversations with my clients to recognize and appreciate what we’re going through. It’s not normal times. Your capacity is not your normal capacity. In the before times, we had maybe so many hours of energy depending on our constitution and what was going on in our health and what have you. And I’m really finding that my capacity has reduced pretty significantly of the amount of focus or the amount of energy or the amount of whatever I have to spend each day. And just to recognize that that’s just what’s happening and to not beat myself up about it. And like I was saying that with client conversations, just because there’s this certain, wonderful illusion in the Western world that we’re as if we’re machines. We should just be able to produce the same amount every day of the week, every week of the year. And it does not respect that we are going through a crisis time and that we’re going through a lot of grief for what was happening before, what our lives were like, and the loss of all of our plans and the things that we were excited about doing. And a lot of those things are just gone, as well as those who have actually lost people. So just recognizing that I think is helpful because then you’re not beating yourself up, like, “Why am I not doing so much better? Why am I not having my best life right now? It’s like, well– 

Rochana Felde: [00:10:39] Nobody is.

Kathleen Aspenns: [00:10:40] I don’t know that anybody is. So I think that’s part of resilience, too, is just recognizing like, “Yeah, it’s not great right now. It’s tough.” Everyone’s having a tough time.

Rochana Felde: [00:10:51] Yeah. And resilience doesn’t mean you don’t feel the intensity of the event or the problem. It’s just about how you deal with it. And I like, well, the concept of having that objective view. I think that Coast Redwood is a really lovely essence for that. We’ve talked about it a few times. That’s one of our favorites. It’s the tallest tree in the world. It can grow to be like seven stories taller than the Statue of Liberty. And it can also live to be thousands of years old in the right conditions. And so I’ve always seen it as a wonderful message for just seeing the big picture. I imagine myself up at the top of that Redwood tree and being able to just see for miles and miles all around, the big picture, the forest for the trees, so to speak. And just taking that longer view of what’s happening and our place in it. And then, there’s so many aspects of that Redwood tree that speak to resilience; the root system is shallow, but it laterally connects to all of the other root systems from the redwoods around it. So it has a network of support and community that we want to always remember to lean on our community for support and to reach out, that we’re a part of this together.And then I’ve really been meditating on the bark lately. It’s just so fascinating. Now, people from around the world who do not live on the West Coast or have not visited the West Coast of the United States may have never met a Redwood, and it’s just a very unique, special, I think, magical tree. The bark can be– it can get to be like 12 inches thick, and it is fire-resistant, so unless the wildfire is one of the super, mega fires. If it’s just a regular wildfire like California has evolved to– the ecosystem has evolved to be a fire adaptive ecosystem, the Redwood is resistant to the fire, and the fire can just go through a Redwood forest and actually not hurt the trees. And part of that is the thickness of the bark. And the other part is the tannins of the bark. So it makes it also resistant to disease. It doesn’t get the diseases that a lot of other trees get. And so I feel like there’s this protectiveness about it. It’s just got this energy of protection. And when you hear, though, the story of the bark and how thick and protective it is, you might imagine something that’s like armor-like, but it’s not. It’s soft, and it’s squishy. You can push against it, and it’s got some bounce. It kind of pushes back a little like, slightly like memory foam when I think about it, which is, it’s just not what you would imagine for something that’s fire-resistant and protective. And so that quality of it having that protectiveness yet softness, that bouncing back, I think about, well, that’s resilience. It’s that bouncing back. So I, more than ever now, feel that Coast Redwood is just a really appropriate flower essence.

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Kathleen Aspenns: [00:45:13] This podcast is meant for educational and entertainment purposes only. We are not physicians and do not diagnose, prescribe, or treat medical conditions. Please consult with your own physician or health care practitioner regarding the suggestions and recommendations made by the hosts and guests of The Flower Essence podcast. 

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