As I write this I am looking out my window at an impressive maple tree in my yard, with an expansive and vibrant canopy bigger and brighter than it was last summer. It is hard to imagine that just months ago it was a skeleton, thin and bare but holding all this potential just under the surface. The cycles and seasons of life teach me what it is to be resilient, to allow my own growth and expansion to ebb and flow, as I stay true to the course of my own path. We can’t always be in the expansion cycle, there are times we need to let go and pull back into our own heartwood for a while, to allow the next bigger cycle of growth to build up inside of us.
Resilience is to rise again, to bounce back, to be flexible in mind, body, and being. This is of course a practice in itself, and in some ways a choice or at least a mindset. To embrace this we acknowledge that we have desires and dreams, but limits and needs too. Growth mindset is such an important part of staying resilient especially when we feel challenged or discouraged. Thinking of our own evolution as a cyclical journey, allows us to see that our own growth and expansion is layering on like rings on a tree trunk. Though we may slip into the season that feels dormant or difficult, we will emerge fortified and further on our path.
One of my favorite sutras is verse 14 from Chapter one. It reminds us that practice becomes firmly grounded when well attended to for a long time, without break, and in all earnestness. Let’s go back to the tree, the magnificent maple, set out on a course to expand and grown towards the light, its commitment to that path over years has brought it into the full expression of itself. That is not to say that each year's growth was easy or the same, but that it stayed the course and rode the waves of growth and release, building and unbuilding time and again. I often think of my mat as a metaphor for what is playing out in my life. The pose, as we know, is not the point; the practice is what reminds us that we can grow, evolve, adapt, and do things that at one point felt impossible. The practice should help us remove the ceiling we put on our own potential, the boxes that could hold us in, and keep us from expressing our full being. Expect that as long as you continue on your course your own canopy will continue to spread with each season.
Being Resilient to me is knowing that the very best version of me is the one in this very moment. It has been formed by every moment and experience leading up to this moment, and is poised to step forward into what chapter is coming next. We can find inner strength, like rings inside the trunk of a tree, our heartwood, that is literally comprised of our past. This inner fortitude is something to remember, appreciate, and lean into when we need it. These rings of growth show both cycles of expansion and also from times of struggle, and can remind us that we have survived hard things before and gone on to thrive again after.
A bird's-eye view is also an important component in staying resilient. When we can zoom out and see the bigger picture, see all the growth we have made, it is easier to stay hopeful and to continue to want to take that next step forward. Often we don’t see the brilliance of the universe when we are too keenly focused on the details, we forget that sometimes something that starts out as painful, transforms over time into something beautiful beyond our wildest dreams.
Recommended Practices & Events
Livestream Discussion w/ Fiji
Fiji is on Instagram Live on Tuesday, July 14th at 9am PDT for a livestream on this month's theme of Resilience.
5-Day Series | Begins July 18th
This 5-class series invites us to step into the next growth cycle in our practice and to expand in all ways. Each class will help you build strength, stability, and stamina in a different way taking your practice up to the next level.
A Livestream Practice with Fiji McAlpine | July 31st
This 90-minute yang to yin practice will be an intermediate level, dynamic flow followed by some restorative postures, and pranayama.
Classes To Promote Resilience
Curated by our own Fiji McAlpine, here are a collection of classes that help you to dig deeper.
Yoga to Build Resilience with Fiji McAlpine
Balance the Currents of Life with Tracey Noseworthy
Revolution: From The Inside Out with Andrea Ting-Luz
Strength to Surrender with Fiji McAlpine
Restorative Yoga for Self-Care with Nyk Danu
Choose Joy with Tracey Noseworthy
Rise Again with Fiji McAlpine
Join the Sangha Session (Community Conversation) in the forum: "What characteristics help us become and stay resilient?"