I have a love/ hate relationship with that word.
I wish I wasn’t so resilient sometimes, as I feel it would be easier to crumble and wither away in my grief and tears, but I’m also glad I am. Being resilient means I’m still here. I didn’t join John. I could have. Easily.
Being resilient means that I get to see sunsets and sunrises, my flowers bloom, my family smile, my friends laugh, and my cats be super cute. Being resilient means I have to deal with the pain of losing John every day. Being resilient sometimes makes me think I’m seen as strong, therefore I’m “better” and I’m “over it”. That would be incorrect.
I went to a wellness yoga retreat with my MODO studio. For a week in May, we were blessed practicing yoga with an ocean and jungle view while parrots flew by and monkeys howled. We were asked to present a word to the group during our friendship circle meetings.
A word that either meant something to us, represented something in our lives, or a word that helped us.
Some of the words fellow yogis chose:
I chose resilience.
We had a friendship circle at the beginning of the retreat. We spoke about our word.
I couldn’t stop crying. I’m angry at resilience, while also being grateful. I’m angry that I was there without John. (I’m not sure he’d have enjoyed being at the retreat, but without him in general.)
I signed up for a trauma treatment session where I spoke to a different kind of therapist who worked with modalities, emotional release and it’s effect on the physical body. Very different approach to the regular therapy I’ve had. I cried.
We closed for the week with a friendship circle as well. I cried again.
I’m really not sure I’ll ever stop crying, here and there during my life about losing John. The difference I’ve learned since he left is that it’s ok to cry. Anywhere. It just is.
During this retreat, my eco cabin was located 162 jungle stone stairs and several steps away from the main studio and lodge. I went up and down these stairs I’d guess about 8 to 10 times a day, as well as the walks on a steep incline down to the beach daily.
By midweek, I had aggravated my knees and developed bursitis. The irony of being at a wellness retreat and developing bursitis. I know.
So on the last few days I actually couldn’t kneel. So no child’s pose, no hero, no camel, no table top. It was quite difficult to do most postures.
Acupuncture released some discomfort, but the pain associated with touching my knees did not subside. Yep. If I touched them, it really hurt.
The week after the retreat, I was still on time off, and was putzing about the house and forgot about the bursitis and knelt down. Holy shit. Agony.
The frustrating part about trying to heal bursitis is the rest part.
My two main therapies are a no no.
I must say, I kinda panicked and thought “what if I never heal?”
I never realized how good running and yoga are for the brain. For Anxiety. For stress relief.
I could explain it… well, not really. But it is all explained in “running is my therapy” by Scott Douglas.
I was only in the first chapter of the book and I’m nodding to myself in agreement. “Oh yes..uh huh. No doubt. Absolutely “
All of the terrible things that latched on to my grief have been somewhat tamed with physical activity, but in particular, running.
So here I was unable to run and I’m feeling the panic settle in. I felt like any progress I had made in settling my mind was being unraveled and I couldn’t stop it. I didn’t realize how much I latched onto running in my grief. I only started 2 weeks after John died, but it had become part of the new me. The me that was learning how to be herself everyday.
I did find other ways to sweat a bit. I started lifting weights, doing push ups, but nothing really compared to running. It’s not the same brain calming reward one gets from running.
Thankfully, I started treadmill walking, then light running a few weeks ago. Boy has my cardio suffered. Thankfully I can put pressure on my knees again, and yoga has now returned on a regular basis. I ice my knees everyday, now take a daily turmeric supplement (I’ve read studies that debunk glucosamine, but give credit to turmeric). I finished a gentle 5 km road run yesterday and so grateful I did. I am relieved beyond the moon that I have regained 90% of my knee function. If only everything could be fixed with rest and some ice packs, and a bit of that damned resilience.
I will not take for granted the simple things I have. Like the ability to run. I will endeavour never to take for granted the wonder in my life. I was unaware how lucky I was having John in my life.
When he died, I lost my best friend. My best everything.
I lost myself.
But I am coming back, one step at a time, one kilometre at a time. I am resilient, after all.