Build Resilience and Post-Traumatic Growth with Good Things, Gratitude and Joy

Whether you’re planting a garden or rebuilding a life, you’ll be more effective by using the right tool at the right time. Herb garden on a windowsill? You could poke holes in the soil with a pencil. Bulbs for next spring? A small trowel would do the trick. When it’s time to plant a tree, though, a shovel’s a better tool for the job. Since I suggest different tools to clients depending on their specific needs, I couldn’t help but notice the way Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg writes about using different tools to build her own resilience after the sudden death of her husband in Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy (https://optionb NULL.org/), her recent book with Adam Grant. Good Things Shortly after his passing, when she was barely able to accomplish, let alone notice, even small wins like, say, getting out of bed, Sandberg began to. . . .

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Resilience to Try and Fall and Get Back Up Again

I was in my kayak on the bay when the yearning started, the instant a guy glided past me on his standup paddle board. Like a gondolier on a surfboard. I had to learn to SUP. Immediately. In less than 3.2 seconds, my brain was overloaded with reasons why I’d be a miserable failure at it. Too expensive. (Never mind that taking a lesson is cheaper than dinner in a semi-nice restaurant.) Too hard. (Never mind that I kayaked almost daily, launching from the same dock as less fit, first-time SUP’ers, who were always successful.) Too risky. (Never mind that . . . nope, no never mind here. I was convinced that if I fell off, I’d never be able to get back up.) Five Steps to Truth The yearning and frustration around wanting to SUP – and the intensity of my fear, not of drowning, but of falling off the board and. . . .

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Calmer Than the Storm

It wasn’t even a real hurricane. Despite 80 mile per hour winds, it was barely a Category 1. On a five point scale. But when it landed perpendicular to shore, during a higher than usual full moon high tide, with Category 3 pressure, post-tropical cyclone Sandy changed conversations – and lives – forever. I’m blessed to spend more than half the year about ten miles, as the gull flies, from where Sandy made landfall. Two years on, upon meeting a local for the first time, conversations still turn to one question. How did you manage through the storm? I’d paddled past the house in my kayak countless times. Corner lot. Bay front. Reminiscent of the way I remember the island of my childhood. When I met the owner, I couldn’t not ask. He talked of the surreal quality of the sunlight as the storm’s edge filled the southern sky. Minimal damage to the home. . . .

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key stuck in a lock

Four Keys to Getting Unstuck

I was in no mood to stand on my front step in the cold, trying to figure out how to get into my house. I had the key, but the door was stuck. The bottom lock turned, but the door wouldn’t budge as if the deadbolt had been flipped. I doubted that anyone was inside. It’s the only door and the windows looked intact. My spidey sense told me I was safe, so I kept trying to get inside. When the door finally opened, my key was firmly stuck in the lock. Getting Unstuck I called my brother, as one does when inside one’s house with the key stuck in one’s now unlocked front door. At midnight. Following his advice, I heated the key with the blow dryer. Burned my fingers, and the key stayed stuck. Tried cotton swabs with olive oil next. Who keeps useful stuff like WD30 oil. . . .

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begin with thanks gratitude practice

Looking Back & Looking Forward

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.  ~Bill Vaughan   I love that moment when the bells ring, the ball drops and everyone wishes both loved ones and strangers a Happy New Year. Clean slate. Blank page. All those empty slots in the calendar ready for new adventures and accomplishments. Looking Back & Looking Forward Looking forward comes easily to me. Looking back? Tricky. Especially at the end of years that felt so hard, I was more than ready to usher them into oblivion. The year of three deaths in the family. The year my dream job morphed into soul-sucking drudgery from which I saw no escape. The year of so many changes, so quickly, one after the other, I thought I’d never catch my breath, let alone find my way. It felt so. . . .

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