A year ago I wrote a blog post called, ‘The Crime of the Boston marathon’. The focus was not on those maimed or killed, but on the two bombers and the lack of belonging and the disengagement many feel in mainstream society. It was a story where I wasn’t sanctioning what the bombers allegedly did, but just encouraging discussion on the bigger picture of humanity and empathy.
But today’s piece of writing was sparked by the above photo. The photo of Celeste Corcoran who lost her lower legs in last year’s Boston Marathon bombing. She and daughter Sydney, right, were back at the race with Celeste’s sister Carmen Acabbo. This photo too is about humanity, but it is also about inner strength , courage and the resilience within Celeste, her family and all of the competitors who came back to the Boston Marathon this year, particular those who ran the year before and of course those who like Celeste had been maimed. This image represents what ‘resilience’ means to many. Imagine the fear as these runners crossed the start line, let alone as they neared the finish line. But they did it! How is it that some people fall apart from the smallest incident, and others rise above great hardships or incidents becoming even stronger?
A definition of resilience is overcoming adversity and the capacity to adapt successfully in the face of threats or disaster. Resilience isn’t something you learn as such, but it is about developing self-awareness as you grow and develop. It’s having the courage to stand up after being knocked down. The road to resilience lies in working through the emotions and effects of stress and painful events. Those who lack this resilience may become overwhelmed by such experiences that set them back and dwell on the setback rather than pushing forward. To have the success we want and crave we need to be able to able to bounce back from rejection and setbacks. This is resilience.
I listened to a great story on resilience today. Not living in the US, I don’t know Congresswoman Gabby Giffords politics, nor do I care. This story was about the journey Gabby and her husband, the astronaut Mark Kelly have travelled on since Gabby was shot in the head while meeting constituents in her home town of Tucson, Arizona. This story represents strength, deep love, compassion and of course being resilient. At the end of the TedTalk Gabby shared her message:
“I’m still fighting to make the world a better place, and you can too. Get involved with your community. Be a leader. Set an example. Be passionate. Be courageous. Be your best”.
What can you do today to be your ‘best’? And if you fail or someone doesn’t like what you are doing, in the words of Anne Lamott: Let me ask you this: in the big juicy Zorba scheme of things, who fucking cares?
“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
― Nelson Mandela