The Dynamic Interplay of Resilience and Aliveness

A search for the word “resilience” on our website offers an interesting insight: Many of the results are from the monthly Grateful Changemakers series, which uplifts projects and programs that advance gratefulness. The fact that so many of these Changemakers use the word “resilience” to describe the impact of their work speaks to the transformative way in which resilience flows into and out of gratefulness.

The foundations of grateful living – presence, perspective, and possibility – manifest in our capacity to embrace the opportunity of every moment. Since every moment is change, and our ability to respond to change defines resilience, gratefulness and resilience are necessarily interwoven. In adapting to and growing from shifts in life, we lean into opportunity. Even amidst suffering, we remember the possibility of joy, love, and beauty – that we might yet experience laughter, the embrace of a loved one, the vibrancy of the sky, poetry – and in doing so we nurture the hope, courage, and gratitude that keep us from chronic states of stagnation and numbness. While gratefulness helps us cultivate resilience, drawing on our resilience expands our embrace of life, which in turn makes us more grateful. We affirm what it means to thrive, not merely survive. In moving through difficulty, we surrender to the natural, ever-changing flow of life – and so we move toward life. 

As evidenced by the universe’s propensity for creation, life is inherently resilient. It cannot help but tend toward more of itself. We see this truth in the biological impulse to procreate (even in the most unlikely circumstances), the arc of evolution, and the seemingly inexplicable expressions of aliveness that we might call art – all in the face of undeniable struggles both natural and human. 

Natural ecosystems flourish when each individual component moves toward life as part and in service of the whole. So too can human communities.

As individuals, we can tap into this overarching aliveness, which reminds us that life doesn’t happen in isolation. Consistent with the interconnectedness of all that is, the power of resilience expands when embodied by both individuals and the communities of which they are part. The “resiliency movement” holds the vision of sustainable societies that can thrive in the face of our unknown future and ever-evolving challenges like climate change. Natural ecosystems flourish when each individual component moves toward life as part and in service of the whole. So too can human communities.

If we honor our collective movement toward life as a search for resonance with and among others, a profound sense of belonging emerges. In the words of our website content coordinator Saoirse McClory, we feel “less alone when we draw upon resilience, recognizing the trauma and difficulty faced by every person, every form of life. We are alive today because of the resilience of every one of our ancestors. Everything that has contributed to our resilience is here with us right now.” When we open our hearts to gratitude, lean into the poetry of life, and gather strength from the collective wisdom and fortitude of past and present, we discover we are unbreakable.

Rose Zonetti serves as Community Programs Coordinator at A Network for Grateful Living.

To read more about Rose visit this page.