Resilience isn’t being strong, but how you face your weakness. Perhaps it’s years of attempting to be strong that ends up making us weak, in body and mind. The resistance to show vulnerability, outwardly deal with issues, or change circumstances, can lead to a complete system failure. A failure that you can’t put a positive spin on and chalk up as a learning experience, but the type of physiological and mental breakdown that drains your vitality. Leaving you unrecognizable to yourself. So distanced from who you are—or who you want to be—that you retract into your own protective shell for lack of the energy to make a sustained effort to engage with the World.

If coupled with introversion and a general laid-back disposition, like myself, you can find yourself seeking monkish solitude.

So, when your body and mind breakdown, what can you tap into to summon the energy to push forward? Where can you find resilience? I’ve spoken about Nature quite a bit in previous posts, and it flows through most of my poems and photography. Physiological changes occur in me when I immerse myself in the mountains and sea. I can be exhausted when I step onto a trail or wade into the ocean, only to find myself taken by a natural energy that flows from it through me. It’s where I most feel alive—and most myself.

Aside from Nature, what fuels my resilience is an innate hope and an insatiable curiosity. A curiosity that pushes me to explore the mountains and the sea, and pulls me into books; expanding my knowledge of both my inner and outer self. And a hope that silently lives within, that I can’t see but I know exists. The hope that keeps me searching for solutions to my physical and mental issues despite coming up short on a resolution time and again. Hope forms a belief that faith holds firm.

I share this to give others, perhaps you, hope. I write to encourage you to not question your resilience, but remain faithful to your beliefs. Listen to the voice within if it’s telling you something isn’t right. Let hope and curiosity help you find answers to alleviate whatever unnecessary suffering you may be experiencing. Know that it’s acceptable to retreat and reprioritize your life, regardless of what others may think. Sometimes we need to turn our lives upside down and make a big shift to again find our strength and vitality.

Be — made bravely.