Resilience from the Heart

"Both science and indigenous wisdom remind us that we’re part of all that we see. This means that we’re a part of the solutions as well. The key is that we must first shift our perspective so we can recognize our connection.”

- Resilience from the Heart, page 158

There’s a question we ask ourselves each and every day. Mostly it lingers unconsciously in the back of our mind as a nagging sense of something unfinished or incomplete in our life: how do I make life better for myself and my family? The answer to this question is precisely what the book, Resilience from the Heart: The Power to Thrive in Life’s Extremes by Gregg Braden is all about. It shows us through inspiring stories and evidence-based examples why resilience is so necessary. Within the pages of this book, you’ll find a comprehensive guide and resources to help you embrace the biggest challenges in life in a healthy way. The book provides simple methods and applications for a resilient life, career, and business.

The Big Idea

The Big Idea: The biggest takeaway from the book

We Have the Solutions

"Just as the technology was already available in the 1960s for space travel, today we already have the knowledge and the means to alleviate the human suffering that has become the hallmark of our time of extremes. We already have the ability to feed every man, woman, and child living on this planet. We already have affordable, clean, and sustainable forms of energy that can be made available to every household that needs them."
- Resilience from the Heart, page 163

Braden invites us to consider the facts of today and to explore what they mean. If we’re honest with ourselves and acknowledge that the world is changing, then it makes sense that our stories must change as well.

All that stands between us and a better world, is the thinking that makes room in our lives for what is in fact already is available to us. We must ask ourselves: are we willing to embrace the thinking that makes such possibilities a priority? To transform our time of extremes, we must have the courage to heal the crisis of thinking. From the facts available to us today it’s obvious that elements for big solutions already exist. What is lacking is the shift in thinking that makes such goals a priority.

The key to change is to make the object of our vision a priority in our lives. Each of us, by engaging in a few simple actions to help the environment and disadvantaged people, can make a contribution and potentially influence others we know to do the same. Before the tipping point of no return, nature gives us the opportunity to turn crisis into transformation. This fact is the good news that helps us to recognize opportunities for change when they appear in our lives.

Insight #1

An actionable way to implement the Big Idea into your life

Make an Honest Assessment

"Our reluctance to accept that the changes exist may even compromise our ability to adapt – we can only cope with changes that we acknowledge."
- Resilience from the Heart, page 126

As creatures of habit, we tend to reflect today the way we lived life at a particular time in our past. So many of the old ways of thinking are no longer enough to meet the needs of our transforming world. We tend to put our lives on hold until that familiar world returns. While we’re waiting for the normal to return, we remain unconscious of the way life is now. Our reluctance to accept that the changes exist may even compromise our ability to adapt – we can only cope with changes that we acknowledge.

How can we thrive in a new world if we put our attention on waiting for the old world to return? There never was a better time than now, to be honest with ourselves about what we’re up against. Do we embrace the change or do we hold on to our old habits and patterns of thinking which might not be sustainable anymore?

We have two possible ways to deal with the reality of a shifting world. We can choose either to (1) discount the facts that tell us the world has changed, and that we need to think and live differently, leaving ourselves and our organizations vulnerable to the new conditions or (2) be honest with ourselves about the volatility that comes from the convergences of extremes, and to learn to adapt our thinking and ways of life to minimize the negative impacts of the change.

Insight #2

An actionable way to implement the Big Idea into your life

Accessing Heart Intelligence

"Growing evidence suggests that the heart and the brain work together to share the role of the body's master organs – two separate organs connected through a common network of information...Creating a heart-brain coherence empowers us to experience deep states of intuition and to do so on demand."
- Resilience from the Heart, pages 11 and 25

What’s important here is to listen to your body and to learn how it communicates with you. This ability to perceive and create harmony in the body is a preparation that allows us to be at our best for whatever we choose to pursue. The key to our transformation is simply this: the better we know ourselves, the better equipped we are to make our choices wisely.

Hereby it’s of critical importance to recognize the distinction between heart-based intuition and what we know as our experience of instinct. Instinct is nature’s way of informing us in the present, based upon experiences in the past. Without a doubt, our instincts can powerfully serve us in certain situations. Heart intelligence, on the other hand, is instant and fast, based on the present time of the moment. The heart knows with unwavering certainty. Our task and practice is to merge and reconcile the two experiences into coherence.

The steps to coherence are as simple as focus, feel, and breathe. The heart and brain are always in some state of coherence but due to the chaos of daily life and the presence of negative emotions, our coherence levels may be low. More coherence leads to greater resilience.

Resilience is the possibility to create turning points that minimize the impact of abrupt change and shorten the time it takes to recover when hardship occurs. We create wiser and better solutions.

Resilience is found on two levels: personal resilience and community resilience. When we try to describe precisely what a community looks like, we find there are many variations. A community is all about us, it’s about everyday life and the way we live it and that includes our organizations and businesses too. Regardless of its shape or reason of forming, two keys must be present for any community to be successful: a common vision and a common bond.

The resilience that we develop as individuals becomes even more effective, powerful, and potent when it can be applied by our families, friends and co-workers. It’s no secret that we’re already a global community: the challenges experienced in one part of the world are rarely limited to that part of the world. We share everything, including the hardships and effects of an unsustainable economy or extreme weather conditions.

You might ask yourself what the answers might be to our life’s extraordinary challenges. Are you willing to accept an honest answer based on the reality of our world today, or are you hoping to confirm an opinion that you have already formed for yourself?

Whether we’re talking about the future of next week or that of the next generation, the key is that whatever becomes of our world and lives, the transformation begins with us, the individual.

How can we deal with the issues unless we’re willing to acknowledge the situation? Our willingness to think differently will be the key to the success of our journey. We must go from simply surviving change to thriving through change. Once we’re in this space of balance and harmony within ourselves in our hearts and minds, we can create harmony with the world beyond it.

How are you cultivating more resilience in your life?

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Dennis Swennen

ABOUT Dennis Swennen

I consider myself an idea machine and seeker for knowledge, inspired by life's great possibilities and choices. I am an incrementalist, shifting between phases of dreaming and doing...
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