Wednesday, January 8, 2014

This is the Year of Resilience ...

Hi everyone - Happy 2014!

So I've designated 2014 to be the Year of Resilience here at Caregiver Wellness. A year of focusing on the things that give us life as we support the lives of others. A year of orienting our thinking toward recovery from difficult experiences and becoming strong and well at the broken places. A year of gaining information and tools that will enhance our ability to bounce back and thrive.

The notion of resilience has always been a foundation for my work at Caregiver Wellness but this year I want to bring it to the forefront in a way that is intentional and exciting. We will look broadly and deeply at what resilience is, where it comes from and how we go about enhancing it.

I've been thinking a lot about resilience this week, my thoughts stimulated by two significant experiences. The first was choosing my word for 2014  (or allowing it to choose me) and the second, the experience of a wonderful new play, Rebel Women, running at the Jericho Arts Centre in Vancouver until January 12th.

As I said in my last post, I wasn't quite sure what my guiding word for the New Year would be. Initially, I thought that it might be embrace and I sat with that possibility for a week or so. But then I heard a word used in an unusual way during Women's Christmas and I knew, immediately, that that would be my word for 2014. The word I heard was supple

Supple is defined as, "readily bent without damage, lithe, moving and bending with agility, limber, yielding or changing readily, adaptable, mentally flexible, responding readily, and capable of showing easy graceful movement". There are few words more closely related to, and descriptive of, the notion of resilience.

The second experience that led me to think about resilience was Vital Spark Theatre's play Rebel Women. This amazingly enlightening and piercing play brings to life the struggles of the British suffragettes (and the Canadian women who supported them) and their resilience in the face of mocking, humiliation, physical violence, arrests and the brutality of force feedings to end their hunger strikes while in prison. Writer and director, Joan Bryans, (who also took our tickets at the door) became obsessed with the story of these brave women during the Spring of 2013. Using meticulous research, she developed a play based on the verbatim accounts of the people involved and the suffrage songs of the day. The result is a riveting production of a quality much higher than I would have expected from a small community theatre.

I came away knowing the suffragettes, whose names I'd only barely recognized, as true heros. I will never again grumble at having to go and vote. That privilege was too hard won by women with more courage and resilience than I would ever hope to have. I hope that those of you living in Greater Vancouver will take the time to see this rich production and to reflect upon the strength of these odd, sad, inspiring, quirky and noble women who suffered so much in order to give us the freedom to vote. May they be our inspiration as we begin our own Year of Resilience.

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