It’s Easter Sunday! What I love about the Resurrection story of Jesus dying and rising again is its absurdity. Yes, I use the word absurd! Who comes back to life after dying? Myth, right? And an entire religion is built on this, right?
Slow your horses!
I happen to know two people in my life who have coded on the operating table and came back to life. How absurd is that? Scary, huh?
Just last week, a friend coded 9 times after having a heart attack and she is out of the ICU today. I bow before this mystery called life as I am in awe and I try to understand what it all means.
So yeah, about resurrection: You experience it all the time. You just don’t call it that. When you fall, and you get up, it is a resurrection. When you decide to pivot away from something that no longer serves you, it is a resurrection. When you pick up that instrument that you use to play, but you no longer play, that is a resurrection.
One of the word’s definition is “the revitalization or revival of something.” That “v” in those words are about “vie,” the root word for “life.”
Life, if you think about it, has two states: Surviving or Thriving. When you are in crisis, you are surviving, just trying to stay alive. When all is well, you are thriving. Right?
Not so fast. Let me correct you. It really has more to do with what you are perceiving than what you are actually experiencing.
I recently had a client who was stressed out about work. She had a fabulous paying job, but someone was getting on her nerves and she took it very personally. As she talked, her face turned red. She clenched her fist and finally, the tears came to her eyes and slid down her cheeks. I asked her to tell me how she felt in her body. She described all that I just said and more. I said, “Tell me what’s working in your life right now?” She was reluctant and finally, she told me all the wonderful things going on in her life. Then she got quiet.
Finally, she said, “I have a lot to be grateful for.”
When we delved into why she was so focused on this person, she realized that he represented her belief that she was not entitled to all the wonderfulness she had going on in her life. Therefore, it was easier to focus on this person than relax into what she actually had and be responsible over. It was her perception that was wonky, not her actual circumstances.
As we worked together, she saw where she was scared of being her biggest, baddest self. She did not like the responsibility. We then worked on increasing her capacity in that area and she began to thrive.
How do I know she was thriving?
Easy. Here is the evidence:
- She became more creative.
- There was a lilt to her voice as if laughter was a split second away.
- She was sleeping more at night, and more deeply.
- She was appreciative and grateful.
- Her self-awareness grew and she was able to choose her thoughts towards what she wanted.
- She experienced negative emotions for only a short time and her positive emotions hung around a lot more.
- She got a promotion.
- She was having more and better sex with her hubby.
- And I could go on and on.
- No, it did not mean she did not have any problems. Not at all. It means that she had more resilience to deal with the problems and she was able to move through them faster.
Resilience is your ability to bounce back.
Now it bears saying that in many parts of the world, people are legitimately surviving. Prisoners are surviving. People in refugee camps. People in war zones. People in poverty. People in bad health. People dealing with grief. There is legit survival going on. I do not denigrate that.
Beloveds, I want you to recognize that this client came into a realization that she was not special! LOL.
No. She was not special. Check this quote out below.
How did the rose ever open its heart and give to this world all of its beauty? It felt the encouragement of light against its being; otherwise, we all remain too frightened. ~ Hafiz
This client came to understand that she was not special in the sense that she did not get to be pitiful and mediocre when greatness was in her. It was her obligation to thrive. She was entitled to it. She began to respond to the light that was pressing against her, encouraging her to blossom and give forth the deepest beauty she was capable of. And she began to see how others around her were thriving too. She was not exempt from thriving.
I liken the choice we (unconsciously) make to survive over thrive to having a great nose, great lungs, clean, fresh air and deciding to panic that you are not entitled to the air that you can so easily breathe.
In short, we inadvertently make the choice to survive because the amygdala, that almond-shaped gland at the back of our head, perceives a threat and thinks our life is in danger. It is a liar!
Repeat after me: Not today Amygdala!
To connect to your prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that thinks and is creative and the fun place to be in your head, you take deep breathes and choose to focus on what it is that you want, not the perceived danger.
The deep breaths help calm the hormones flooding your system.
Now, I know that word “entitlement” can rub some people the wrong way. I am not talking about a negative entitlement where you have grabby energy and think that you are entitled to all these material things as in “the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.” Nope. Not that.
I am talking about entitlement with humility. If you have the solution to cancer, you have the right, “the entitlement,” to move your career forward to place you in the position to do good work with your solutions.
Here is my admonishment to you: Accept that you were designed with brilliance and amazing capacity. Stop living small and barely breathing, struggling with the vicissitudes of life and go ahead and embrace the fact that you are magnificent and that you have so much value to share with the whole world. You see, the determination to thrive is an acceptance of the Divine’s profound love for you. That is what resurrection is all about! You have the innate capacity to bounce back and be fully alive, once again.
Accept it. You are worth it. And do it with your own personal and unique signature.
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.” ~ Maya Angelou
Beloved, this week, in your life, your community and your vocation, my invitations to you are:
- In your personal life: Ask yourself, where am I just surviving and how can I move into thriving?
- In your community: Who is not thriving and how can I encourage thriving in others?
- In your vocation: How can my work/product/output clearly communicate that I value thriving over surviving?
Go ahead, give yourself permission to thrive. Think of the rose. Does it have a choice to not be spectacular?
Hugs, my thriving partners, hugs! And remember to breathe!