I received a number of responses to Part 1. One, in particular, struck me. It was from a woman who has worked in the helping profession – a teacher for 42 years, most of them with a focus on children and youth with mild to severe emotional/behavioral problems, and 15 years as a Certified Hypnotist. She just turned 80 and recently received a diagnosis of “Mild Cognitive Dysfunction with Alzheimer’s disease. It is step one of 10 in the Alzheimer’s steps.”
What struck me is her “busy being born” approach to life and living. Here is some of what she shared (with her permission). I deleted personal and other specific details.
“… I think I’m really trying to pack in as much activity as I can while I can. Two choir practices weekly, two service committees at _____, just finished leading a 6 weeks Zoom book class at _____. Then there’s a monthly coffee house, monthly master mind group, and monthly bring-a-bagged lunch after church gathering to discuss anything on our minds. This a.m. I played (piano) a version of Pachelbel’s Canon before the meditation. And sang a song with our church choir. I get to play at church every couple of months. Then there’s exercise, cleaning, going to doctors, and having to rest.
The Emory clinic has Clinical Social Workers for those in my situation. I’ve had a couple of Zoom appointments with one and will have my third tomorrow. They are equipped to give good advice regarding my situation. I haven’t told (my daughter) yet and the social worker says when I’m ready we could do a virtual visit with ___.
Around a year ago I started getting the message, “Be with people,” as my current way of serving, vs helping people overcome whatever was limiting them as I saw my role for so many years. I’m probably overdoing it at times, but I am enjoying my many activities and wonderful people in my life.
May 5th, 6th, and 7th, I am going to the annual Women’s group retreat in the mountains in GA.
I have not practiced the choral music for my long time choral group enough and now am needing to seriously study it for our upcoming concert on Saturday… We have rehearsals on Monday and Friday night that same week….”
I think she’s a fine model of resilience, a popular concept these days. And rather than explore her resilience from the 50,000 foot level, she models it literally “at 9 o’clock Monday morning.” You know, “busy being born” in a minute-to-minute, day-to-day, week-to-week approach to her life.
She models the six indicators of resilience ( e.g., as describes in the Personal Resistance Indicator – PRI): HEALTH – lifestyle choices and routines supporting physical and mental wellbeing; PURPOSE – sense of meaning in life and determination to pursue goals; PROBLEM-SOLVING – resourcefulness to overcome unexpected challenges; PERSEVERANCE – optimism and flexibility to deal with and push through setbacks; COMPOSURE – the ability to respond rather than react to stressful situations; RELATIONSHIPS – degree of social support and connection to others and EMOTIONAL-EXECUTIVE BALANCE – a “clinical” neuro/psychological/biological understanding and approach to dealing with stress.
The Mayo Clinic emphasizes the importance of resilience as a critical strategy in coping with life’s challenges and as a strategy to help protect you from various mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety. Getting connected, making every day meaningful, learning from experience, remaining hopeful, taking care of yourself and being proactive – tools the Clinic recommends – are woven through her daily “busy being born” life.