No Mud No Lotus
by Annia Baron
For an iconic flower, such as the Tasmanian Waratah, to bloom into its fullest potential, it must first go through a period of severe discomfort. To germinate, the seed must break through its hard exterior, spend time in the cold, wet dirt, and navigate through darkness before it can feel the warmth of the sun. Only then, does this special native brighten our wild landscape. Only then, we are gifted with its captivating beauty.
This year saw unprecedented levels of change to the way we’ve been living, working, socialising, caring for ourselves, and connecting with our family, friends, and community. Constant uncertainty, job loss, financial pressure, isolation, and border closures destabilised our sense of safety and freedom. We’re tired. We’re sleepless. We’re stressed. It’s felt like the longest 12 months.
No one would blame you for wanting to write the whole year off. No one would blink twice about indulging in a few more instant feel-goods. No-one would judge you for drinking a little more or losing yourself in episodes of the latest series. No-one would look down on you for spending money you don’t necessarily have on another purchase you don’t really need. No-one would frown upon the quick and easy food options you’ve been choosing, the lack of exercise you’ve become accustomed to or the not-so-great, phone in hand habits you’ve slipped back into. No-one would think less of you for procrastinating, disengaging or avoiding tasks that require accountability or perseverance.
Besides, after everything we’ve been through, who has the energy for that anyway? We deserve to feel good. We deserve satisfaction. The reward is warranted and if it’s readily available, why not? But here’s something you already know. Resilience can’t be downloaded from the latest app. Resilience doesn’t come from reading a book or listening to a podcast. The sparks of resilience ignite each time you make a conscious decision to act in alignment with an intention to flourish. With an intention to better yourself for the benefit of others.
Resilience – like happiness – doesn’t come from finding the easiest way out. It comes as a result of being vulnerable. Initially, resilience will rub you up the wrong way. In fact, it will piss you off. It will create strain, confusion, and a sense of overwhelm. But while the defence mechanisms of the ego are ranting on, resilience is by your side, waiting patiently.
Gently. In a soft tone, it will ask you to leave the past behind and try on a new mindset. It will ask you to expand the way you see yourself – who you are, what you can cope with, and how limitless you can be. At the core of it all, resilience will ask that you trust once again. Trust in your ability to adapt to change – just as you have all these years. Rather than wanting this year to be over, use the experiences of 2020 to shape the way you’ll succeed next year:
- What has this year taught me about tending to the garden of my own mindset?
- What have I been neglecting? What seeds do I need to plant more of and what needs pruning?
- Am I clear on my values, my goals, and how I want to be living?
- How can I support and celebrate my own growth while supporting that of others?
As the Buddhist philosopher Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us, “No mud. No lotus.” We thrive because we are propelled to change.So, my friends, sow your seeds. Break through the hard exterior and trust in the process. Here you will grow strong. Here you will bloom.
Annia Baron is a Clinical Psychologist and Mindset Coach at ReMind Yourself in Hobart.