Monday, June 9, 2014

From Chapter 12 of The Human Restoration Project: Resiliency & Accepting What Is

"I think it is better to have tried and failed than to never have tried at all, don't you? At some point the trying could very well lead to something important, even if it doesn't look like what you thought it would look like and most especially if you had to struggle to achieve it." 
pg. 133, The Restoration Project

We lost one of our 'Greats' last week. Maya Angelou.  The Great Wizardess of the Word.

Maya Angelou had much to say about resiliency, she mastered this virtue and went on to write about it over the course of her life.

I'll leave us with her poem called: Still I Rise

And...ask if you all might relate a story about a time in your life where you had to dig deep for resiliency in your life after a loss or fall. Stories are how we learn and sharing our stories with each other reminds us that we are all in this together. Hearing other people's story reminds us that even while we are all having our own experiences, we are not so very different from each other in our fears, and our struggles. I like the idea that we all share many of the same feelings as humans, it is less lonely to think of us all experiencing similar insecurities, fears and longing. This is how we lift each other up, how we inspire, and connect as humans. 

So please share a little story, below, of a triumph you had following a hardship. 

A free copy of The Human Restoration Project will go to the first 3 people who share a story about resiliency at the end of this post.

 After you post -  I will message you back for an address to send your book.

Still I Rise 
by Maya Angelou

"Courage may be the most important 
of all virtues because without it, 
one cannot practice any 
other virtue with consistency"
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?

“How should we be able to 
forget those ancient myths
 that are at the beginning 
of all peoples, 
the myths about dragons 
that at the last moment 
turn into princesses; 
perhaps all the dragons of 
our lives are princesses who are 
only waiting to see us once 
beautiful and brave.”
 - Rainer Maria Rilke
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.

Weakened by my soulful cries.
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard

‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines

Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise

Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise

That I dance like I’ve got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame

I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain

I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.


  1. As I reflect on this poem, I feel that the person I am most overcoming is myself!
    For years I've been exploring the stories I tell myself ... noticing how I sap my own energy ... and, although I often want to give up ... I notice I keep going.
    Perhaps my greatest challenge of all has been acknowledging and overcoming decades of addiction. For much of my adult life, I used this addiction as my crutch ... my way of dealing with stress ... a way to hide from the rest of the world ... a way to put myself to sleep so that I wouldn't have to feel the pain inside.
    As I allow myself to feel that pain more and more, I realize that it's not as great as I have often feared.
    I notice, too, that as I come to terms with my own shadows, that I feel more of a softening than the pride that Maya shares... a greater gentleness and compassion with myself ... and also with others.
    Maybe the pride and strength that she declares will be on the other side of this softening ... and maybe not.
    Thank you, Mare, for invoking this exploration!!

  2. Thank you Robin~~ maybe it is the ultimate thing to realize we create much of our own isolation and suffering? Maybe it is indeed the hardest thing to face ourselves? And yes...maybe just maybe, it is not all as bad as we have ourselves believing?? I felt the honesty of your words in my belly and I have a feeling I am going to be thinking about them as I go through my week.

  3. This poem is the story of a part of my life, which I have survived and transmuted. Love your blog, Mare!

    Soiled years

    I have felt the shift of the ebbing tide after the flow
    heard it undoing the rippling sand undoing words pressed
    against skin undoing the smell of him pressed against my skin undoing

    the laces of my dancing shoes the tangles of daisy chains
    on my neck in my hair the liturgy of fists the iced up normality
    the crossed lines the heart lines the life lines the dotted lines the battle lines

    undoing the undoing unwinding and knitting back
    drifting bits of years births cups of tea around an empty center
    fifteen years of hollowing out to find definition in the absolute of its negative

    And now that the rage is all but gone
    I am willing to conciliate between layered waters
    to find an obedient current warm as blood to swim the undertow and exhale

    Michèle Vassal

  4. Hi Michele~~~

    Thank you for your poem~~ There is a visceral feeling there~~ all that unwinding and re-knitting --and the rage that is all but gone....and did you come away from those Soiled Years stronger? More You-ness shining through?