Retreat is Resilience

December 16th, 2022 by Kelly Kienzle

I have always thought of resilience as having only one definition: to bounce back or spring up.  It sounded like it required effort and energy.  Or that an obstacle existed that had to be overcome or at least stared down.

Yet I recently read in a perspective-shifting book that resilience also means to retract or recoil.  In other words, to go inward or retreat.  Resilience is not just the active effort of recovering and pushing forward.  It also means to pull back and go inside, like a snail into its shell.  Ahh, that feels easier.

I would like to apply this alternate definition of resilience to the holiday season.  Like myself, you may consider the holiday break as a means to build up your resilience.  The holiday break may appear as a strategy to becoming more resilient in the new year.

Yet using this new definition, the holidays are actually resilience itself.  The act of withdrawing into ourselves and our safe places is the act of resilience.  Retreat is resilience.

And so the moment you step away from your work and recoil into a restful posture, that is when your resilience begins.  As soon as you close your laptop and shut down your email, your resilience is already here.

Resilience is closer than we may think.  We simply have to pull back to experience resilience.

So as you close out 2022, I wish you a period of great resilience of thoughtfully retreating and looking inward to what gives you comfort and joy.  And that is all.

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