Grit, Gardening & Gratitude

In considering our equation, or our bet as Jerry first called it, a dear heart asked us this week: Why stop at resiliency? That question has been stirring in me. For me, there’s so much balled up in that one word, especially in that one resulting place in our equation.

Resiliency is the ability to overcome all kinds of challenges – trauma, tragedy, personal crises, the stuff life throws at us – and bounce back stronger, wiser, and more personally fortified. There’s something alchemical about it: taking everything you experience and transforming it into something useful.

When I think of resiliency, I think of the ability to show up everyday and be present for what shows up to meet you. In the ups and downs of startup life, this is a turbulent adventure we’re chosen to embark upon. It’s a wild ride with as many unsuspecting blows as there are boons. A CEO at our Winter Bootcamp said, “Some days I tell myself I need to get back up on my horse and keep going. Sometimes that’s really hard.” It takes courage and grit to keep on like that and to face everything as it comes. It requires the capacity to cut through your own tendency for self-delusion and the ability to pick yourself up and harvest all the useful information the experience has given you.

Building on Thomas Merton’s writing “There is in all things … a hidden wholeness,” Parker Palmer notes that “wholeness is not perfection: it means embracing brokenness as an integral part of life.” In it, he cites wilderness as an example of taking devastation and transforming it with new life. We don’t even have to be dramatic to see the resiliency inherent in nature: everything is integrated into the dynamic ecological cycles operating in the web of life. As humans, we have no shortage of experiences that can serve as a seedbed for new growth or enrich what we’re already cultivating.

For me, resiliency is part of the process of becoming fully human – and I don’t think that process never stops. We are a wholly biodynamic piece in our own cycle of self actualization: developing, learning, and understanding more deeply who and what we are. It’s a process of becoming, one that we’re always in. With the right perspective, the process is life giving.

“Be in love with your life, every detail of it.” – Jack Kerouac