While many experienced the beauty of snowfall during the holidays, parts of New Hampshire where I was visiting my wife’s family encountered ice. I was struck by sights of tree buds covered in ice as we walked our dog Sutro in the woods. These buds, closed since the early onsets of cold, waited patiently for the right conditions to open. They clearly knew late December wasn’t that right time. The buds remained resilient and ready for circumstances to change.
As we venture into 2018, I’m interested in the balance between resilience and budding.
Is one needed more than the other?
The circumstances facing our world today make this question pertinent. It might feel like we’re living in a dark time, given the social and economic inequalities, political rancor, and climate change we face. Such a perspective seems to ask us to be resilient like the buds of trees in the winter, waiting until conditions improve.
But also, it’s precisely because of the immense adversity and challenges we face that there may not be a better time than now to step forth and open up. Now more than ever we need to inspire people to be their biggest and best selves, to make this the world we want to live in.
We believe it’s time to be both resilient and rising up.
The EcoPsychology Initiative is very interested in pertinent topics of resilience, leadership, healing and change. We aim to psychologically use nature to help individuals, organizations and communities realized success in these areas, solve problems and realize potential.
The belief that people can take care of themselves and adapt to circumstances while still being engaged and impactful is part of EPI’s 10 Principles.
It is our “Both And” principle and is at the root of our mission to promote doing good and doing well, benefiting ourselves and the people/planet around us.
Being mindful of our thinking in addition to the actions we do and don’t participate in is the key to success.
We encourage people to adopt a “both and” perspective instead of either-or, this or that, black or white thinking. Just as competition and cooperation exist in the natural world, so too can contradiction and paradox occur in our lives. Rather than thinking of this as a limitation, we believe it can be a strength.
Practice being compassionate and taking a stand for what you think is right, being engaged in your community and still taking care of yourself, willing to be flexible and also grounded in your truth, tending your emotional safety without giving into fear.
Unlike the tree blossoms, we believe that everyone has a chance to thrive even during cold, dark and harsh conditions. Not only can we do this, we think the world needs us to do this. It starts by freeing our mind, moving past limitations of black and white thinking and towards a new possibility.