There is nothing like making your way through difficult times to experience the gift of perspective, and hopefully…eventually…growth. The challenges facing each of us are varying and many. There is loss of life, illness, relationship issues, problems at work, or school, or home…the list can be daunting and overwhelming. Never have the struggles been more front and center for me than in this past year.
I woke up this morning, my brain churning. What I realized is that despite our best efforts, there is little we can do to avoid things that are out of our control. Early in the days of babycakes and confections, my father told me that a very important part of my job was ‘disaster planning’. He suggested that I think of the possible worst-case scenario, and then imagine something even worse. How would I react? What, if anything, would I need to have in place in order to handle the situation and be able to move forward? This conversation has stayed with me and I think about it almost daily. It applies to almost every aspect of work and life outside the bakery.
The work part is so much easier than the life part. As a business owner, I quickly realized that my imagination was fairly limited and that I had no concept of what ‘worst case’ could really mean. My worst case was fire, and my solution was to re-build. I didn’t consider all of the potholes lurking in between ‘baking cookies’ and ‘fire’. Cease and desist lawsuit. Re-branding. Loss of an entire truck-worth of inventory. Equipment failure. Each situation required maneuvering and adjusting so that the momentum steadily moved forward. These situations aren’t worst-case scenarios, but they still have a major impact on everyone involved. Over time, these kinds of issues can be emotionally draining and can slowly seep the joy out of the work. It made me understand that I needed to have a plan in place even for situations that were not worst case situations.
The lesson of adapting and adjusting can be applied to life. In one word, it’s called resilience.
If resilience were a color, I believe it would be the yellow of the sun in a kindergartner’s crayon drawing.
Resilience is steeped in hope that forward movement will lead to something better. The question that pops in my head next is almost too scary to contemplate…what if there’s no hope? What if the hope is buried so deep, we can’t tap into it? What then?
My thought this morning is that there is something each of us can do, even when we’re feeling hopeless. It comes back to movement & taking action. The actions may feel empty at first. Pointless. A waste of time.
Keep going. Give it a chance.
I have witnessed so much resilience this week – two seniors planning a Walk out of Darkness in the Acton community, a college freshman never giving up on a challenging, stressful assignment, a kitchen team figuring out a solution to multiple issues with equipment and raw materials, a father whose young son is fighting cancer signing up to ride in the PMC for the first time, a friend being brave enough to speak up about something she has kept protected for a very long time. The rumbling of movement is infectious. It creates a momentum of its own that can carry each of us toward something new.
My wish is for everyone to take a moment to think about what you have experienced or witnessed this week that shows resilience. It might be hard at first to come up with anything, and that’s ok. Take your time, see what comes up, and then notice how it makes you feel. If it makes you feel good, spread the word and the feeling to those around you.
Finally – the image I chose to use for this post: This year marks my tenth PMC ride. I received this sticker in the mail a month ago, and couldn’t stop staring at it. At first I felt really silly that something as insignificant as a sticker would feel so meaningful to me. I brought it to work, added it to my wall of pictures & magnets, and waited for it to fade into the background of my mind. However, that hasn’t happened. I look at it every day I’m at the bakery. The PMC is the perfect example of resiliency at its best.