Editor's note: Most of us do not fully realize how pervasively helpful resilience is until we begin to consider all the important qualities with which it is linked: rootedness, joy, grace, hope, love, gratitude, peace, optimism, kindness, and more. The quotes which follow will give you a sense of this diverse palette and bolster your store of resilience.
The Basis of Dreaming Boldly
"Nobody gets everything he or she yearns for. I look at the world and see three sorts of people: those who dream boldly even as they realize that a lot of their dreams will not come true; those who dream more modestly and fear that even their modest dreams may not be realized; and those who are afraid to dream at all, lest they be disappointed. I wish for more people who dreamed boldly and trusted their powers of resilience to see them through the inevitable disappointments.
— Harold S. Kushner in Overcoming Life's Disappointments
A Deep Rootedness
"I often thought of the cedar immediately outside the window, standing tall as an elegant ballet dancer because its roots gripped the soil deep beneath the fertile surface. I often wonder how many feet those roots descend. If there were an earthquake, would the tree stand firm? Only if its roots were deep, I assume. I suppose this is a well-worn analogy, comparing our spiritual life to the trees, roots going deep."
— Celeste Snowber in In the Womb of God
A Facet of Joy
"Joy is not something we need to go out and find; joy resides inside us. We arrive with an unlimited supply, deep inside. It's that place in our core that constantly reminds us that, no matter what is happening around us, no matter what is grabbing our attention, we are safe and we are loved."
— Carolyn Hobbs in Joy, No Matter What
A Good State that Grace Brings
"Often we receive grace without knowing it, and often we do not know it because when grace comes, we are already joyful or resilient or serene, or in another good state that grace brings."
— Andrew Dubus in Meditations from a Movable Chair
Closely Related to Hope
"Hope means to keep living amid desperation, and to keep humming in the darkness."
— Henri J. M. Nouwen in Frederic Brussat's Twitter Collection
"Hopeful people are a blessing to us, to others, and to the world. They are not always happy; they hurt with others who are hurting; they see clearly the problems that exist. But they are not defeated."
— Jane Vennard in Embracing the World
Integral to Success
"The same resilience and joie de vivre that helped see Roosevelt and Churchill through difficult illnesses were integral to their success as wartime leaders. Both men were able to draw upon an innate capacity for joy and energy, both found delight in difficult work, and both knew from experience that hardship could be overcome. ...
"To meet Roosevelt, said Churchill, 'with all his buoyant sparkle, his iridescence,' was like 'opening a bottle of champagne.' Churchill, who knew both champagne and human nature, recognized ebullient leadership when he saw it.
— Kay Redfield Jamison in Exuberance
Living from a Place of Meaning
"Finding and living from a place of meaning is the single most important avenue for being resilient."
— Beth Miller in The Woman's Book of Resilience
A New Interpretation
"Kabbalah maintains that spiritual repose can be trained and mastered. You can learn how to reinterpret reality. You can draw upon, and maintain, a positive disposition by catching 'different fish' — by metaphorically changing your fishing style. You can become a happier and more likable person and also profoundly alter the chemistry of your body. You can obliterate the old grooves of fear and form new tracks, with new interpretations of old memories."
— Laibl Wolf in Practical Kabbalah
An Outcome of Gratitude
"When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, the rabble whooped it up so much that the preservers of propriety wanted them to shut up. 'If they were to keep quiet,' said Jesus, 'the stones themselves would let rip.'
"He was right. There is a deep hum of thanksgiving throbbing in the universe. When Godzoners give voice to their gratitude, they are picking up the tune. Their cracked crooning may not win any talent contests, but it blends perfectly in the greater rhapsody. All that has life and knows God joins in. This fugue of thanksgiving, when it is rung from a life, transforms the world. It brings God out of the wings and onto center stage."
— Mike Riddell in Godzone
Part of the Unalterable Dance
"No despair of ours can alter the reality of things, or stain the joy of the cosmic dance which is always there. Indeed we are in the midst of it, and it is in the midst of us, for it beats in our very blood, whether we want it to or not. Yet the fact remains that we are invited to forget ourselves on purpose, cast our awful solemnity to the winds and join in the general dance."
— Thomas Merton in A Book of Hours by Thomas Merton, Kathleen Deignan, editor
A Promise of the Master
"Lingering like an echoing mantra is the Master's promise — and no one will take your joy away from you."
— Edward Hays in Chasing Joy
A Protection for Inward Peace
"Do not lose your inward peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset."
— St. Francis de Sales in Wisdom from World Religions by Sir John Templeton
A Result of Seeing Possibilities
"When we are willing to be open-minded, art and beauty come flooding into us in a thousand small ways. When we let ourselves see the possibilities instead of the improbabilities, we become as flexible and resilient as we really are. It is human nature to create. When we cooperate with our creativity, using it to live within the lives we actually have, we surprise ourselves with our level of invention."
— Julia Cameron in The Sound of Paper
A Reward of Letting Despair Guide You
"Don't be afraid of your despair. Be gentle with yourself. Take your time with this journey. Let despair guide you to the self you need to birth, the meaning you need to make, the world you need to serve. Let it reward you with a resilient faith in life."
— Miriam Greenspan in Healing Through the Dark Emotions
A Stance that Requires Time
"Transformation arises from a willingness that develops very slowly over time to be what life asks of us. Most of us (myself included at times) are like children: we want something or somebody to give us what a small child wants from its parents. We want to be given peace, attention, comfort, understanding. If our life doesn't give us this, we think, 'A few years of Zen practice will do this for me.' No, they won't."
— Charlotte Joko Beck in Essential Zen by Kazuaki Tanahanshi, editor, Tensho David Schneider, editor
Sustained in Acts of Kindness
"Kindness is the only service that will stand the storm of life and not wash out. It will wear well and will be remembered long after the prism of politeness or the complexion of courtesy has faded away."
— Abraham Lincoln in Kindness and Joy by Harold G. Koenig
A Unifying Force
"It was a Golden Rule parade — you acted the way you wish the government would act, with goodness, and tender respect, and this held the peace. ... Two things carried the day: regular people saying no to power, and glorious camaraderie. We were sad and afraid, and we had done the most radical thing of all: we had shown up, not knowing what else to do, and without much hope. ... The barricades were broken down for once, between races, colors, ages, sexes, classes, nations. There are so few opportunities for this to happen — at first, it feels like us versus them, and then you're shoulder to shoulder with thousands of people, reading one another's signs that pierce you and make you laugh out loud! ... Everyone's streaming past, including you. For once, you're part of the stream, and in that, in being part of it, you smell the pungent green shoots of hope. The feeling may only be for the moment. But it's a quantum moment: it might happen again, and spread and spread and spread; and for a moment and then another, there's no judgment, no figuring out, just an ebullient trudge, step, step, step."
— Anne Lamott in Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith
A Way of Aging
"In Japan there is an entire authentic tradition founded on the appreciation of aging, as in the Zen gardens whose moss and trees spend time softening, enclosing, expanding, like life itself, or in the magic of an old vessel, greenish and burnt with time, as if layers of meaning are contained therein. Wrinkles and growths, whether on people or trees, demonstrate their endurance and solidity despite existential vagaries."
— Maria Jaoudi in Christian Mysticism East and West
A Way of Dealing with Life
"Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you deal with it is what makes the difference."
— Virginia Satir in Frederic Brussat's Twitter Collection
Within Your Strength
"Life only demands from you the strength you possess. Only one feat is possible — not to run away."
— Dag Hammarskjold in Frederic Brussat's Twitter Collection