Resilience, Part One

 A resilient life
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 “A resilient life is generated not from the things that happened to you, but from your reactions to them.” —Patricia O’Gorman, PhD, The Resilient Woman

My father turned 86 this week; our homes are a day’s travel apart—two airplane flights and an hour-long drive at both ends. My father is in poor health, and each time I visit I wonder if this will be the last time I will see him.

If nothing else, my father is resilient. He’s been hospitalized with pneumonia several times in the past six months; his lifestyle has changed from autonomy to dependence on others for many things, yet he refuses to give up anything he doesn’t have to give up. He still shops and runs errands, even though he has to depend on others for transportation; he insists on cooking for himself and even makes a full dinner for a neighbor once a week; he still believes he will be back to driving himself around town one day soon (not a hope I share, by the way); and although he grumbles about all the medications he’s on for his heart, lung, and circulation issues, he is as compliant about following his doctor’s orders as an 86-year-old man can be. My dad probably wouldn’t describe the way he deals with these challenges as resiliency, but I would. defines resilience as “An ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.” I’ve learned that I’m resilient, too; in the past year, I:

  • left the security of a paycheck for the uncertainty of freelance work;
  • bit my tongue today when, within ten minutes of my arrival, my father told me I was yelling and speaking too fast (did I mention he now wears hearing aids that actually work?), then five minutes later told “Speak up! I can’t hear you!”;
  • edited two books for HCI Books about resilience that pub in the next 2 months. (I’ll be sharing more about these books in the coming weeks, but today I merely want to illustrate how—once again—there is serendipity in this life.)

I began working with the authors mentioned above at a time when (unbeknownst to me) I would need all the wisdom about resilience I could find. The first book I edited, The Resilient Woman by Patricia O’Gorman, PhD, is available in just a few days (March 5), and it’s a gem. Dr. O’Gorman and I have exchanged more than a few e-mails and phone calls over the past few months in our ongoing discussion about the resilience we’ve both acquired through this process.

 Women often miss the path toward achieving their true potential because they have been conditioned to blame themselves for something someone else has done to them,” says Dr. O’Gorman. “But with the right tools to break the cycle, they will learn to consciously harness and nurture their strengths and find the personal assets we often take for granted, realizing that a resilient life is generated not from the things that happened to us, but from our reaction to them.”

You can hear Dr. O’Gorman speak about resilience on Tuesday, March 5 on A Moment of Change on Skye Radio. Or check out her blog at for more on this subject. Or preorder The Resilient Woman—you’ll learn a lot about yourself. I know I did.



Related articles: 

Stepping Into Our Power (The Powerful

Felicita: Happiness Is Being Flexible (Raeleen

Cultivate Resilience (

This Emotional Life: Is Your Child Resilient? (

Mindfulness: The Art of Cultivating Resilience (

The Undefeated Mind (Happiness in This



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