by Jane Hirshfield
More and more I have come to admire resilience.
Not the simple resistance of a pillow, whose foam
returns over and over to the same shape, but the sinuous
tenacity of a tree: finding the light newly blocked on one side,
it turns in another. A blind intelligence, true.
But out of such persistence arose turtles, rivers,
mitochondria, figs — all this resinous, unretractable earth.
Resilience. Persistence. Not resistance, but tenacity.
I love the imagery of the tree in this poem – the tenacity to seek out light when it is blocked on one side.
In many ways, this echoes the “deeper” book that I am reading on the weekends (I often have one fluffy before-bed book, one evening book that’s either a mystery or a novel, one non-fiction book that I mostly read on weekends, and then a “deeper” book that is my usual Sunday-morning-I-am-not-religious-but-like-rituals book…). The Obstacle is the Way is a book on Stoic philosophy by Ryan Holiday.
And this beautiful poem echoes so many of the important messages in that book.
When you encounter blocks and hurdles? Go over, go around, go under. Just don’t give up.
Recognize that the obstacles will come – they will always come – but that you can overcome them.
I am working on this – rather than letting myself get derailed by failures and / or stumbles, I am doubling down and working harder on whatever it was that went off course.
Persistence. Optimism. Resilience.