Posts tagged resilience

I Beat the Odds and Won the Lottery



I grew up in a home that was riddled with domestic trauma–verbal, emotional, physical, sexual abuse. Everyday life would unfold around common family activities, and I never knew when the next implosion would come but always tried to anticipate and escape it. Hypervigilent, I faced my daily life in a climate of fear and dread. My parents were ill-equipped to cope with their own experiences and emotional material; they could scarcely manage to rear their four children.


At some point in my teens, I entertained the notion that, if “God” is Love, then Love is “God”. A stream of scenarios occurred to me as I pondered and tested this theory. And I arrived at the supposition that, if I can live from a place of Love, I can align my motivations, outlook, and behavior in accordance with the Universe, and the principles of justice and compassion.


Presently, my view of the “Most High Source” has evolved; it is more complex and less anthropomorphized. But my earlier realization that Love is “God” allowed me to establish an ideal: If I love and love well, then I will fulfill my humanity. The legacy that my parents imparted threatened to skew my perspective and compromise my heart. Yet I learned by doing the opposite of the examples that my parents set. This fact saddens me sometimes, but it proved an excellent strategy for avoiding the perpetuation of a damaging legacy.


I naturally connected with Love because I yearned for it. And I knew, as the Beatles professed in their song, The End, that “the Love we take is equal to the Love we make”. My early experience further taught me that Love, if it is true, must be free and not bargained; otherwise, it is not Love. Later, I heeded the advice that, “when at a crossroads, choose the path toward Love”.


Paying attention to examples of Love in the wide world, I nurtured and preserved myself by focusing on examples that affirmed my learning. Kahlil Gibran’s chapter on Love in The Prophet provided an exquisite jumping off point for meditations on Love early in my life. I have indeed loved. In addition, others have loved me, and my heart has received their gifts. I beat the odds of an upbringing that could have led me to imitate “God”-forsaken examples of human behavior by, instead, attending to the yearnings of my heart and by offering Love as an exercise of good will. I won the lottery in my meditations on Love.


If you desire a way to readily foster Love within yourself and for others, please Contact me, Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation–Resiliency Coaching–and I will guide you in making attitudinal and behavioral changes for the better.

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The Car – or – The Cash

I get by without a car. Doing so is sometimes problematic but not usually. It simply requires appropriate clothing for the weather, strength to carry everything, and planning for public transportation. So, imagine my gratitude and delight whenever my 84-year-old friend goes out of town for a few days or a week or more, and she loans me her car!

This time, however, she loaned it to her gardener, who has become a help to her in the off-season. My friend is a very kind woman, full of generosity and compassion. She “adopts” people as she did me. In this instance, she has chosen to extend her kindness on his behalf.

Borrowing my friend’s car is not my right; it is a privilege. And my having become accustomed to that privilege, I now feel disappointed, irritated, and jealous. I have been her friend for eight years and he, one year or less. Then again…to be honest…at one point several years ago, I limited our contact because our temperaments are quite different, and I found her unbearable.

Our renewed friendship now reflects a pleasantness. In addition to “coffee with the ladies” on Tuesday mornings, my friend and I visit once a month or so. She normally pays the entire bill. She even passes me some extra cash on occasion.

Who am I to get irritated? If I had to choose between the two gestures——car or cash——I would opt for the cash without hesitation. Nevertheless, my hurt feelings warrant expression. I choose to express my feelings to trusted others and keep the situation in perspective.

Perhaps a time will present itself when I will choose to share my feelings about the situation with my elderly friend. Perhaps hurt feelings will shift or fade. For now, I shall exercise GRACE and MAINTAIN gratitude.

If you desire a better way to cope with disappointment, anger, frustration, and other unpleasant emotions, please Contact me, Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation–Resiliency Coaching–and I will guide you in adjusting yourself to the situation.

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Ambivalence, Resignation, Or Creative Discontent

Veterans, Returning Citizens (formerly called Ex-offenders), and Mental Health Consumer/Survivors experience a transition between a controlled environment and civilian life. The adjustment period poses challenges, some more difficult than others. Whatever the differences between these populations and among individuals within them, the transition and, more specifically, the process of adjustment impacts the trajectory of resiliency.

Resiliency Fitness status differs from one person to the next and, for the same person, from one situation to the next. For example, I am a wiz at adapting to an unexpected change of plans but I have difficulty expressing my displeasure with friends and loved ones.

Declines in status may be met by resignation, ambivalence, or creative discontent with disadvantage and the motivation to thrive. And intermediate status may provide a latency period in which, despite appearing inactive, we are actually cultivating our adaptation skills.

Think of a life predicament and figure out your Resiliency Fitness status:

  • Delinquency… We exhibit misbehavior or willful negligence that indicates the rejection of recovery and resiliency, and that harms both self and other (e.g., aggression, vengeance, dishonesty, injustice/crime, addiction);
  • Succumbing… We buckle under the strain of distress that prevents the progress in recovery and resiliency or indicates a reversal in recovery and resiliency (e.g., regression, depression, struggling or stuck, exhaustion);
  • Impairment… We experience a deterioration of coping with distress that indicates an inconsistent level of functioning and uncharacteristic negative changes in attitude, thought, mood, or behavior; overwhelmed);
  • Languishing… We survive with low expectations for recovery and resiliency, tolerating a lackluster existence. We remain risk-averse and tolerate mediocrity lest we upset the seemingly tenuous balance of the status quo;
  • Synthesis… We enjoy stability that indicates successful development of recovery and resiliency, and that enables measured advances in personal mastery; and
  • Thriving… We flourish and prosper with a vitality that encourages calculated risks for the sake of continued personal mastery and indicates the appreciation of challenges.


The keys to recovery and resiliency—the Optimal Experience Strategies of strength, endurance, power, flexibility, balance, grace and so on—inform our practice on the spectrum of Resiliency Fitness status. Resiliency Fitness status differs from one person to the next and, for the same person, from one situation to the next. Declines in status may be met by resignation, ambivalence, or creative discontent. And intermediate status may provide a latency period in which, despite appearing inactive, we are actually cultivating maturity and discipline in order to advance recovery and resiliency.

In order to do so, we proactively develop internal and external resources. Of all the internal resources we can cultivate, maturity and discipline are the most broadly applicable to all situations and perhaps the most challenging to develop. What are the good habits that shape your maturity and discipline?

If you desire better strategies for coping with the crests and shallows of life, please Contact me, Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation–Resiliency Coaching–and I will guide you in the development of personal mastery.

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The Face of Resiliency

Like most scenarios in life, both nature and nurture contribute to resiliency. We all have a resiliency drive yet, amid the instability of life and without steady cultivation, resiliency tends to be haphazard.

Supplemental to resiliency, we possess a natural survival instinct and four coping strategies–fight, flight, freeze, or face. Each strategy has appropriate uses at specific times and places:

  • When law enforcement officers meet with deadly force, they are licensed to fight with deadly force.
  • When communities meet with natural disaster, they are compelled to flee.
  • When hikers meet with a bear, in some situations they lie prone with hands laced behind the neck and freeze (http://www.wikihow.com/Escape-from-a-Bear).
  • When friends or loved ones meet with relational problems, they are well-advised to face the issues with rational discussion.

While some of us are more avoidant by nature and others are more confrontational, often we learn to cope with our problems most effectively when we nurture the inclination to FACE them with honesty, sensitivity, and intelligence. Difficulties arise when we choose an approach that others perceive as contemptuous or in some way alienating.

Having a co-creative strategy for addressing problems one at a time gives us a better chance to be understood and to create a win-win situation. Non-violent Communication skills are one part of an overall HEROES method that provides such a strategy:

  • State the nature of the problem without judgment and verify the facts
  • Express the feelings that arise as a result of the problem
  • Describe the need that you wish to be met
  • Make a request for stated comprehension, clarification, or cooperation

“Nonviolent Communication skills emphasize personal responsibility for our actions and the choices we make when we respond to others, as well as how to contribute to relationships based in cooperation and collaboration” (https://www.cnvc.org/learn/nvc-foundations).

If you desire a better way of communicating that enables you to resolve problems peaceably, please Contact me, Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation–Resiliency Coaching–and I will guide you in deciding your approach to the person in question.

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Pigeon Under A Microscope

My housemate annoys me. She seems cordial at times and then just as randomly she ignores me for lengths of time. There exists no cause for animosity and yet she usually engages me only when she has a problem with me. Since our rapport is meager at other times, I do not feel warmly toward her. I also notice that she is quite critical of the world. To me, she appears as a cold-hearted woman. However, she carries herself as beloved by family, friends, and students.

My view of “Melody” pigeon-holes her even when my initial impression meets evidence to the contrary, which I perceive as exceptions to the rule. What if she experiences life with great sensitivity and her coldness is compensation for that? For example, she lost a daughter–her first-born child–to a disease that was not understood until the body sustained too much damage. Surely, Melody carries that heartache and quietly so regarding me.

I deliberately behave with all manner of courtesy around Melody, and it neither endears me to her nor allows rapport to develop. My fear is that I am always one small step away from her discontent and that she will be more concerned with her interests than with negotiating a peaceable or win-win scenario.

In an effort to remove Melody from the pigeon hole, I must give credence to the relationships in which she enjoys rapport and mutual support even though I am not privy to such benefits. Melody may or may not like me. Nevertheless, it has been months since any problem his arisen between us. Finding the GRACE to clarify her presence with good will and making my attitude toward her more favorable allows me to change my perspective on Melody.

If you are caught in a relationship where your microscopic view of another person limits your perspective on that person, please Contact me, Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation–Resiliency Coaching–and I will guide you in shifting your approach to the person in question.

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Merry-Go-Round of Possibilities

A person faulted me for not acting quickly enough (in his estimation) to do what I said I wished to do. He treated me with disdain, accusing me of being all talk and no action. Subsequent to his shameless mistreatment of me, he cornered me and coerced me to name the date that I would begin courting clients and go about the business of my work. I was not ready to take action yet I took his bait. This person offered me no good will yet I felt I had to prove myself.

Shakespeare wrote: The native hue of resolution is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought and enterprises of great pith and moment, with this regard, their currents turn awry and lose the name of action. (Hamlet: Act 3, Scene 1) We can spend too much time in our heads, inventing scenarios, taking action only when we feel in control. But control is an illusion because the outcome is never assured. And we find ourselves ruminating, making up fantasies about how we think the situation might unfold–favorably or unfavorably–and taking all painstaking possibilities into account.

What did I need in order to be ready to act? I needed a plan of action that included anticipated consequences. Being premature undermines my progress as much as hesitation does. I needed to be able to answer three questions: What do I offer? What are the outcomes? And why should someone listen to me? Finally, I needed to be prepared to discuss the particular interests of those whom I would serve and how I would address them.

Two months after my conversation with that disdainful fellow, I was as ready as I was ever going to be. Any consequences that would transpire would warrant responses one step at a time. Kind and knowledgeable people who had my best interests at heart supported me. I was ready to co-create a transformative experience with people with whom I shared a vision.

What are you waiting to do? What must happen for you to be ready? Are you spinning your wheels, waiting for a feeling of control? Understand what you need in order to be ready so that you do not merely play at life but, with STRENGTH and POWER, live it.

If you are stuck on a merry-go-round of possibilities and wish to be ready to take action, Contact me, Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation (Resiliency Coaching) and I will guide you in decision-making and goal-achievement.

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Send Up The White Flag

Everyone has at least one major secret. “Yeah, there’s one that you keep that you bury so deep no one can tear it out!” – Billy Joel Code of Silence

I have two major secrets that I carry. Failings. Burdens. Potentials for blame or humiliation. I can stop them a bit at a time, but I have not been successful in eradicating them altogether. The saying goes, “You are as sick as your secrets.” It stands to reason, then, that as I aspire toward health and wholeness, I must surrender my secrets.

Resiliency provides a dynamic and fluid realm from which healthy responses emerge for each particular situation. Major secrets indicate rigidity, tripping points, compulsions that keep us spinning our wheels and not moving forward. To succumb to our secrets is to perpetuate sickness.

In order for me to begin to release my major secrets, I would have to begin to see myself as equal to every person, and I would have to forfeit hypocrisy and love myself as much as I expect others to love themselves.

What major secret(s) keeps you from health and wholeness? And what would you have to begin to do in order to release your self from any rigid pattern(s) that keep you from health and wholeness?

If your major secrets are holding you back from health and wholeness, you are part of the human race. You do have options! Contact me,, Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation–Resiliency Coaching–and I will help you navigate the surrendering of unhealthy patterns.

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