There is nothing like travel to remind you that there is always more than one way to do things. I spent the last week enjoying Spain with Luke, his teammate and his mom. Traveling with people can be an interesting experience, all of our true colors come out when we are jet lagged, lost, or have different opinions on where to go or what to do next, but we were in sync the entire week. I’m so grateful for this opportunity we had to travel together. Over the last few weeks and throughout our trip, as I battled some pain from this herniated disc I’ve been dealing with, watched New Orleans and the East Coast get pummeled by Hurricane Ida, and experienced the 20 year anniversary of 9/11, the idea of rebuilding and what it takes to do it right, has circulated in my head.
When it comes to our bodies, aging, and what I have encountered with mine the last few months, I often picture what it looks like when a toddler starts to walk. How they bend their knees, their heels stay glued to the floor, and they go up and down with ease a hundred times a day. To say that I feel a long way from that point would be an understatement, and I let myself feel sad for a minute because I miss playing volleyball and going to yoga so much. What I know for sure is that I know how to rebuild because I’ve done it before, and the process is always bigger than just me. Rebuilding doesn’t have to mean going back to the way things were originally, because as I’ve learned through my life and travel, there are many ways to do something right, and lots of ways that things can look and still be successful. In recognizing this, we open ourselves up to a lot of growth and progress along the way.
Ways to Rebuild With Intention
Work from Our Strengths - Whether we are talking about our own bodies and minds or entire communities, we are always best served when we are able to recognize and work from our strengths. Understanding what we do best or what our strongest attributes are helps lead us through our greatest challenges. I used to feel uncomfortable or less than humble if I led from my strengths, but now I see how that held me back from making my greatest impact. Every reinvention is built upon solid strength, make sure you know what yours are and don’t be afraid to share them.
Be Honest about Our Weaknesses - If we can’t assess and be honest about where we struggle, we can’t garner the support we may need to get stronger. Every person or system has inherent weaknesses, when we understand what they are, we can rebuild and fortify ourselves and our communities. It’s contrary to what our ego wants, but weaknesses can become strengths the more we shine a light on them.
Assess Our Coping Mechanisms - A solid rebuilding plan is based on having healthy coping mechanisms. Are we able to be transparent with our communities, or at least trusted members within them? As I heard so brilliantly stated at an #AA meeting I went to a few weeks ago,
“Our secrets keep us sick.”
I found that statement to be brilliantly clear. Community, movement, connection, music, breath, journaling…these are the things that will help us and future generations rebuild. Nothing that takes us away from the feelings we feel or tries to bury our hurts will put us in a position to rebuild and heal.
4. Be of Service to Others - Nothing takes us out of our own heads faster than extending ourselves to help someone in need. Sometimes there are storms in our lives that just have to be weathered. When these times come, we emerge from our own storm stronger when we are able to help someone else rebuild. Being a part of a greater community takes the emphasis off of us and the world gets stronger as it benefits from our effort.
5. Don’t judge - One thing I have noticed as I have come through the road bumps of life is that those of us with a few more bumps and bruises tend to be less judgmental of anyone else’s process. Nothing gives us more freedom to rebuild than admitting we do not know what another person has gone through until they decide to tell us, so why judge. We can only be of service to ourselves and others when we approach situations and people with an open mind. The best rebuilding projects come out of openness and collaboration. When rebuilding, forget knee jerk assumptions, listen, and get ready to do some work.
Rebuilding, whether its bodies, minds, relationships, or entire communities is not for the faint of heart. But I have seen it done time and again by regular people countless times in my life. There are things that haven’t faded since that fateful day 20 years ago like the 24 hour news ticker, longer security lines, and stricter measures to keep us safe. But what would it be like if the unity we felt as Americans was the same as it was 20 years ago. That is something that is worth rebuilding, and the truth is it starts with the mind, body, and spirit of every person in this country. Rebuilding the individual translates to stronger communities, connections, our country, and our world, so don’t let anyone tell you that what you do every day doesn’t matter. Choose wisely, go easy on the judgment both on yourself and others, and let’s see what we can rebuild together because as I’ve said so many times before, it’s all connected.
With love & optimism for whatever rebuild you need,