“I had seen their ships come into port in the Indies and in (America), disgorging their cargos of emigrants, so emaciated and worn by their passage … skeletal as living corpses, white as maggots from two months in the darkness below decks.”
“Despite the expense and the difficulty of the journey, despite the pain of parting from friends and family and homeland forever, the immigrants poured in, in hundreds and in thousands, carrying their children — those who survived the voyage — and their possessions in small, ragged bundles; fleeing poverty and hopelessness, seeking not fortune but only a small foothold on life. Only a chance.” ~ Diana Gabaldon, Drums of Autumn (p. 111)*
In many ancestral traditions, and some spiritual traditions, too, resilience was and is what we today might call a core value or greatly-valued virtue.
The importance of resilience also was born out of or honed from harsh experience and struggle of the sort that was experienced — and passed down the lineage to us — by many immigrant ancestors.
Such traits or qualities are also part of an inheritance that we may not realize we’ve been given — that we have within us; that is available to us as a strength or qualitative asset.
In the Northern European and Anglo-Saxon ancestral traditions, for example, resilience was surely a prized character trait, and even part of one’s good fortune or luck — called hamingja — both individually and as part of ancestral lineage.
It makes sense, given that the rugged landscape and climate, and the challenge of day to day living and survival, required resilience — and enabled them to still made art, story, and ritual even amidst the difficulties! I’d guess, too, that the art, story, and ritual also helped shore up the foundation of resilience, giving a crucial sense of purpose and meaning.
I’ll be writing more about this as part of our ancestral and spiritual gift heritage — things we still benefit from, and can hone and appreciate to give a sense of both rooting and the strength and meaning that comes from it. Gifts we may overlook and underestimate, and reclaiming that is always a strengthening thing!
Beth Wodanis, a fellow WordPress blogger, shared an excellent and insightful article from Wandering Woman Wandering, about resilience as an indication of hamingja, or luck, in the Northern and Anglo-Saxon ancestral traditions. From that article:
“Luck isn’t gone when trouble comes our way. It’s when things get rough that our luck is tested. Most folks are made of fancy stuff when times are good. It’s when times are bad that we see most fully what destiny and fate have woven into a person’s soul.”
It’s such a great perspective to consider — that to have resilience is a form of good luck or good fortune. Usually, given cultural assumptions (though not always truths), we’d feel more like it was bad luck to actually need to be resilient. So it’s a fortunate perspective shift – resilience is a type of good fortune.
Another thing that helps build or restore your foundation — from which you can tap the wellspring of energy, intuition, inspiration, Divine guidance, clear-thinking, and yes, resilience — is to cultivate your center. If you missed yesterday’s post on cultivating center, you’ll find it here: When Pulled in All Directions, Center is Up.
What’s your own sense and experience of resilience, and having resilience being a fortunate thing? Can you see where it might be an ancestral strength gift passed along through your own line? How might art, story, and ritual — in any of their forms and root-traditions — play a part in helping to strengthen your resilience?
As we adventure into this new year, may you find yourself with rich stores of ancestral blessing and hamingja — good fortune, good luck, and resilience and creative vision when you need it.
And if you’d benefit from a mentor, guide, and intuitive-dialogue partner to help you focus in on and feel strengthened by the core strengths and values that are yours, send me an email about setting up your vision-session. You’ll find more intel and how-to on that here.
p.s. Drums of Autumn is part of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series — really good historical fiction … and ancestral history for some. Find more on the author and the books here.