In recent days I have discovered the resilience of Ginkgo. Every Monday morning on my Facebook page I have been proposing a reflection as the intention of the week. Last Monday, looking around to choose where to draw inspiration from, the first thing that caught my attention was the book Linfa e Prana by two dear friends Deborah Pavanello (writer, naturopath, and yoga teacher) and Alberto Marchesi (engineer and photographer). I opened a random page of the book and here’s what was there.
“Eternity – Ginkgo”
it is an ancient and resistant tree. […] It is therefore not surprising that it was considered a sacred tree, so much so that it was cultivated by Taoist monks to adorn the perimeter of the temples with its green or golden leaves according to the seasons.
Enveloped by this aura of sacredness and eternity, Ginko seems not to be touched by the becoming of the time. It is a powerful plant presence, capable of defeating time, preventing and correcting the marks it leaves.
[…] Ginko has spanned the centuries and is still here today, capable of resisting not only time but also the harshest climates, temperatures that drop far below zero, drought, and pollution [. ..] a plant that has witnessed the appearance of new living species and the disappearance of others, the evolution of kingdoms and the remodeling of territories […] “
(from Linfa e Prana by Deborah Pavanello and Alberto Marchesi)
This message is particularly powerful for me personally. In a period such as the present one where our life is continually upset by government provisions that have an important impact on our family and social life and on our ability to generate income, being inspired by this tree allows me to seek my center and keep the bar straight, aware that this phase will pass anyway, and it depends only on me how I go through it.
Ginkgo shows us resilience
Today there is a lot of talk about resilience, which is described as the ability to bend, without breaking, under pressure and difficulties, or as the ability to persevere and adapt in the face of challenges. Several researchers say that resilience, like many other skills, can be learned: a key ingredient is optimism. Be careful, it is not about an “unrealistic” optimism, nor of denying that something bad has happened or could happen, but of having a positive attitude.
Three ways to develop and train our resilience, inspired by Ginkgo are:
- Accept reality: we try to accept that things are in a certain way, and to look at them objectively as they are in the present, without dramatizing them, sweetening them, nor hoping that they are different. External reality is out of our control, so what we can control is how we choose to look at it and how we choose to act (or not act) with respect to it.
- Be Positive: Life is a continuous swing of good times and hard trials. When it happens to be in a difficult moment, after looking at it for what it is, let’s try to find what it can offer us and teach us, let’s make it our ally and not our enemy. And let’s see if there really is absolutely nothing we can put on the balance on the positive side. Although small, it will still be a starting point.
- Change the way of thinking about failure: mistakes are a fundamental part of our life, so they must be accepted as a step towards our goal. If we talk to researchers we will find that all scientific discoveries come after a disproportionate number of wrong attempts. Entrepreneurs will tell us that their most successful product or service has come after several failures. The fear of failure can block us and prevent us from achieving what we want, what should really scare us is not even trying, this is the only real failure.
What if we don’t make it? It happens, and in some cases, however painful, it is the best thing that can happen to us because it allows us to rebuild and to reinvent ourselves.
Kintsugi: the art of repairing wounds with gold
I like to think of resilience more as the ability to make ourselves more open and available to seize new opportunities. It happens to break, and when it happens to stay open and seize the opportunity it can mean that that rift can be used as an entry point for something new. In that case, as the Kintsugi teaches us – let’s mend our wounds with gold and make them a strength.
When a bowl, a teapot, or a precious vase fall and shatter into a thousand pieces, we throw them away with regret, sometimes even with anger. This ancient Japanese practice does the exact opposite: it highlights the fractures, embellishes them, and adds value to the broken object. The technique consists of bringing together the fragments giving it a new aspect through the embellished scars. Each repaired piece becomes unique and unrepeatable, due to the randomness with which the ceramic shatters and the irregular, branched decorations that are formed and that is enhanced by the metal. The beauty of this art lies in underlining a crucial moment in the life of an object, the one in which it yields and breaks, and highlighting that not only can it maintain its magnificence, but it can acquire a new one: the instant it breaks is that a very brief parenthesis in a long journey.
Personally, I am learning to adorn my wounds with gold, to show them instead of hiding them, denying them even to myself, so that they remind me and tell me the road I have traveled so far, and give me the inspiration to reach the next goal.
And how are you going through this period?
“I cannot change what happens, I can change how I choose to act” this, along with “be the change you want to see in the world” are some of the principles of my life, which I refer to as often as I can. And as the resilience of Ginkgo teaches us, we resist the elements with Presence and with the strength of our values. Each of us is supporting what is important to us right now. Let’s do it together, with the will and with the heart!
I can support you by offering you to experience my coaching way. You can book a free session here. I will help you connect with your inner strength to bring a concrete change in your life and you will close the session with new insights. You can also offer this opportunity to someone you think needs it by simply reporting this article to them.
So do you want to learn the resilience of Ginkgo?