Layout Image

Resilience and the Five Dimensions of Life

mooreIt’s been interesting listening to the news media marvel at the resilience of the Okies in Moore, Oklahoma in the wake of the devastation that hit the small town. Crises have a way of bringing us to back to reality and forcing us to deal with priorities in a way nothing else does. If you put the news interviews in the context of the five dimensions of life my posts have described, you begin to see how these dimensions manifest themselves in a balance that provides resilience in the face of adversity and despite devastating circumstances gives an individual the power to take charge of life and move on.

Resilience and the five dimensions

The five dimensions – physical, family, spiritual, emotional, social – clearly play a part in the resilience of the individuals interviewed in the tornadoes that touched the lives of the Moore, Oklahoma disaster. The physical dimension from a health and security perspective. Those most fit weathered the storm best. And from a security perspective, schools and individuals knew what to do. For the most part, the residents took the right action in the face of a devastating storm and only 24 lives were lost in what could have been the most horrific loss the nation faced from a tornado. Physical endurance and a sense of security builds resilience.

life domainsFamilies’ first thoughts were for other family members and parents, grandparents, extended family members headed to the places they knew their loved ones might have been to rescue them. They took each other in, search debris fields for pictures, mementos, and other salvageable items and just to know each was safe. Thoughts were focused on life and safety. Material things disappeared from their vocabulary after the storm. No one talked much about the loss of property or things, they talked about life. Everything else could be replaced. Family builds resilience.

We saw many talk about prayer during the storm. Reaching deep into themselves and outward for a higher power as they realized there was nothing they could do to help themselves in the face of nature’s wrath. And when the storm was over, churches became the central receiving and distribution centers for shelter and aid. Why? Because as a community, the church stood as a symbol of aid and assistance before the tornado helping people in small ways. It was a place of faith in good times and bad before the tornado struck. It was a natural place to turn in disaster because it was a familiar place to many of the citizen before the disaster. This is the “Bible Belt” of the nation. Faith builds resilience.

We observed the emotional dimension as people showed raw emotion in the aftermath. Sorrow from the loss of friends and loved ones. Joy in finding loved ones alive. Relief, resolve, thanksgiving, awe, discouragement, anxiety, anger, denial, grief. We saw the gamut of emotions. We saw them expressed openly by the citizens of Moore. We saw loved ones and friends accepting their emotions without question recognizing that it’s okay to feel and express emotion in times of crisis. Through it all, the one emotion that kept coming back time and again was joy. Loved ones found alive and okay. Everything gone, but still alive. Joy despite the circumstances. Priorities reordered because of the events of the day. Proper ordering of priorities and proper expression of emotion builds resilience.

The social dimension came alive. Close friends gave solace and helped in tangible ways. Friends and acquaintances opened homes and gave unsparingly to aid victims. Tribes poured out generously because of kindred spirits recognizing the pain each victim felt and in some ways empathizing with their loss and need. People helping people. A strong social network builds resilience.

These five dimensions work together to make us strong. They help us face the crises that come our way. Pull any of the five out and we weaken in our resolve to face the circumstance we are in. Can we make it without any of them? Maybe, but not as well. The combination of the five and their interaction and integration make the news interviews in Moore not so surprising. It is a community in the middle of the nation’s “Bible Belt.” They have a strong spiritual culture. The faith of the individual and the community shapes the other dimensions of life and brings into perspective what is truly important in life. It’s not the things that surround us. It’s the lives we live and the people around us. Everything else can be rebuilt or replaced. Only the people and our relationships with them really count. Faith builds resilience.

Need help with understanding or balancing the five dimensions of your life? Contact me for a free session.

free session