I must have been around 5 years of age, when my dad brought home a gift, one evening after work. On seeing him, I put my mermaid-barbie doll aside and ran to him, all the while eyeing the little wrapped gift box in his hand. Knowing that I was a curious-cupcake, my dad made me sit on his lap and gave me the little box and said to me, “My dear child, this box contains something magical. Something that is going to complete you as a person and is going to teach you one of the greatest lessons in life”.I had my fingers crossed, hoping it would be new pink glittery fairy wings for my barbie doll, or wait! Maybe even a tiara for her…. As a 5 year old, little did I know that what the box contained would be the founding stone for one of my biggest strengths to this day.. With uncontrolled enthusiasm and curiosity, I ripped open the box and to my dismay, there were no fairy wings or tiara! What was inside the box was a very dull-looking, rather small rubber ball. Atleast it was pink in color. I picked it up in my little hands and looked at my dad with confusion. He laughed and encouraged me to throw it on the floor. I did as I was told, wishing it would roll away into a dark corner and be lost forever so that my dad would get me a sensible gift!! But what happened next blew my mind away! “BOINGGGG”! The little pink rubber ball came bouncing right back up! I remember vividly how my eyes widened with joy and I sprung down from my dad’s lap to catch it. I threw it again, this time as hard as my little hand could and again it bounced right back up, but this time, higher, with a louder “boingggg”. I remember my dad watching me with contentment that he had showed his 5 year old, how to bounce back higher when she fell harder – he had taught me resilience that day.
Oh wait! You are probably wondering who I am!! You are reading this in the presence of Manisha Manoharan, the first of her name, the Nth next best thing to the tribal chief – Mohammed Rafi (who you were probably hoping to learn something from but I know, I know… you ask for hazelnuts and sometimes all you get are peanuts! That’s life. So deal with it!), the Rolling Pumpkin from hilltops (like literally!), Protector and Relisher of all great food, the Unabashed, the Mother of Biryani, the Queen of Food Metaphors, and Khaleesi of The Tribe of Magic of Change!! On some lull days when I am not performing my duties as the Khaleesi, I like to believe that I am productive by duping as a behavioral trainer who transforms the crap out of young-adults and teenagers, who have been so gracious enough to learn from me! God bless those innocent souls! Oh, I also write such crazy blogs for Magic of Change. So on with it! Dracarys!!
Alrighty! Since you have been so patient enough to get this far and you managed to survive the anecdote from my life and my extremely humble introduction, I am hoping you know by now what it is that I am going to talk to you about. It’s my biggest strength and pride and I am sure it is for many of you too. Today, I am going to talk to you about RESILIENCE – THE ART OF BOUNCING BACK.
Okay, so what is resilience? It is the ability of a person to bounce back from an adverse situation, setbacks and problems, and to cope with the challenges and move forward in life, stronger than before. Just like a bouncing ball. The harder you throw it down, the higher and stronger it bounces right back up. There is a reason why I prefer to call resilience as the art of bouncing back. Art is the act of expressing feelings, thoughts and observations and by bouncing back you are merely expressing your feelings and thoughts of wanting to move forward in life, all the while ensuring you are doing it consistently. You are in a state of free flow, uninhibited and limitless when you bounce back, just like a beautiful work of art. Your way of bouncing back is unique to you – something that has been designed through the creativity of your mind. Again, just like a beautiful work of art. Each time you bounce back, your perspective about your life changes, and it gets better and better with each time. And just like art, resilience requires patience, openness and colossal amounts of perseverance until you learn to create masterpieces.
Someone once asked me, why bounce back? Let me remind you again of my first encounter with the bouncing ball. Had the ball never bounced back and had it rolled into a dark, dingy corner, never to be found again, the 5 year old I would have got off my dad’s lap with annoyance rather than with joy. I would have sat wondering why my dad never thought to buy my barbie doll the fairy wings I had always wanted. I wouldn’t have learnt to appreciate the little things in my life that made it beautiful, like the look of contentment on my dad’s face. I would have never realized that it wasn’t my Barbie doll that needed wings. It was this potato chunk of a little girl who needed wings and that small pink rubber ball was going to teach her how to grow them!
Adversities, pain, fear, suffering and challenges are a part and parcel of everyone’s lives. They are inevitable. It is impossible as a child to learn how to walk without going through these and thereby, growing through these. When we fell after taking our first step, our body did not give up. Neither did our mind. We got back up and took another and another and another step until it became a giant leap for us. Even at an age when we were not able to pronounce the word “resilience” every inch, nerve, fiber, cell of our body resonated with it and propelled us forward.
Resilience helps you be prepared for the slippery road of life ahead. It reinstalls the faith in yourself that you will move forward no matter, all the while prepping you to be more open to uncertainties and risks. The art of bouncing back will instill in you a renewed sense of achievement, purpose for living, immense satisfaction and joy, like how a nomad arriving at a beautiful lush-green, cool-blue oasis, with stunningly gorgeous belly dancers waiting to give him a sponge bath and feed him dates, in the middle of the desert would feel!!
So how do you get yourself to this oases, I mean, learn to inculcate resilience – the art of bouncing back? There are so many great teachers across the planet who speak of many things to do to be resilient. But my greatest teachers were my own life and the protagonist of this really long blog – The Damned Pink Bouncing Ball! And of course, my all-time favorite, Paulo Coelho, who was gracious enough to share with us in his book, The Alchemist, that the secret of life is to fall seven times and to get up eight times!
So I will be sharing with you all now, the extremely mighty 10 things I have learnt, followed and practiced religiously till date in my life to bounce back, higher and stronger.
So, I hope that if you managed to get this far, you have also probably read the entire blog!! (bows down in gratitude and sheds tears of joy!). Be the bouncing ball! And go BOINGGGGGG! Right back up everytime life throws you down. Resilience or the Art of Bouncing Back is all about never giving up and I trust you won’t either! Grazias! Adios! Bubye in all the languages! Take care! Ti Amo.