We can survive really difficult things, but is it possible to surthrive – meaning, to thrive even in difficult circumstances?
I was reminded of a conversation I had three years ago with my friend and mentor Alex McManus I read in his new book that thriving is the metric by which we measure Human rulership. As I remember, Alex was testing out some thoughts on me he was exploring; we ended up imagining what the world would look like if we find ourselves part of a Human mission to make all things thrive – all life, and our planet and universe?
If the quality of a Human life is best measured by how much it thrives, if our actions are measured by how they enable everything we touch to thrive, then it will have to be in an imperfect world. Is it hard to posit such a world?
‘A world that works for everyone does not exist in the
imagination. So we must feed the imagination.’*
Albert Espinosa shares how he came to believe the word “pain” doesn’t exist. When younger he had to undergo painful injection after painful injection, but then a friend suggested pain doesn’t exist, he decided to try it out. This time the needle puncturing his skin didn’t feel like pain but something else, and he concludes:
The secret is not to be unfeeling or made of iron, but
to allow yourself to be penetrated, to be touched,
and then to rename whatever it is you feel.’
I think the reason I’m including this is because it’s about using our imaginations to look on what lies behind what is happening to us, to know it for what it is,** and then to bring love and imagination to bear – to move beyond “It’s not possible.”
Which is what makes this yellow.
It leaves me pondering whether our ability to thrive in difficult circumstances is dependent upon or “structural integrity” – the degree to which we are open to and connected with others, our world, and our future Self – from which we derive a sense of increasing wholeness and move forward rather than simply standing still.
(*From Alex McManus’s Makers of Fire.)
(**Albert Espinosa goes on to share: ‘Physical pain – an aching heart – all of these really conceal other sensations, other feelings. And these can be overcome. When you know what you’re feeling, it’s easier to get over it. Nassim Taleb suggests in the opening lines of Antifragile: ‘Antifragility is beyond resilience and robustness. The resilient resists and remains the same; the anti fragile gets better.’)