February 18th, 2014
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The essence of resilience is bouncing back to a healthy place after you have been counted out.
Emotionally resilient people recognize that some good can come from even the most traumatic events.  Not only are people resilient but cities can be too.  Look at New York City.  In the 1970’s, New York City was a dangerous place.  It’s economy was on the verge of collapse and its streets and subways were full of crime and gangs and homeless people.  People could not find jobs.  Traveling to New York City today, there is hardly any evidence of its darker and grittier side from that time.
This transformation didn’t take place over night.  It took years of hard work coupled with coordinated community support and a collective spirit of determination that things were going to get better, that New Yorkers were not going to put up with such a desperate way of life.People in the midst of loss can feel this kind of desperation too and during their mourning period there sometimes comes a point — and it’s different for all of us — when they decide they are sick and tired of being sick and tired.  I have felt that dragging sorrow when I was so immersed in in the upside down of my life that I couldn’t see the possibility of anything good happening.  But a voice inside myself pushed me to put one foot in front of the other and with help from family and friends I did begin to see that there just had to be something else out there for me, something that was a more hopeful way of life.
Having a sense of hope is crucial.  Tell yourself it could be right around the bend or in the next conversation or in the next day because with hope we can find the strength to hang on and push through, finding a new direction and a new way to rebuild our lives.

Veronika Scott and her sleeping bag coat
Photo Courtesy of ABC News

I write about empowerment today because of my discovery of Veronika Scott on YouTube.  Veronika Scott lives in the infamous yet troubled city of Detroit, or Motown, a city that once was known as America’s automotive center but was recently declared bankrupt by a judge.  Veronika Scott cultivates resilience every day, not only within herself but also in others looking for work in Detroit.

This Youtube video featuring Veronika and her project inspires me and I have watched it at least 20 times because each time I watch I am struck by the simplicity of her idea, the passion she has for her work, the hope she is giving to others and the power of a sewing machine.  Please check it out:


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