“What if the truest strength is as expansive as the tide; the fierce and gentle elements dancing together as one? What if this strength has the flexibility to be both soft and bold; to nourish and protect — because it is rooted in a foundation of love rather than fear? What could life be if you were strong like water?”- Aundi Kolber
“Water: voice of grief, / Cry of love, / In the flowing tear . . . / Blessed be water, / Our first mother.”- John O’ Donohue (1956-2007), Irish priest and poet
In her Introduction (“Strength in the Waves”) to Strong Like Water: Finding the Freedom, Safety and Compassion to Move through Hard Things — and Experience True Flourishing, licensed professional counselor Aundi Kolber states that assuming the burden of strength comes at great cost. Because taking the burden of ‘strong one’ leaves you feeling alone and weighed down.
Furthermore, you may find your identity in your armor — your tenacity and ability to survive. And when you experience a tender heart, Aundi observes, you shame yourself. Or find a way to suck it up again. Because you decide that vulnerability just isn’t worth it.
So, when the idea that ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ plays out in real life, it fails to hold up. In reality, Aundi stresses, what fails to kill you tends to isolate, traumatize, and cause deep harm. Unless you receive the support you need as you go through it.
However, Aundi exhorts, a better way exists:
“God is teaching me that no matter where I am in the process of healing, I am worthy of receiving love, compassionate care, and support. . . . that experiencing moments of both courage and tenderness is part of my journey. . . .
Now I know what it’s like to be strong like water, to gather in the aching parts of my story and support them with compassion and hope. Now I know, and can never not know again.”
Today’s question: How do you react to Aundi’s image of the truest strength – as expansive as the tide? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Attachment and authenticity”