'Spiritual survival' for the recession

Why do some people succumb to anxiety and depression in the face of tough economic times while others not only survive, but thrive?

"The answer," according to mind-body healer Joan Borysenko, "is in developing the human capacity for resilience."

Aware that Oregonians are suffering a higher-than-average unemployment rate, Borysenko said in a recent interview that she intends to "unpack her spiritual survival kit" for the recession as part of a three-day workshop Dec. 4-6 at the Havurah Shir Hadash.

That talk, on Saturday night, Dec. 5, which is open to the public, is based on her latest book, "It's not the End of the World: Developing Resilience in Times of Change."

"Everyone knows resilient people," said Borysenko. "They make the best of life even after it has seemingly fallen apart. I'm speaking of people like Sen. John McCain who rebounded after being a prisoner of war, as well as others who have overcome serious illnesses and suffered every kind of trauma."

The current economic climate is presenting challenges to increasing numbers of individuals, Borysenko said.

"As I travel the country, I am finding more and more people who are afraid of uncertainty," she said. "We're in a period where familiar ways of coping don't seem to work, yet new solutions haven't yet shown themselves."

This uncertainty, said Borysenko, can also reveal itself to resilient individuals as "a sacred space where new opportunities present themselves and possibilities can be realized."

As part of her presentation, Borysenko said she will describe the five key characteristics of resilient individuals.

"Resilient people share a strong sense of faith," she said. "They face reality head-on, they have a tremendous ability to improvise with the tools they possess, they have a great sense of humor, and they have good friends, not merely friends who invite you to hold a pity-party, but who support you in your strengths.

"These are people who not only survive, but thrive in adversity, transforming themselves and finding more meaning and joy and happiness."

Information about the workshop, including the public "Resilience" talk, is available online at the Havurah Web site www.havurahshirhadash or by calling 488-7716.

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