“We must remember that we belong to each other.”—Mother Teresa
History repeatedly shines a bright light on the powerful nature of human resilience. We have all witnessed individual and community resilience in the months after 9/11, one of the most tragic events in American history. And, more recently, from our daily experiences navigating a global pandemic, we have all embraced the value of life, empathy and compassion for others.
On the 20th anniversary of 9/11, we find the world once again stressed by fear. We are grappling with a different horror, a global pandemic seemingly without an endpoint, one that has killed millions in 21 months. Again, two decades later, we live with uncertainty and fear.
We have learned that resilience is a shared response to traumatic events. Compassion and caring have defeated fear. Over time, human caring would overcome whatever separates us, especially with the acceptance of the new normal. In this global pandemic, conflict and division have taken a back seat in the war to save mankind from this deadly virus. All we need to do individually is to extend our hand with small acts of kindness.
The way in which we deal with the stresses and our “new norm” bestowed on us by the pandemic could be an indication of how resilient we really are. Resilience is defined as the ability to withstand or recover from difficult situations. If we could spring back despite the odds, we would have been victorious and restored equilibrium in life. During these unprecedented times, I believe we all have had a good test of resilience.
In general, most people have a large capacity for adapting and overcoming threatening events and experiences. While some individuals might be innately more resilient, there’s no doubt that resilience can be practiced and developed. Like the old adage says, “From all bad comes good,” and “When one door closes, another door opens.”
After six months of life-shifting experiences, I feel a sense of empowerment and optimism to regulate emotions and remain resilient. I choose to live with compassion and trust the universe.
My journey to the self in the last three months has brought me to different places rich with healing adventures here in North America. From Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Orange County, California, to New York City and Tucson, Arizona, I have evolved and grown emotionally and spiritually.
It was wonderful to experience a bit of freedom from pandemic fear and enjoy a possible post-COVID lifestyle. I met lots of new friends and rekindled old friendships, especially with my Assumption High School ’81 classmates.
New York City is slowly getting back its excitement and vibrancy. New York Fashion Week is alive, Broadway has reopened and the US Tennis Open had a full audience. My soul sister Vina Francisco is marking the 20th anniversary of 9/11 by being there.
Emotional wellness has also been part of my journey here. Emotions are a gift from God, who created each of us with a capacity to feel and to express our feelings to others. For this reason, we need to know how to express our emotions in healthy ways, learn how to cope with negative emotions, direct our emotions toward good outcomes, and give voice to our feelings in order to improve communications.
From denial to full expression, the spectrum of emotional growth is quite interesting. Emotional wellness is critical to our well-being and health. We need to manage our emotions effectively through challenges and change. Mindfulness is about self-awareness and accountability. It’s also about embracing all the goodness in your life and looking at your glass as half full rather than half empty.
In knowing our core values, we can focus on what’s important to us and see life’s bigger picture. If we are emotionally stable, we have the strength to navigate the stressors in our lives, whether it’s through meditation, therapy, exercise or creative pursuits such as art, music, or writing. It’s the ability to maintain a balance between work and play.
If we all try to maintain a good sense of emotional wellness, then this world will definitely be a better place. There’s no time like the present to begin! And if you can’t hug a person, go hug a tree instead!
I am looking forward to going home soon especially to be with my kids again. I will share with them the new book of leading dermatologist Dr. Clarissa “Issa” Cellona. She recently launched the creatively executed “What’s Up With My Skin?” published by Summit Books.
Inspired by almost 20 years of clinical and aesthetic practice, Doctor Issa wrote a guide not only for teens dealing with skin issues, but also for parents who encounter the same questions and concerns for their kids.
Written by the founder of Skincell, a leading derma clinic, “What’s Up With My Skin?” includes a primer on skin issues most frequently encountered by teenagers such as acne, body odor, body hair, eczema, dandruff and more. There is even a section dedicated to cosmetics and whitening.
Doctor Issa said: “Understandably, the challenges in managing teen skin can be very distressing not only to the young patient but to the parents as well … I wish to dispel all these skin myths and correct all the wrong information found on the less-than-trustworthy sources online.”
Aside from leading her group of board-certified dermatologists and highly trained personnel at Skincell, Doctor Issa is also an active consultant at St. Luke’s Medical Center Global City where she heads the Environmental Dermatology Unit.
“What’s Up With My Skin?” will be available at select Summit Books online partner stores, Skincell clinics and Skincell on Lazada. Follow @skincell.care on Instagram and Facebook or visit skincell.care.
In closing, I would like to honor my mother, Marixi Prieto, as she turns another year wiser. Her love, the love of a mother, is unconditional and with no limitations or boundaries. She has shown me that no matter how difficult life’s challenges are, I have her infinite wisdom, generous kindness, limitless love and support to count on. INQ