Frank Sinatra crooned, “You make me feel so young.” After months of living with a broken record player (literal not figurative!), it sounded heavenly. What a voice. I love when he sings,
The moment that you speak
I want to go play hide and seek
I wanna go and bounce the moon
Just like a toy balloon
Bouncing the moon. Like a toy balloon. A visual representation of resilience. I imagine those punch balloons from the ‘80s that took ages to fill with air. But once they were filled, the weight of them felt satisfying in a way that helium balloons did not.
Turns out our record player was almost fully functional. Just missing one piece: the pre-amplifier. What’s that, you wonder?
A preamp converts a weak electrical signal into a stronger one capable of noise tolerance, strong enough for further processing, or for sending sound to an amplifier/loudspeaker. “Without this, the final signal would be noisy or distorted.” Thank you, Wikipedia.
Frank and our broken record player taught me about resilience.
We often hear about increasing our “windows of tolerance.” It’s about finding the zone in which we function most effectively. In that zone, we are resilient. We respond to circumstances as they arise appropriately, using skills from our toolbox. We feel the natural rise and fall of our emotions and can tolerate them, staying within the zone.
Think of making dinner on a hot stove with the TV on nearby, family members asking for x or y, and then the phone ringing. For some, the phone ringing will take us outside the window of tolerance. For others, we handle the additional input with equanimity.
Resilience means widening our windows of (noise) tolerance. It’s about knowing we have a choice in how we respond to our circumstances.
Resilience involves processing our emotions and circumstances fittingly. Once processed, we bounce back like a toy balloon.
A good friend told me, “Laura, the only way out is through.” Ain’t that the truth. We spend a lot of time avoiding what we don’t want to think, see, or feel. By distracting ourselves, we think we’re fine. It’s no big deal.
And that works … until it doesn’t, as I heard Chelsea Handler say on a Smartless podcast last year.
The capacity to sit with an emotion or circumstance lets us respond instead of react. Resilience lives in response not reaction.
It’s only by looking within and identifying our own resilience that we use our loudspeaker effectively. Otherwise, it’s empty air. Listeners sense the qualitative difference when speakers know themselves.
Until I develop my own resilience, meaning awareness of my circumstances, my instinctive responses, and emotional reactions, I don’t own my microphone. At best, I’m a mouthpiece. At worst, I add distortion to the mix.
Fixing the broken record player with the preamp meant getting rid of the distortion. Resilience performs the same function – gets rid of our distortion by providing clarity. Then we move from problem mode to solution mode. When we ask clear questions, we get clear answers.
The final words of Frank sang through the stereo:
And even when I’m old and gray
I’m going to feel the way I do today
‘Cause you, you make me feel so young
Sinatra connects youth with feeling good. While I don’t think any age has a lock on feeling good, I agree with his intent. We feel buoyant – resilient – when we’re young. That’s a feeling to savour. So go ahead and bounce the moon, just like a toy balloon.