Written by Doctor G

Making History Can Build Resilience

I’m writing this to you just after attending a truly historic event.

On Tuesday in Washington, DC on the National Mall, I attended the largest gathering ever of American Jews. This gathering of 290,000 humans, standing for Israel and calling for the release of hostages and standing against Jew hatred, was historic for a number of reasons and… I almost didn’t go.

Come on. I mean, a five hour drive down to DC (and then five hours back). Long (long!) lines. No guarantee of being able to hear or see what’s going on. Porta-potties. Strict rules about what you can and can’t bring. The parking! No food vendors and no real way to leave the event to eat and get back in. No chairs! And also, it could definitely be actually dangerous.

And. And. And.

Can you see yourself opting out? I’ve legit said no to events in the past for fewer reasons than these.

If you’ve been around this blog for any length of time – or if we met because you learned with me at an event or I consult for your organization – you know that I work pretty hard to apply the ideas I teach to my own life. So when I was trying to decide what to do about the March for Israel, that meant I:

  • Gave myself a little empathy. It IS far and it WILL be a lot of standing and waiting and carrying our own supplies. And it really might be dangerous and that’s scary. 
  • Then I asked myself two questions: Is this avoidable or unavoidable? Avoidable. I don’t have to go. Is this useless or useful? And I decided it was useful. It is useful to build connection as I face the rise of antisemitism against me personally (so far just online) and in my community and and in the world. It is useful to hear what others have to say. It is useful to show my kids I mean what I say I believe in. It is useful to shout for the return of the hostages and for a lasting and sustainable peace and to bring attention to the fact that the Red Cross refuses to check on the hostages and to speak up about the need for an end to Hamas and terror for both Israelis and Palestinians. It is useful to be a part of making history rather than just reacting to it. 
  • Last, I chose a goal. To make this experience as safe and meaningful for me and for my people as I possibly could.

It was, thank Gd, safe. Due in large part to the tireless work of a handful of people, one of whom I’m lucky enough to be partnered with, there was enough security and planning and presence and collaboration and calls for peace that no one was hurt and no one was arrested despite this being the second largest First Amendment march in DC in over a decade.

And it was one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. The plurality of thought and speech. The unified call for compassion and care for hostages and their families. The energy and love and gratitude expressed from the stage and on the mall. And one of my sons was asked to speak at the event, so I’m incredibly grateful I didn’t miss that.

Resilience is one’s ability to navigate change with intention and purpose towards a positive goal. This experience made me more resilient in ways that strengthen me now and recharge me for the future. 

I’m glad I said yes to this experience.

What experience might make you more resilient in your own life?

All my best,

Dr. G

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A widely recognized media personality, Dr. G is your go-to expert on resilience. Countless broadcast outlets rely on her contagious humor and illuminating stories to tackle tough topics. She is regularly seen on TV, as well as interviewed for print and digital outlets. Here, she’s answering your questions. Search for the answers you need, or ask her your question now!
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