Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Is this bud for you?

Here it is – the perfect discussion for the middle of a “good old fashioned” Midwest winter, smack dab in the middle of the not-so-good, new-fashioned “Great Recession.”
So, when does a recovery actually begin, anyway? 
Learning how to perfectly time and execute a graceful, productive recovery is of keen interest in this harsh winter, this harsh economy. It’s especially top of mind for me; just yesterday I learned of a serious illness that a seriously good friend of mine is facing– more on that later.
Regarding all recoveries, it seems they share these traits:
  1. They begin immediately after everything seems like it can’t get any worse; be aware, though, this typically doesn’t mean that improvement comes dramatically. It usually does mean, though, that on average next week will be better than last week, and so on. Small solace, perhaps, but it often is enough to begin the healing in earnest.
  2. Recoveries begin by honestly acknowledging the situation; until you face all the facts head on, you really can’t go anywhere.
  3. Action and attitude are equal partners in accelerating and sustaining the recovery. Without both, your recovery will be shallow and short.
The best illustration of the timing of a recovery comes from nature. Most of us first notice signs of Spring in March, after the first warm day. We hear birds singing and in particular, we see new buds on trees.
Those buds, however, actually began forming on the tree way back in November, even before that last leaves fell. Next season’s fruits were already in place, gathering form and nutrients before the shortest day of the year. Already, nature had laid the groundwork for a recovery before the shortest day of the year, before the humbling storms of January. Likewise for us, our recovery must begin even before we’ve hit bottom.
And so to my "bud" Michael, even though your surgery is over a month in the future, you might say “this bud’s for you” (even though we’re typically partial to stronger libations). Your attitude and your actions are signposts of a strong recovery that is already in progress.
May the process that all of us need to go through, both personally and collectively, be as full of laughter, commitment and energy as is your recovery.