Posted by: Donna Cunningham | January 9, 2010

Reclaiming Our Resilient Spirit

Donna says: One of the rewarding things about writing is that you learn so much yourself as you do the research. I recently encountered the idea of resilience training and decided to find out more about it. Resilience–the ability to spring back after a trauma or crisis–is something many of us need to develop amidst the losses and stress of the current Pluto-Saturn square. Eileen McDargh has written a book, The Resilient Spirit, and you can find a wealth of information and hope in her newsletter and the articles on her website.  Here’s one I found there, reprinted with her permission.

© 2009 by Eileen McDargh, McDargh Communications.  All rights reserved

Our spirits are taking a beating. The daily barrage of bad news, violence, shrinking resources, global warming, and economic slowdown can put us in a state of frustration and paralysis. Some days, getting out of bed can be a challenge.

Within the word “resilience” are actions we can take to reclaim our bounce-back ability.

R: Remember to breathe. The ability to calm down is critical in order to take stock and move forward.

E: Enlist support of others. Love people and be lovable in return. A supportive family (whether genetic or hand-picked) is what keeps people alive. The English word wretched comes from the Middle English word wrecche which means “without kin nearby.

S: Stay focused. Intentionality lays the groundwork for what we want in our life. See it, say it and claim it. Don’t let external forces cloud your vision.

I: Identify your strengths. Energy and good health are two of the most essential ingredients in resiliency. Work on your physical well being first because it is the quickest way to gain control over a world that is uncontrollable.

L: Laugh out loud. You’ll be amazed at the looks you get. And you’ll feel better.

I: Insist on optimism. Positive mental health comes from the ability to reframe a situation. This is not the Pollyanna or head- in-sand avoidance of reality but rather a recall of ways in which you have handled similar situations.

E: Extend yourself to others. Self-absorption backfires. It only serves to deepen depression and worry. Going out to serve others lifts the cloud around yourself and allows you to become both blessed and a blessing.

N: Never say “never”. The resilient spirit knows that there is always tomorrow.

T: Thanks-give it! There is much to be grateful for.

©2009 by Eileen McDargh of McDargh Communications. You may reprint this article so long as it remains intact with the byline and if all links are made live.

(See many more helpful articles like this one in Eileen’s FreeResources section and on her Plain TalkBlog  and a further article on resilience here: Astrological Clues to Resilience—the Houses as Havens after Trauma.)

About the Author: Since 1980, professional speaker and Hall of Fame member Eileen McDargh has helped Fortune 100 companies as well as individuals create connections that count and conversations that matter. Her latest book is Gifts from the Mountain-Simple Truths for Life’s Complexities. Her other books include Talk Ain’t Cheap…It’s Priceless and Work for a Living and Still Be Free to Live, one of the first books to address the notion of balance and authentic work. A 59 year-old grandmother, she recently returned from climbing among the highest mountains in the world. Find out more about this compelling and effective professional speaker and join her free newsletter by visiting and her Plain TalkBlog . Contact her by calling (949) 496-8640  or email


  1. Hi Donna: Thanks for sharing this entry. I’m intrigued by the concept of resilience. It seems we see that most of the most resilient people are not those who had a relatively smooth life/family, but those who had been in and out of the wringer! Could resilience be an– outcome(?) of when Saturn/Pluto aspects are well handled?

    Then, there’s the concept of people with medium/psychic skills. They are very Plutonian, and they, too, often received baptism by fire… The article just got me thinking…

    • It intrigued me, too, Kristy, and it’s something I’d like to explore further for and through Skywriter, because if it’s really possible to increase the capacity for resilience, then right now is a good time to be doing it. I will say that in all my years of observing them, strongly Plutonian people, and especially those with Pluto-Saturn aspects do seem to go through more baptisms of fire and come out of it stronger than folks with less of an emphasis on Pluto.

      Maybe it’s that the fire anneals us, like coal becoming diamonds under extreme pressure. Or maybe the very fact that we do have extremely intense emotional responses to things is part of how it happens. (Or, a third possibility, MAYBE I just think that because I’m a Plutonian myself.) Donna

  2. I totally agree. I look around me and I see that the most spectacular lives belong to Plutonians. I especially like about them the Comebacks!
    But as a person that has been raised by Plutonians I can say that they are also emotionally draining. I think I am a bit Plutonian myself (with Pluto on DSC, square Sun and Jupiter, ruler of SN) but untill now I haven’t been able to become a diamond, I’m still ‘under fire”.

    I am pretty skeptical about this square and his power, simply because I don’t believe Saturn in Libra has many chances in the battle with Pluto in Capricorn – a compromise is just utopic.

    The ideas promoted by Saturn in Libra are simply too rigid, too hard and too restrictive for a world that is now fighting for the last bits of welfare and social status. There are 5 stages of grief, I think now we are going through the 2nd – Bargaining, Saturn in Libra could mean the last stage – Acceptance and with it, a brighter future but only in exchange for a looot of hard work and much less glamour.

    • You raise a lot of excellent points, Criss–especially that about the stages of grief. Thanks for reminding me of them–it’s a good subject for a post later.

      Bargaining is exactly what I see most people doing right now–trying to patch up areas of their lives that are just not working anymore, thinking that if they can just hold on, it will all go away. Or hoping that if they can reason or sweet talk somebody into not being who they are, the relationship will get better. At that point, they sink back into denial that they’re heading for a permanent change.

      I think bargaining is a typical response to the first hit by any transiting planet. We like to think it’s going away, and maybe while that planet is retrograde, it looks like they’re right, so they breathe a sigh of relief and go back to business as usual. It’s only when they’re hammered by the second and third hits of that transit that they start to see that they must change. Donna

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