By Lea Johnson
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Members of Team Pete often hear about the importance of being resilient, but may struggle with what that means or how to actually practice resiliency.
Team Pete members were invited to attend the National Prayer Luncheon at The Club, Feb. 19, to take a moment and learn more about the definition of resiliency.
The speaker at this year’s luncheon was Dr. Robert Wicks. Wicks is a professor at Loyola University Maryland and is the author of more than 40 books, including “Bounce: Living the Resilient Life,” of which all attendees were given a free copy.
“Resilience is not simply bouncing back, it’s bouncing back in a deeper place,” he said.
According to Wicks, there are dangers to being caring and compassionate.
The first danger is over involvement.
“I don’t worry that you don’t care enough, I worry that you care too much,” Wicks said. “Detachment is part of a triad. First you step back, secondly you reappraise, third you renew.”
The second danger is anger and hurt among colleagues.
“Every unit has people that are burned out, that are angry, nothing is ever right,” he said. “Don’t give your joy away to those people but also don’t pick on those people.”
The final two dangers are acute and chronic secondary stress.
Acute secondary stress is when we interact with people who have been physically injured, sexually, emotionally, psychologically or spiritually abused. “You don’t only run the risk of catching their flus and colds, you run the risk of catching their sense of despair and helplessness,” Wicks said.
Wicks then compared chronic secondary stress to sitting in a bathtub where the temperature is raised one degree every 10 minutes. “How will the bather know when to scream?” he asked. “We don’t know when to scream today and we need the kinds of patience and perseverance that helps us ride these waves.”
Wicks also warned not to assume that someone who has a hard time at work will have a good home-life to balance it out. “When your personal stress and your professional stress come together, it is lethal,” he said.
So what should Team Pete do to mitigate these risks?
“It’s not the amount of darkness in the world that matters. It’s not the amount of darkness in the U.S. that matters. It’s how you stand in that darkness,” he said.
Wicks went into detail about how to maintain a balanced life, or resiliency. The three elements of a balanced life are a presence to others, presence to self, and presence to something greater than self.
Wicks encouraged several things including exercise, friendship and a set time every day for mindfulness or prayer.
“I’m going to suggest, take two minutes a day in silent solitude enwrapped in gratitude,” he said. “Regularity is more important than length of time. If you take out the centering time, you’re going to lose perspective and you’ll only have it when things are awful in your life.”