• Dr. Maureen Orey

Building Resilience: Seeking Balance - When Resilience Means Letting Go

I Iearned something new about ducks the other day… did you know that old worn feathers must be replaced annually? Nature provides us with so many lessons in resilience. If we simply pay attention, we can learn some inspiring ideas!



Ducks depend on their feathers to help them fly and to protect them from the elements.


Molting is the process of replacing worn feathers, is like putting on a new feather coat each year. Losing and replacing all of one's feathers can take up to two weeks and interestingly the process of molting renders ducks flightless, during a portion of this time they are at a greater risk to predators until the new feathers come in.


The lesson we can learn from nature, is that there will be times in life when we must release some things that we think are or have been essential in order to make space for new opportunities.


This reminds me of an ancient Chinese proverb that I have always loved,

In the course of a long life a wise man will be prepared to abandon his baggage several times.

If we learn anything from the challenges of the last year, it is that we must be willing to release our own old worn “feathers” and develop new ones so that we can continue to thrive. We may feel vulnerable as we go through this process but remember that it is temporary and soon enough, we will be flying high again.



A key concept in the StayAfloat! Resilience model is that of BALANCE.


Life can get overwhelming, and it is helpful to strive to travel lighter and live simpler. What can you release in your life that will help you be a bit “lighter”- literally or figuratively?


Some examples of old and worn “feathers” I have had to shed this past year include business clients, false friends, negative mindset, stubborn attitudes, toxic habits and lots of STUFF (in the garage).


Like the ducks, we don’t always get to choose when we lose our “feathers” - sometimes it’s just the season for change and we must endure being “flightless” for a bit. Sounds kind of like quarantine, doesn’t it?


So when you can, be intentional with your actions to help you achieve your goals.



Remember, the garage doesn’t clean itself.


Embrace the lessons of nature and your life will be stronger and more beautiful when you do.


If you find these little tips useful, make sure you check out the new StayAfloat! program! We are working hard to develop a comprehensive, well researched new version of this training to help you develop your resilience and to:

✔ Be prepared to deal with uncertainty

✔ Be mindful of new realities and know what tools to use to cope with them

✔ Have professional survival skills

✔ Have new connections and a community that you can rely on

More details coming soon!


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