Episode 46: Maria Sirois On Hope, Resilience and Grace

“The Goodness In Life Is Available To Us As Is The Darkness” Maria Sirois

This weeks conversation with Maria Sirois, who is the author of Happiness After Loss was like talking to a truth whisperer. I first came across Maria through her soul-filled TEDx talk called Living An Authentic Life and you can watch it here: Get you pen and paper ready as Maria shares so many insightful and helpful nuggets of wisdom. We begin by taking about resilience and what this word means to Maria, and how we can use it to strengthen our life. Maria talks about “world weariness” and how there will be times that we will feel hopeless and it will be resilience that allows for our best self to come through to the other side. She shares how that positivity and suffering co-exist and it is when we draw upon the good and the true we will be able to view suffering as a place we visit versus falling into an abyss. Maria shares that there is no way to navigate these types of moments alone and the people who flourish and thrive are those who have trusted friends that they can lean upon. They also have the courage to reach out and ask for help. She gently reminds us that is a falsehood to think or believe that we can (or should) get through the darker moments alone.

“Crisis moments allow us to get super clear – who am I going to spend time

with and who is a waste of my time”

We talk about technology, and I ask Maria her thoughts on how resilience and connection are sustainable with the era of cell phones. Maria feels that underneath, even with all our technology there is a deep need of belonging. She believes that for the younger generation the gap and stress come from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and for baby boomers, the gap and stress arrive when we think we should know it all, due to the high accessibility of so much information.

Maria shares the meaning of this beautiful cover of her book – the image of a broken bowl that has been repaired with gold lacquer and talks about the art of Kintsugi –  the idea is that even though we are fractured and flawed or imperfect – as we are imperfect we are still whole, flawed and magnificent, flawed and still wonderful.We talk about authenticity especially in relation to recovering perfectionists and how the delusional myth of “we are meant to be perfect” can keep us separate from our best self. Maria shares that authenticity is about moving closer and closer to your true values and the things that bring you joy. Choosing to make the choices that bring you less harm and create more good into the world. When we talk about true authenticity it is about moving closer towards our best self and how can I be at my best, do my best and help others do the same.

Maria shares one of my favorite definitions of Positive Psychology. “Positive psychology is studying human beings at their best – what do these people know, that we can replicate and then teach others.  Positive psychology is not about being a member of the “happy clappy” club, it is about creating practices that allow you to move you to be the best that you can be.”

We talk about aging gracefully and how to move forward with love and ease – “The more you fill your day with things that uplift you and nourish you the less frightening time is.”  Maria invites us to imagine it’s the day of your 90th birthday, and your friend gets up to tell the story of your life. What would you want that story to be? Choose to shape your days well and create meaning – Craft your day, craft your journey, create your destiny.

We touch on grief and what Maria’s thoughts are around it. She shares that suffering is universal yet it is deeply personal and our experience of grief will be unique. There will be grief and suffering in our lives and even in this space, we can find beautiful lessons. Suffering allows for compassion and so the more we are in touch with this space the more we can hold this space for others.

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More About Maria

Dr. Maria Sirois is a psychologist and seminar leader who teaches internationally in the intersection of resilience and flourishing. Maria is Known for her wisdom, authenticity and rampant humor, she brings invigorating practices and perspectives to corporate and non-profit audiences alike. Maria Sirois is the author of A Short Course in Happiness After Loss (And Other Dark, Difficult Times) and also Every Day Counts.  A master teacher, she has been called an orator of great power and beauty. With Tal Ben-Shahar, she co-leads a year-long certificate program in positive psychology for executives, educators, entrepreneurs, counselors and the general public.

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