Saturday, April 17, 2021

Sustaining Courage

Body, MindAnd Spirit
Dianne Saywell

Sisu is not momentary courage, but rather the ability to sustain courage. It is a word that cannot be fully translated. It defines the Finnish people and their character.

Finlanders are not so much known for their warmth or openness, but for their tenacity towards gaining achievements. Sisu is a word the Finns use to describe the ability to not only survive and succeed, but to excel in the face of overwhelming odds. This concept can be seen in their history of wars and fighting with the Russians whose troops and artillery outnumbered them four to one.

The number of Olympic athletes Finland produces is very impressive indeed.

The will of sheer determination is not a quality we are necessarily born with. The will to survive is innate, but the spirit is susceptible to surrendering easily when faced with worldly issues that overwhelm us. I do imagine that our own upbringing and childhood socialization shapes our values and self-concept when it comes to competition and the need to succeed as we approach adversity in life. However, as we grow into adulthood, we can learn to cultivate qualities that, when faced with road blocks, may be called up to the surface to enable us to rise above what blocks our journey.

It seems, as studies reveal, that humans need humans to bond and bind together to form stronger forces and increase the odds of survival. Consider support groups such as those for cancer survivors. Humans are able to bond over emotional or physical pain in a social context. The ability to relate can often give us the ability to overcome. There are many varieties of support groups or therapies which can help us along the way in the journey we call life. We just need to cultivate hope and reach out. We are a herding species, just like a lot of life forms we can observe and see. Sometimes, against all odds, we survive and excel beyond what we ever dreamed possible. This is our sisu.

What we NEED to get by with is one thing. Those basic necessities of feeling comfortable and getting by are pretty well attained by most. When we WANT to move to higher ground, pass the crowd and come into our own glory… that’s when it calls for some sisu. The good news is we can make our mind up to do just that. It’s a decision. We can choose it, move towards it and far beyond it. Any limitations we may encounter in life require our own personal SISU.


Dianne Saywell works full time at a local dental office where she educates and helps maintain the oral health of the patients as a dental hygienist. She also spends her time introducing people to and sharing the healing power of YOGA, and the health it brings to the body, mind and spirit. Yoga, along with many other great classes, is offered at Healthy Body/Marco Fitness Club.

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