Resilience River

Whenever You Feel Powerless: Think Niagara Falls

Sarah Hummell
4 min readJan 5, 2024


Photo by Tina Roberts on Unsplash

The first thing my therapist asked me as I attempted to summarize all of the horrible things that happened to me was, “How have you not had a nervous breakdown yet?” I didn’t have an answer for her. “You must have built up a lot of resiliency since childhood.” She determined.

Months later, while attempting to fall asleep, I thought about what she said as an endless array of thoughts were milling around my head. I was a ball of nerves in the ready stance, waiting for the hammer to drop or another crisis I would have to conquer. Then I was reminded of the Dream Time track Spotify recently suggested, Resilience-River.

I slowly drifted off to sleep, and as I dreamt, I found myself on a river. I realized that this was no random river of dreams. I recognized the landscape of my childhood. I saw Lewiston Landing to my left and Canada to my right. I knew immediately that I was floating on the Lower Niagara River.

Photo by Rikin Katyal on Unsplash

I noticed quickly that I was floating against the heavy current. I could control my speed and was not in a boat with a powerful jet engine usually required for such navigation. I didn’t feel wet or cold from the water either.

Photo by Michael Hamments on Unsplash

I passed my Alma Mater, Niagara University, situated at the top of the gorge to my left. To my right, I noticed the whirlpool known as Devil’s Hole. I knew I didn’t want to go anywhere near there for fear of getting sucked down into the abyss and never returning. I noticed I could steer myself away from Devil’s Hole effortlessly. I was curious: what was powering me if I didn’t have a boat with a motor? I willed myself away from it!