We’re making final preparations to live on the island for several weeks and the idea of Sisu keeps coming to mind. The descendants of Finnish immigrants in the Keweenaw know what we’re talking about. For the next several weeks we’ll be three miles offshore and at the mercy of the elements, exposed to the will of the lake as we go about our business. We’ll do our best to send updates of our work and life on the island but aren’t sure if that is a luxury we will have.
“The literal meaning of sisu is equivalent in English to "having guts”, and the word derives from sisus, which means something inner or interior. However sisu is defined by a long-term element in it; it is not momentary courage, but the ability to sustain an action against the odds. Deciding on a course of action and then sticking to that decision against repeated failures is sisu. It is similar to equanimity, except the forbearance of sisu has a grimmer quality of stress management than the latter.“