Experiencing Resilience…I hope

Don’t fall out of your chair – Yes, this is a blog entry from David E White – and I confess that it has been far too long, with some difficulty in between.

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“An easy life is rarely meaningful and a meaningful life rarely easy.”
Oliver North, Counterfeit Lies

What do you do when you feel that you are losing your bearings? I am not referring to ball-bearings, which would amount to mental marbles in this case (which, in hind-sight, may actually work) – but rather the coordinates for your life journey.

Let me cut to the chase – this past year has been a difficult one for me. For a variety of reasons, I found myself in unfamiliar territory. I have been depressed before – but never like I was during several significantly low periods this past year. Ironically, the speaker, writer, facilitator and consultant (aka: expert) on the topic of resilience, was starting to look like he wouldn’t be so resilient himself.

In an effort to be efficient with words (and your time) let me just say that this past year resulted in a number of setbacks that hurt – deeply – on several fronts, but none so difficult as a blow to my confidence, which tangled with a felt loss of significance, purpose and hope. While I am partially embarrassed to admit this, I am also excited to add that something is changing at my core – something that would not have existed without the challenge that made the discovery necessary. I have been learning critical foundations for resilience – not reading about or debating them, but actually discovering and applying principles while battling in the trenches of my real life experience.

I believe that I am not alone in this challenge that I experienced.

A new study from Canada’s largest mental health and addiction research centre suggests more than 230,000 Ontario adults “seriously contemplated suicide” in 2013. The Toronto-based Centre for Addiction and Mental Health says the results also reveal a sharp increase in self-rated poor mental health, from 4.7 per cent in 2003 to 7.1 per cent in 2013, or 716,000 Ontario adults.

In my reflection, I am coming to believe that there is a loss of felt significance growing within our population. We are a nation, a workforce, a people overwhelmed with details and demands. We feel isolated – fearful and frustrated at first – then gradually we sense an emptiness that brings despair. Arriving at despair, we have no sense of direction. We medicate, we cope, we resign.

Maybe this is overly dramatic for you. The stats remain; If you lead, work or live with others, you are affected. If you have felt these challenges, you already know what I am writing about.

Why does my hope grow?

I took a risk in delivering six vulnerable keynotes through a 10-day period in November. I spoke about some of what I was discovering as it related to significance, accountability, purpose, and hope – and perhaps most important to my discovery, I spoke of the importance of grace.

In having significance, purpose and hope challenged, roots were exposed. These roots have proven to be worthy of trust.

I will be taking some time to write about my findings in the coming weeks…but let me ask you:

* Do you agree with / have you seen evidence of the Toronto Centre’s findings in your community, workplace and/or life?

* Do you resonate with the challenge I faced – do you feel it?

Many of you prefer to email me rather than post below. No worries either way – I am hoping to hear from, and respond to, as many of you as I can – all who write.

David

david@davidewhite.ca