The Tusker’s Stake

A few years back, friend of mine had a bad chest cold and so I suggested an over the counter cure that I had heard was effective. A week later we were talking again, and I asked him if the cure had worked. He was quick to respond with, “Either it didn’t work, or if it did, I would be dead by now without it!”

It can be easy to feel this way about your resilience. You keep practicing all the right things: exercise, meaningful work, supportive (reciprocal) relationships, spiritual disciplines — but you can’t be certain if your effort is paying off, or if you’d be dead without it.

We all struggle at times. I confess that I do. That’s one of the reasons I continue to write, speak and coach resilience: I need it. These are challenges times, and as hard as they may be on our economics and/or physical health, our mental health can be challenged the most.

I have been challenged in my own resilience lately. As I work on my practices, I note that a few rise to the top as being most effective:

  1. Exercise. Its amazing how much difference an hour on the bike can make – outside, in the fresh air.
  2. Connection. I have reached out to encourage and have been encouraged by others. Both directions have paid big dividends.
  3. Grace. I have no idea what is coming in the future, nor if I have made all the right decisions so far – but if I continue to remain open to life, without fear and/or judgment, I facilitate peace.
  4. Creativity. I have written or recorded more music in the last 2 months than the previous 10 years.

I allowed myself to write a melancholy tune (my natural lean is toward minor keys) so that I could process some emotions I was feeling this morning. I emerged with an interesting lyric with the song tile: The Tusker’s Stake.

The “tusker” is an elephant. I was once told that baby elephants, were traditionally trained by tying one of their front legs, with a thin rope, to a stake in the ground. They struggle at first, but eventually they realize that they can’t break the rope and they give up.

Imagine – a fully grown elephant being held by ANY size rope connected to a stake – but apparently, its true. They think the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.

If you are one of the 49% of of adults in Canada that has wrestled with a mental health disorder, or in any way struggled with depression, you will already know that it works on you to limit your freedom. Maybe you have wrestled with this a long time, or maybe you thought you were past this – but it has returned, yet again.

Maybe its time to break free.

Let me make one suggestion: If you are looking to break free, start with the internal voice (your voice) of condemnation. Whether or not your business makes it, and/or you make all of the right decisions with your team, decide for grace. Give yourself the freedom to understand and believe that this is much bigger than you, and that you still have value. IMMEASURABLE VALUE.