I was talking recently to one of my coachees, Manager at a UN Agency, about crisis. I was surprised by his calmness,the perspective with which he spoke of the very delicate work he carries out in complex situations and countries.
To my question about what he does to manage conflict and uncertainty wisely, his answer was: "When I get stressed out, I meditate." Knowing that he is of Lebanese descent, I asked him if he had suffered the war, and as I had imagined, he lived it fully. I was not surprised when he added that the war had taught him everything which is important in life, even though he could not say that openly in all contexts.
How much can we profit from a well used crisis... My favorite people, those who inspire me and with whom I feel like sharing the road have that in common... they have lived their crises consciously and they have managed to squeeze them. Some had small crises somewhat spaced in time, and that allowed them to advance step by step. Others, amongst whom I count myself, perhaps out of stubbornness or sometimes sheer innocence, we needed a stronger dose to make acknowledgment of receipt.
After a well-lived crisis, we feel reinforced, with deeper roots and more extended wings, with more resources, patience and wisdom provided that we are able to integrate what we have lived, and that we accept, as a wise person I know always says, that "everything is subject to change and everything is on schedule." We also learn to accept that the crisis will make way to a hopefully long period of calmness before another “crisis” makes its appearance, and it will bring, only if we have lived it well, the gift of a new level of respect for our own frailty and for that of others. In the end we are bound to understand that even though other crises will come, and they will, if we integrate what we have learned, there will be less pain and we will probably be done with them sooner.
Let ́s then stop avoiding our crises or living them as if they were unique ... we would do better by consciously living them, opening the door to what they have to offer, suffering, kicking and unleashing our fury if that is necessary ... and accepting and integrating their lessons gracefully once the storm has subsided. Maybe that way the gods will have mercy next time and they will not send us the same lesson again.