Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Where heart and intellect collide...


I originally posted this in response to my trainer's blog today -- about how we should savour this moment in time when a great man, like Obama has overcome so much to now hold the highest office in what is undeniably the most powerful nation on the planet.

I will admit that I have been very troubled today by the amount of random 'joining' by formerly apolitical Canadians who are hopping on the Obama-wagon and wanting to be a part of this significant moment in history. I am troubled by people who don't necessarily know why today is important -- but instead are getting caught up in the momentum of being able to one day say, "I was there when...". Many people are calling today their 'Neil Armstrong moment'... this is the moon landing for so many of my own and other generations. This could also be thought of as one of those moments as previous generations recall knowing where they were when JFK was assassinated. I've had similar moments in my life already though. I know exactly where I was when:
  • the Challenger disaster occured -- 7th grade at St. Benedict's school, watching the launch live on TV.
  • OJ was found not guilty -- standing in the Bombshelter Pub at the University of Waterloo with a room full of people who were either elated or shocked at the verdict
  • the Twin Towers came down -- in bed in Vancouver awakened by a news report that I thought was a hoax, but ended up being the tragic reality of the world today, reinforced only by the silence in the air as air travel across the globe came to a startling halt.
But I know WHY they were significant.... for me and for the world. That's what makes these moments powerful, momentous and important.

That said, I offer, as the remainder of this post, the comment I posted on Sebastien's blog, sharing my insight on how we can harness the historical significance of today's inauguration and make it meaningful for our own experience.
Savouring this moment is indeed important. However, the moment will be even more savoury if we take the time to truly (and critically) understand why we've overcome our obstacles.

President Obama has faced adversity, and he is indeed a visionary. Today however, I was gobmsacked by the number of people who didn't understand why today is an important day. They were caught up in the moment -- this pause in time when we all stand collectively in the presence of greatness -- without truly appreciating the complex struggles and battles that had to be won along the way for this incredible man to come to this very special place. Hopping on the bandwagon of Obamamania is one thing -- but making sure we understand why days like today are historically significant is of even greater importance. Harnessing the momentum of significant moments in time like that which was witnessed by so many is one thing -- knowing WHY that momentum is there and where its power comes from is even more important. The same can be said for our own lives...

Catch the wave... hop on the bandwagon... whatever you call it, capitalize on this moment in time when all of us should take pause to think about the ways in which we too, can achieve our own individual greatness. Just know that in so doing, ensuring that this new drive is strongly anchored in the place within each of us where heart and intellect collide to spark the momentum and commitment for change; that is find the true reason why we need to change, not just because it's cool and everyone else is doing it. That assurance will form the unshakeable foundation for success.

Kia Kaha.
Stay Strong.


  1. Well put.

    I would be very interested to see how full the bandwagon would have been had the economic situation been a little better. For whatever reason, I think it would have been a lighter load.

  2. I had a little chuckle when I read we were at the same place when the OJ verdict was delivered...shocking, I know :)

  3. Why don't you think that people *are* grasping why it's important and taking the time to reflect on history and personalizing it? Sure, I'm sure there are a minority out there that are just the bandwagoners, but I'd have a hard time believing that its just the latest thing to talk about.

    The Challenger disaster was big for me too, I remember watching at school. I also remember well the Oaklahoma City Bombings. When 9/11 happened it felt like that all over again, but worse. I was hosting early morning family medicine rounds at St Joe's in Toronto, and on theway home, all along the highway, people were slowing down, and you could tell it was because we were all glued to the radio and not really concentraing on driving. I went straight home, watched the news all day and cried.

    World events strike a different cord in everyone, based on all of our owns filters and experiences, which can't fairly be generalized, because the very nature of it is so personal. So if because of the economic crisis, or the Obama bandwagon, if we're all feeling connected in our human experience, that can only be a good thing.

    My 2 cents.

    love you chris!

  4. The more I think about this, the less skeptical I'm getting... I think I'm moving through my skepticism and more towards caution, and it was a sentiment similar to this person's last comment that has made me rethink that a bit... I guess it's just taking me a little while longer to come around to it all...

    So thanks for your 2 cents, "Anonymous"... but do me a favour and let me know who you are! ;)