The Tragedy in Ottawa and Countering Adversity

27 Oct

With the chaos of this past week here in Ottawa, it feels appropriate to write today about overcoming adversity, and give a personal account of coping with this senseless violence. If you want to contribute to this conversation, please share your own experiences in the comments below. One big take away from today’s post is about sharing, and how through sharing we can come to deal with these difficult moments.

The Hill

It’s not necessarily easy to be strong when everything feels so wrong. Even with the words “Ottawa Strong” floating around online, I have to admit, I felt more fear than strength. And even after the gunman had been stopped, that fear lingered. The next morning, I still felt it.

“Get used to it” some people said. “This is what happens every other day in some countries.” But should it happen? No. Should we be used to so much violence? No. And should I get used to it — well, I sincerely hope that never becomes necessary.

So what is it to counter adversity? It is to learn how to grow as a result of mistakes, setbacks, and feedback; to gain a new perspective. With what has happened, it felt like a challenging question: How do I change my perspective on this?

How do you change your perspective from fear to something more constructive?

Personally, it took a conversation. I met up with a coaching group, and everyone began to share their reflections. We had fear in common, but we also had the need to share. And as we shared, my faith in humanity began to reignite inside of me. I thought about the yoga on the Hill, and the picnics, and the happy families gathering around the flame, I thought of the bells ringing from the Peace Tower, and how on most days, the Hill, and Ottawa itself, is a welcoming place to be.

The conversations at that meeting helped these memories and feelings rise to the surface – rise above the fear. They helped to rekindle my faith that everything, somehow, will be okay.

And as a group we did the following:

We set personal intentions.

And then, with those intentions set, we talked about how to convert those thoughts into reality. I got a load of feelings off of my chest by declaring my emotions – it was a pretty powerful moment of connecting to others who felt something similar – and dismantling the trauma. Of course, what happened in Ottawa is not going to fade away. This is my home, and those are familiar streets where the shootings took place. But talking helped.

It’s when we get passed the door of fear and sadness of adversity that we can unite together. That’s what I felt during that conversation the morning after. And, I felt it when I heard the Canadian anthem sung during the Ottawa Senator’s televised hockey game this weekend. United together, I pray for a kinder world of love and am filled with joy to be part of those moments of healing.

So, if you’d like to talk – I invite you to use this space to set your intention, and then write or simply consider how you can live that intention. Notice the feelings in your body as you consider what happened. Acknowledge that response, and then look deeper. Talk about it – just talk about it.

Talking helps me, and I hope it helps you too.

Be well, Ottawa. When I next hear that Peace Tower bell ring, I’ll be setting a special intention for community, openness and positive change.

Take care,



One Response to “The Tragedy in Ottawa and Countering Adversity”

  1. Tina Crouse November 3, 2014 at 08:35 #

    I was overwhelmed with pride when Canadians did not go to the ‘terrorists’ analysis and instead focused on addiction and mental health. Our anger was short-lived and our ability to deeply consider our human systems of support and lack of. Bravo! We are who I think we are ~ a deeply caring nation.

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