different parts of the world. There is still conflict in the workplace, marriages are still dissolving and families are broken. I wonder whether we’ve managed to improve the world we live in. After all, we’re smart creatures we human beings. We can learn from experience. I’m filled with passion for the health of the world, my community and younger generations. Yet like everyone else, I feel helpless to do anything that will make a difference.
Recently I had the experience of walking in the woods at night, in the dark, alone. There was no candle to light my way. There were many sounds that I’ve never heard before. Perhaps they’ve always been there but when my sight was impaired I was compelled to listen. I heard the sounds of the forest differently from when I had full sight. I also heard my own inner voice differently. Granted it was telling me to get out of the woods and find the light fast. But for once I recognized it as a feeling that belonged to me. Fear.
This is when I really believe in God! However, I had the choice to just acknowledge the fear and that didn’t mean that I had to do anything with it. I didn’t have to go running and screaming out of the woods to find light. I could just allow myself to experience the fear and catch the thinking before it got me taking action of some kind. Well, maybe do some praying too, it couldn’t hurt.I think the lessons we learn from solitary times like a walk alone in the dark can influence other aspects of our lives. Perhaps because times like this challenge our perceptions of the world we live in.
The Walmsley Wellness newsletters are intended to challenge our thinking and encourage thoughtful reflection from perhaps a completely different perspective. Since September and over the next few months our newsletters will be focusing on human relationships in the workplace. In January we will be focusing on preventing, recognizing, and dealing with burnout and apathy at work. By recognizing and addressing stress as it occurs, we can go a long way in preventing burnout.
In February we will explore the topic of bullying and harassment in the workplace. All the best intentions to have a good year will fly out the window if the workplace is one where harassment and bullying are commonplace.
In March we will be talking about managing change. The New Year will hopefully bring about good changes for all of us, but even good changes can be stressful and place excessive demands on us.
Although we can be exposed to a whole variety of stressors at the workplace, there must be some things each of us can do to make the work environment a better place.
For example, it seems that so much of our problem interactions with others are about not listening. Or not acknowledging our own fears, worries and insecurities and then taking some kind of action without really hearing and understanding others. It is our fears that cloud our ability to hear others, really hear. For example, can you hear someone when he/she has a different opinion from you? Can you hear someone if he/she is angry with you? Are you prepared to listen, to understand the experience of others if they look different and have different customs and ways of being? If we live in fear of what we don’t know, and others live in fear, how does that affect our ways of being, customs or religious practices?
It’s difficult to understand how someone like Robin Williams, who with gifts to bring laughter and joy to others, could also have an inner world that must also have been filled with despair. Perhaps that is because as a human race we are so good at covering up what is really going on inside.
But as the holidays and a New Year approach and we find time to celebrate the Winter Solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah and perhaps other festivities that I know nothing about, my hope is that we take the time to listen to those feelings that are at our core—and to really listen to others.
We are passionate beings and we can listen with the depths of our souls to the depths of others. There is so much more to learn and there is always hope for a better world.
I’ll light a candle this year at Christmas, for the optimism I have for the New Year. I hope you do too.
Garth Walmsley, CEOFor examples of hope for the world, go to the Good News Network Andy Bellamy, MEd Counselling, CCPA