I Slept Better Last Night

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I’ve struggled with the political climate lately—the inattention to critical issues, the active attempts to destroy civil rights, the systemic misalignment of wealth towards those in power, the appalling lack of empathy. Like many people, I find my focus lacking, my productivity down, and my nervous system overwhelmed. As someone who thrives on information, it’s hard not to be sucked into reading the news, but reading the news only shreds my nerves further. I find it difficult to sleep restfully through the night.

Dr. William Leuchtenburg

Last night I attended a Phi Beta Kappa dinner and lecture. Renowned historian and UNC-Chapel Hill professor emeritus Dr. William Leuchtenburg was the honoree and speaker for the evening. Dr. Leuchtenburg is a noted presidential scholar and expert on FDR. He’s done election-night political analysis for some of the major newscasters of our time; he’s consulted with Ken Burns on his documentaries; he marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Alabama.

Dr. Leuchtenburg gave the address, “The White House and the South.” It was fascinating and depressing all at once, in particular to hear the role race and the one-party system had played. The professor noted that at our country’s founding, Southerners held the White House for something like 32 of the first 36 years, lost control for over 100 years, and now are again winning presidential races more than half the time.

About two-thirds of the way through Dr. Leuchtenburg’s speech, he paused and said, “Excuse me, I’m not feeling well. I think if I can sit down for a few moments I’ll be able to finish.” While he rested, the evening’s host explained that the good professor’s wife was in the hospital ER and he’d been there all day; then on the way to this event, he’d had a flat tire on the interstate. “What amazing resilience,” she added. “How many of us would have made it here after a day like that?”

Dr. Leuchtenburg resumed his talk, then again paused. “I think I need to sit down again. I’ll just read sitting here if that’s OK.”

When he finished his remarkable and humorous lecture, the audience gave the professor a standing ovation. Then he agreed to take some questions. “But I turned 95 last week, so I might stay sitting.”

After a series of political questions and insightful responses, our host wrapped up by asking, “What gives you hope for the country?”

The resilient Bill Leuchtenburg

Dr. Leuchtenburg paused and said, “It’s not as much hope as the refusal to despair. I’ve been through the Great Depression, I knew people directly affected by the Holocaust, I lived through McCarthyism and Jim Crow laws, and the Iran Contra hearings and so many other things. And we always come through. We forget: ‘This too shall pass.’”

It’s not as much hope as the refusal to despair.

As he said that, I felt myself regain perspective—not minimizing our current frustrations, but recognizing what he said as true.

His words soothed me. When I got home, I didn’t want to let them go. I didn’t check the news, I didn’t look at email, I didn’t even open my beloved Jane Austen for fear of interrupting the calm that had wrapped me.

And I slept all night.

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FREE Kindle ebook: After the Shock

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One of my big projects over the past year was working with Becky Sansbury to develop her book After The Shock: Getting You Back On The Road To Resilience When Crisis Hits You Head On. I know the content of the book intimately and can tell you without a doubt that Becky offers practical, comforting advice for those in crisis or walking alongside someone in crisis.

TODAY and THURSDAY (10/7 and 10/8) you can download the Kindle version FREE. Do it!

After the Shock

After the Shock

From the description on Amazon:

When you hear the word crisis what do you think? A dramatic car wreck. A critical medical diagnosis. Divorce. Job loss. Natural disaster. Death. What about the mini-shocks within those crises or the smaller events that disrupt our lives more frequently? A fender bender in rush-hour traffic. Personal information getting hacked. Being overlooked for a promotion.

When crisis hits, large or small, we are thrown off balance.In After The Shock: Getting You Back On The Road To Resilience When Crisis Hits You Head On, Becky Sansbury introduces a sustainable model to help you stabilize and move toward resilience.

After decades of working with people in crisis, she determined that four factors give us balance, strength and support throughout our lives, but especially in shocking times. Like the four tires of a car, comfort, control, community, and connection to something bigger than self provide both a base and a cushion for navigating the ruts and potholes of life. But that is not enough to move us on to resilience.

In the overwhelming confusion of crisis we crave a space safe for focusing on our current experience, strengthened by crucial lessons from the past. We make both casual and far-reaching decisions based on assumptions that may no longer be authentic or lead to our desired future. We grasp for resources, often unsure of what we need. Expanding the car metaphor, in After the Shock the reader learns effective ways to use the frame of experience, the steering capacity of assumptions, and the fuel of resources to lead toward more resilient responses in a variety of crises.

Reach for After the Shock to nurture healing through warmth and wisdom. Written in a conversational style, this book provides practical tools while wrapping you with virtual arms of support as you make your way from reaction to resilience.