Sharing and building Solution Focused practice in organisations

Resilience, Being Present and Not-knowing

Isn't life funny? It presents us with endless opportunities to engage with it in rich and learning-ful ways.

My amazing Mum is one of the strongest, most resilient people I know. She has experienced enormous challenges (and more than her fair share of personal tragedy), and continues to deal with whatever presents itself in her life with courage, pragmatism and dignity. Through our experiences and numerous bereavements, our whole family has developed a strong, philosophical resilience.

When my own daughter was critically ill some years ago (with meningococcal septicaemia), I lay by her side in the hospital for 48 hours while she was unconscious. I don't think I'd ever been more present in my life... On the outside, many people who cared were worrying about the worst-case scenarios. I didn't see the point in that myself, and kept focused on what was happening in the room, and on the goal of full recovery. I lived through that time minute by minute, keeping hope that she would recover. (Fortunately we caught the illness in time and she did make a full recovery. I feel truly blessed to have a delightful, happy, healthy 9-year-old.)

As I write this, my family is sadly in a similar position once again. One of my nephews (age 25) was involved in an incident yesterday which left him with serious head injuries requiring surgery. Right now, his condition continues to be critical (although more stable today than yesterday) and we don't yet know what will happen. There's a lot of not-knowing and waiting, living moment by moment.

Why am I writing this? Partly it's cathartic, and partly because it seems very relevant to SOLWorld topics and discussions.

'Not-knowing' can be fearful for many people. I think that, rather than being a disadvantage, not-knowing allows us the space to draw on our resources, and we can learn to trust our ability to handle whatever comes.

When we don't know how things will turn out (and how can we ever really know?), being fully present seems to be the most helpful position to take. There's little point in speculating on how bad things might be. By all means, acknowledge the possibility of the worst outcome; be optimistic about the best outcome; then get on with staying in the Now.

So, that's what we're doing... staying positive and present; holding the space; and sending loving, healing energies and thoughts, because that's something we can do something about. And trusting our abiltities to handle whatever comes, however tough it seems at the time.

(Please note: I'm not writing this because I'm looking for sympathy. Like I said, we're a very philosophical and fairly spiritual bunch. This seemed relevant to some current discussions on the site, It's useful for me to write about my current experience, and I hope it will be of some value to you if you're reading it.)

I'm also about to go 'offline' for most of the next week. When I return, it will be interesting to read your comments and your own ideas on these topics. It feels very personal (and probably risky) to be publishing this, so please be sensitive.

And always remember to tell the people you love that you love them...

With love,



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Comment by Kamila Novakova on June 3, 2008 at 23:07
Dear Sue,

it's very difficult to find words to comfort you. Thank you again for your openess and for sharing this sad experience... and thank you for reminding me, what are the most important human virtues. I wish you to stay strong and to find new resources within your family! Sail on, Silvergirl...

Love, Kamila
Comment by Mark McKergow on June 3, 2008 at 21:52
Dear Sue, what a dreadful thing to have happened. All warmest wishes from Jenny and me.
Comment by Anton Stellamans on June 3, 2008 at 15:49
Dear Sue, so sorry to hear your nephew died. Hope you find the time to be with your dearest ones. Namaste, Anton
Comment by Loraine Kennedy on June 3, 2008 at 10:20

Warmest hugs from around the world.

Loraine with love
Comment by Sue Lickorish on June 1, 2008 at 0:13
Dear Friends
Thank you so much for taking the time to share your comments and your experiences. It's wonderful to read your stories of not-knowing, recovery and resilience - and more are welcome.

For those of you who might be wondering... very sadly, my nephew didn't regain consciousness and he died on Monday 26 May. There was an awful lot of 'not-knowing' to deal with and it has been a very difficult time. Fortunately we are a supportive, loving family, and we will find the strength to get through this.

I will continue to draw on and build my resources, and I would like to share what I learn that may help other people. However, at present I feel unable to do so here for two main reasons:

1. It is now a murder case and a man is being prosecuted. For several reasons, it is not appropriate for me to write any more about it, or my experience, while the police investigation and legal process is underway.

2. I don't know if the SOLWorld site is the best place for it. I expect I will continue writing privately about my experience, and will probably post any relevant learnings and thoughts when the time is appropriate. This may be in another location, if not SF-related enough. I will post a link if that happens.

Thanks again for your energy and input here.
With love
Comment by Stefanie Kirschbaum on May 29, 2008 at 13:54
Dear Sue, dear Regina!

Thanks for sharing your personal stories. I am grateful and I am learning from this.

My learning is about "Not-knowing" and "letting go" - and it feels like a conscious learning while reading about your experiences. It reminds me and I like being reminded. Cause then I feel resources and security: Deep down in me is that experience already - out of my own experience of a serious illness, when I was 24. And I have reflected it, but sometimes I forget about it.

... staying positive and present, holding the space, sending love and healing energies, trusting the abilities ... that was even there while facing my own illness- not being prepared for that at all ... but, simply, it was all there what I needed. And even sending energy to those of my family and friends who were scared ...

Not knowing, but going step by step - there was not the question, why has this happened to me - it was not looking back. It was like going further and further through fog: slowly, intensive, present, happy about the small things, humorous about the funny things and feeling most of the time as a whole and healed person.

Is that like a feeling of trance? I don´t know, but there was lightness in the hard times, happiness while beeing sick. And not knowing why and where to.

What a help can it be, being not knowing - to ourselves, to others!

Thanks so much for opening this discussion!
Comment by Katalin Hankovszky on May 28, 2008 at 16:47
And thank YOU, Regina, for sharing this. I enjoy to have this additional moment on you
Comment by Regina Reinhardt on May 28, 2008 at 6:46
"So, that's what we're doing... staying positive and present; holding the space; and sending loving, healing energies and thoughts, because that's something we can do something about. And trusting our abiltities to handle whatever comes, however tough it seems at the time."

Sue your posting reminded me this morning a story that I lived end of last year. I feel like sharing it - not knowing exactly why.

A friend of mine around 30 years old had a brain stroke. She was in a coma for two months. Being very sad at the first moment since I felt she is going to die. Then at a second moment I remembered some Budhist thoughts about life & death. This made me change my attitude and send my best wishes/thoughts to my friend day by day - whatever her choice would be, living or dying. Additionaly I asked for spiritual assistance of professionals and friends.

Stepping out of my own ego - what I felt was right for her - helped me for the first time coping with death to step out of my own pain and support the suffering person.

To finish the story, it is my personal miracle story of 2007: despite all spiritual predictions she woke up and enjoys life again. After having being ready inside myself to let her go you might have an idea of how happy I felt - and how excited I was when I saw her again!!!

Thank you Sue for remembering this story today!
Comment by karin buess on May 27, 2008 at 22:20
Dear Sue, yes from the bottom of the hart and of corse... and I wished, that it hast not to be a risk any more to write, to think things you published here but a found-attitude of our beeing as SF- workers or and other human beeings... it will comme thrue.
Remebering your workshop in Beglium and your personality makes confidence...
kindly Karin Buess
Comment by Regina Reinhardt on May 25, 2008 at 8:24
Thank you from the bottom of my heart Sue for sharing, making yourself vulnerable and taking such a risk. I feel this is what makes you so strong - shows your authenticity! Keep going - life will bring you everything that you need.

Just learned so much from your writing being in the process of having two delicate written emotional conversations ahaead .

Warmest Regina

PS Feel SF is more than a business/professional tool, it is what you say - it is a life attitude and/or life style.




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