The Other Side of Reason – Rest as you are

Since 2013, recognized author and community leader for mental health, David Gibson, has battled the inner world of PTSD to find some measure of hope within. He uses his writing to explore how his journey as a survivor has enabled him to come to terms with PTSD and the new reality of his life. His 'Reflections from the Other Side of Reason' not only invite the reader into his life, but offers insights on how to grow and build resiliency. By sharing his experiences he takes away any toll for others to walk down the same road.

[Rest as you are]
In the quiet stillness
The universe speaks.
Without words
A paradox of un-imposing
Gentleness and strength.
The stillness uncoils
Presumptions, urges, impulse, abdication, and avoidance.
The insatiable ghost is spinning from fear.
Yet the resilience resides as the very still point within me.
Rest “as you are”.


Confucius said: “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

I am at a crossroad. I am not who I used to be and not yet who I will be.

The perfect time to ‘stop and be’ for a while is when you transition from one year to another.

So, as you link arms with friends and family to sing Auld Lang’s Syne, what story will you tell about last year? What will you celebrate? What will you regret? As you wave goodbye to the old year and turn to look the New Year in the face, what wisdom will you take as your journey continues?

In the small, silent space between last year and next, lies a quiet opportunity. The end of something is always the beginning of something else.

I am processing my New Year this way — looking both backward and forward, layering my hopes and plans for the New Year on top of the steps forward and missteps of the old one. This essentially forces me to take a longer view of things — to look at the “old” year and the new one not as distinct entities that must be judged against each other, but as interwoven pieces of an unbroken continuum of my life’s narrative.

In many ways I feel like I have experienced a hundred different lives in 2017. The courageous storyteller, the depressed hermit, the worried parent, the intrepid world traveler, the anxiety-ridden dependent, the supportive husband, the lake-side friend and the outspoken community leader. I have felt a hundred incongruous emotions — hopeful and discouraged, excited and apathetic, inspired and utterly disengaged, generous and self-protective, joyful and bitterly sad. Each separate life and identity is self-contained like a silk thread within a spider’s web, inextricably connected to the whole and meaningless without it.

Writing for Ottawa Life Magazine has served as a journal about the ups and downs of working towards personal healing and restoration of self. The hardest thing to accept is that I move at a glacial pace in terms of development. There is movement, but it is only discernible over a long span of time. Perhaps this is what I fear most about living with PTSD — that I’ll be too slow to accomplish the things I would like to and it will be too late to ‘really’ live this gift of life.

From my experiences in 2017, I have learned we are the blessed and the profane, as we cycle through forgetting and remembrance. I believe we also wish for the renewal of our infinite creativity and meaningful life experiences. We observe and reconcile all the passages that inform the sensory aspects of our lives as we are. Sometimes we even adorn our many complicated emotional masks that often hide our true selves.

So if life is truly a journey, the questions we ask ourselves can be the motivation that gets us from here to there. Without this intentional reflection, we can continue to react impulsively and with limited information.  We’re also then vulnerable to merely watching our life instead of actively engaging in our life.

For 2018, the focus of my appreciative inquiry will be about achieving a better quality of life for myself. Questions that I will ask myself and others close to me, will be: How can I make your life better? What can I start? What can I stop? What can I do more of? What can I be grateful for? What can I do less of? And what can I continue?

The great thing about these questions is that you can apply them to any area of your life. Here’s to a wonderful and hopeful New Year.

May you find what matters to you and share it with others. May you be loved and be loving. May you make time to be just with you and enjoy who you are.

Until next time.