The saying goes that, when one door closes, another opens. With that in mind, I’d like to share with you a personal story about how resilience led me from a great disappointment to an exciting opportunity!
Here’s the back story: Last year, I was exhibiting at a trade show during a conference for long-term-care homes. In discussions with conference delegates, it became clear that caregiver burnout and compassion fatigue were major concerns.
Then, when lunchtime came, I learned from fellow exhibitors about a grant program called “Spark,” sponsored by funders of the CABHI (Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation). The purpose of the grants is to to help find innovative solutions to problems connected with dementia, including caregiver support.
Caregiver burnout and compassion fatigue are very real problems that I have addressed in The Rose Remedy Program for pain and stress relief.
I decided to apply for the grant to help me further develop and administer programs to help ease these problems for caregivers working with dementia clients.
I devoted the rest of that fall and most of the winter to doing research and pilot workshops at long-term-care facilities. Then I spent the end of the winter and some of the spring working with a researcher to write up a proposal for the grant. We spent countless hours and endless days writing up the proposal, which was particularly challenging since neither of us had any grant-writing experience.
Nearing the end of the application, my budget calculations made me realize that this grant would not provide sufficient funding for everything I had in mind. I discovered a second CABHI grant program that was larger and, with just a week to go to deadline, decided to apply for it as well!
The decisions came after weeks of delay, because both grant programs had received such high-quality submissions.
The first rejection for the big grant came in an e-mail at the start of the summer. Then, three weeks later, after returning from a long kayak ride, I received the second e-mail turning down the submission for the smaller grant.
Bummer, right? After so much time and effort, it was a disappointment not only to me but to those I had worked with. To them, I want to offer my thanks: researcher Marg Hux, pilot workshop co-presenters Eleanor Edgar and Pushpa Bansal, long-term-care home administrator Nelson Ribeiro, and David Stoller from CABHI.
I was sad for letting them and others down, including and especially the caregivers at the long-term-care home who were going to benefit from this project.
And then I had to face, what now? Where would I go from here?
The answer would be found through my own inner resilience, built up with the use of the very tools and techniques that I use for clients and that I have referred to over the course of The Rose Remedy Resilience Reset Challenge.
Resilience is not only a matter of surviving but using resources to actually thrive.
I have a high level of resilience from incorporating such resources into my daily life, from practicing regular mindfulness to doing movement meditations to using relaxation techniques to quelling my inner critical voice and having compassion for myself. They all help me to calm down and think more cognitively and clearly.
I was helped, as well, by my spiritual beliefs that things happen for a reason.
Reframing is another key tool that leads to resilience. So the next important step was to focus on the positives — rather than the negative outcome — of having worked on the grant proposals.
So, how did I reframe?
First, I recognized that the larger grant would have likely required more work than I could comfortably handle in the allotted time frame. So failing to get it was probably for the best.
As well, I realized that working on the grant proposals had actually helped me in several ways. For one, I greatly improved my workshop presentations.
For another, all the research I did led me to to new information about new technologies and tools for stress reduction, caregiver burnout and autonomic nervous system (ANS) rehabilitation. (A shout-out to Dr. Ron Gharbo for the brilliant terminology and concept of the latter!)
To gain more knowledge in such tools, including biofeedback technologies, I am now pursuing certification in interventions offered by the HeartMath Institute (HMI).
It’s true that the lack of grant funding means I have to put my focus on caregiver burnout and compassion fatigue on hold for now.
However, everything I learned out of that experience I am now going to incorporate into my revised program that I now call “Partners in Pain Relief.”
Quite simply, this pain relief program means that I will be working in partnership with my clients to help relieve their pain. It’s more than me using my expertise as a physiotherapist to help clients’ bodies heal. They will also take an active role in their own pain relief.
So, for example, while I may be working on a client’s tissue healing and regeneration using light therapy (photobiomodulation), the client will work on calming his or her own nervous system using various tools and techniques, such as HeartMath meditations with biofeedback technologies.
I plan to pay forward the knowledge I have gained to other physiotherapists and healthcare professionals.
It is thanks to resilience that I have been able to turn a disappointment into an opportunity. I hope that you will join me in walking through this new door!