I have been spending hours and hours thinking about Canada's amazing band, The Tragically Hip. The power and raw authenticity of the emotions shared across the nation have been inspiring. As a person who has stared a Stage 4 Cancer diagnosis in the face but was able to walk away, I can deeply empathize with Gord Downie's current existential situation. The fear settles in your bones and turns your stomach to acid and you find you cannot eat a single thing or enjoy anything more life has to offer. When I was sick, it was all that I could do to get out of bed. Gord Downie, however, chose to share his experience with the country and dig deep to find the energy to sing--to sing his songs at multiple venues across Canada within a few short weeks. I can not wrap my mind around how he did it. During his final concert in Kingston, there was a moment when he sobbed on stage. I totally understood where he was coming from. Except, when I was in his spot, I cried in my bed. The courageous Gord Downie was able to share his humanity with his nation. Incredible strength.
As a psychologist—scratch that—as a human being, I have been extraordinarily concerned about the lack of tolerance for diversity in the world today. In some ways, we have seen great progress as a society. Yet, in other ways, we have taken great steps backwards. These contrasts have been particularly illuminated during the 2016 American election. On the one hand, we have a first time female presidential candidate who has fought for human rights and social justice. On the other hand, we have a candidate who has argued for a wall dividing nations and barring immigrants based on their religious affiliation. The contrasts in values are striking.