The Journey from Disillusionment to Wisdom

As a professional life coach who focuses on transitions and change, I thought I’d address the experience of living in the city that hosted the G20 summit and will do so from the perspective of personal growth and transformation. The G20 Summit was held in Toronto last weekend and, along with it, arrived demonstrations, protests, and riots.  The city of Toronto was transformed from a quiet, safe cosmopolitan city into a downtown core of violence and chaos, or at least the perception of the city was transformed.

In actuality, every human being, every system and every organism contains everything within it – order and chaos, beauty and ugliness, strength and weakness. What came to light in Toronto during the G20 is that we had an opportunity to experience something that was extraordinary to Torontonians – violence, disorder, confusion, and shock.

One of the most important outcomes is that Toronto and its citizens have woken up to the notion that its reputation as being Toronto the Good has changed and transformed into a city that is complex and interesting.

This blog post is about the powerful transition that happens when we realize that our beliefs,   expectations and perceptions are dashed:

That our Mom and Dad are not perfect,

That our prime ministers, presidents, CEOs, professors, teachers, coaches and mentors are fallible,

That human beings are flawed,

That corruption, greed and vanity exist,

That the reason is some version of grey and rarely the black&white, all-or-nothing type.

It is a terrific loss – this loss of innocence – and one that I’m sure each of us remembers in our own lives.  It marks the end of childhood and the beginning of adulthood.

It is when our cognitive understanding of the Truth deepens and becomes multi-faceted.

There are many versions of the truth – yours, mine, his, hers, theirs and the one that’s in between.

Letting go of old truths and beliefs in order to open the door to new ones is a powerful transition.  It leads us from innocence to knowledge, from naiveté to maturity.

This loss of innocence and disillusionment has the potential to open new doors to understanding, respect, responsibility, accountability, contribution and courage, or open the doors into cynicism, skepticism, apathy and self-centredness.

It is a transition we all grapple with and is a not-often-mentioned benefit that comes with living many years on this planet…learning to see events from a perspective of maturity and appreciating both the simplicity and complexity of being(s).