What it Means to Me, to be Named a CAMH National Difference Maker  – 1 of the 150 Leading Canadians for Mental Health

Being recognized as a Leading Canadian for Mental Health means something more to me than recognition.

For Me It’s a Gift of Connection

Human connection is innate and crucial for our existence. Our connection to those on a similar life path is as important to our soul’s wellbeing as breathing is to our physical bodies.  Connecting with those who “have been there” gives us a sense that we are not alone in our struggles; it allows us to see the deeper purpose to the pain and when ready, invites us to celebrate the triumphs of our journey together.

I believe that it is through the experiences in our lives that have most shaped us and expanded us that we begin to see we are connected to a tribe, a collective, and that we will eventually be drawn to this tribe and united with it as we make purpose from the pain to create lasting and profound changes in the world. 

I call it the big work: Making purpose from the pain to create lasting and profound changes in the world; leaving the world better than we found it. 

With my nominators Nikki Bettinelli and my soul brother Benny Caringi

With my nominators Nikki Bettinelli and my soul brother Benny Caringi

Being named a CAMH Difference Maker for me, is a gift of unity and connection. It allows me in the middle of my big work, when I often feel isolated, to know there are others allied to the same cause.  It lights me up to learn about the others’ contributions and the experiences that lead each of these recipients to the thing they are now doing that, in turn, feeds into the collective big work  we’re all part of to leave the world of mental health better than we found it. 

Being a recipient has shown me the magnitude of this tribe and that I belong in it. My heart is smiling the big smile as I read the stories of the other 149 National Recipients of the CAMH Difference Makers-150 Leading Canadians for Mental Health The incredible ways each of these individuals has taken their life experience and created something that makes purpose from their pain and creates lasting and profound changes in the world.   

What you may not know is that CAMH received  3,700 nominations for the Difference Makers call. It validates that there are many of us on the path of leaving the world of mental illness better than we found it.  I am so very grateful to CAMH for bringing together a larger community to collaborate with than I had ever imagined.  The tribe I belong to is larger, stronger and more diverse than I could have ever known.  We have all unknowingly been on the path together and it has led to this moment where we now find each other in shared purpose. I am ignited by the opportunity to join the other 149 Difference Makers in the movement that CAMH and Jim & Sandi Treliving have planned for 2018.

Every single experience, decision, connection and road has lead you to your life’s purpose, your unique big work, your calling. A CALLING, at first might appear vague, unconsciously moving you toward something and then it occurs as an awakening to the knowing that it IS what you are meant to do in this lifetime.  It’s a surrender, a seeing of each experience of your life as preparation for your calling.  Getting your clues from the universe.  Receiving validations that you are exactly where you are meant to be as things move effortlessly forward. And finally, a knowing that it is what you are meant to do in this lifetime to make the world a better place.  Your contribution to the oneness that is all there is.

Answering mi calling was another step in my healing.  It gave me a peacefulness that what happened to me and what I did with it was inextricably linked to my life’s work and to connecting with others in the collective big work of transforming firstly ourselves and then others, and then the world.  Answering mi calling brought me a deep and humble gratitude for my perseverance, survival and for the incredible souls that showed up in my life to help me. 

Mi call to change how we see and treat mental illness is louder than ever now because I have been connected to my tribe across the nation.   I am invigorated by the enormity of the big work that is being done and how much change can be brought about in my lifetime.

We all have our own version of big work to do.  What’s yours?