When my husband told me the news of yet another terrorist act in Paris from Friday night, my initial reaction was the all too familiar gut wrenching sensation in my stomach, the stab in my heart, and the racing fear in my head. “Why does this happen? Who is hurt? Are my friends okay?” As someone who is so fiercely intent on making the world a better place by supporting others in healing practices, I always find it so difficult to understand the reasoning behind such actions. My normal process after the shock of it all is usually bewilderment. This is quickly followed by anger. So much anger. Then powerlessness, hopelessness, fear. I tend to feel a lot of confusion in light of my life experience and the many other humans in the world that are so loving, kind, and beautiful. It just doesn’t make sense.
Not even 12 hours after these horrific events, I was filling up my car after seeing a movie. I had forgotten all about this morning. I walked in to pay and made the normal small talk. The lovely man who served me saw me yawn and said, “Long day?” I replied, “It’s been a long week!” half joking but speaking truthfully with an undertone of dissatisfaction. “And you?” I asked. He enthusiastically said, “I’m good!” (which reminded me of my recent meditation teachings of gratitude). I bounced back with, “Oh I know, you’re right. I have nothing to complain about here!” When I got back into my car and turned on the radio, my memory returned.
I realized then that I do have power in this, and my power lies in my present. For me to honor those that have lost their lives, is to love the hell out of mine; to remember that today is a once in a lifetime gift that I will never have again; to love people in a way that is so unconditional there is no choice but to create a connection. Life is only enriched by the connections we make with others. And not just your mother, sister, or friend that looks like you and believes all the same things you do. But can you truly see past the color of their skin, their religion, career path? Can you open your heart and eyes to see a person as they actually are?
Can you connect on the sole basis of your shared humanity?
When people are disconnected from others and themselves, the world is fragmented and doesn’t often make sense. Our natural state is oneness, interconnectivity, and interdependence. What we do to ourselves, we do to others and vice versa. Let go of the illusion of separation. The way we think about ourselves gives other people permission to do the exact same thing. We must stop looking at our lives as something that is less than a miracle, less than good, less than beautiful.
We must love and be loved. Only this will change our world.