So, what can we do in response to this specific attack? When I saw everyone changing their pictures, I didn't click the "try it" option. I didn't really think about why, it's just something I didn't do. To me, it wasn't DOING anything concrete. I am not saying there's a problem with it, so don't get all defensive about it. I think we don't know what to do, so we follow this social media trend as a sign of solidarity. I think whatever people want to do to show support, it's a beautiful thing. And for those suffering, it can be good to see the solidarity and support. But, consider also DOING more. And for those who don't filter their picture, it certainly doesn't mean a person isn't supportive. Hell, at the moment I found out what was happening and started to read about it and watch the news, I had all the feelings come back instantly, those feelings that were all too familiar. My heart ached for those people, knowing exactly what they would be feeling and going through. I immediately cried, hard. My chest tightened, a lump grew in my throat. And then, my leg started to bounce. Everyone who knows me or had followed this blog knows my leg shaking was my anxiety and was constant for a year and then, consistent after that until i finally got a hold of the anxiety and stopped it. But, it still appears at times. Friday was one of those times and as it started, I literally looked at it and said, "Oh HELL NO." I am fortunate to have control of it now. I stood up, turned off the news and took control of my energy. My chest eased and my leg stopped. I did that. I have such immense peace now that even the biggest "triggers" don't cause effects that stay long. I spoke with other survivors, as we were all feeling something. They all shared the sentiment, we wish we could really DO something, help these people the way people helped us. I wish I could fly there and talk to people, let them know it's a bit of a road ahead, but that there will be hope again. We are working on a way to help in a bigger way, but I still am focused on helping right here at home.
I also didn't want to change my profile pic to the French colors because it wasn't just in France that innocent people lost their lives. There were hundreds of people who lost their lives within 24 hours, even more were injured, even MORE were not injured but witnessed the horror. And they were spread over three different cities. If I was going to show support, it would be to everyone, to our world that is falling apart in every corner. So, I chose, instead, to change my picture to me signing the peace wall in Ireland. I also choose to continue making conscious decisions on what I can do, right here, right now in my own life and for those around me.
There's something we can all take away from tragedies like this. That is to DO BETTER. In times like this, we want to reach out, our hearts ache for those suffering, we see compassion that we don't see every day. But, what if it was every day? What if we were all kinder, more compassionate and empathic every single day? What if we showed love to everyone we came across? Yes, everyone. When someone looks mean or angry, even a stranger that I walk by on the street, I smile at them and say hello. Sometimes, I just get a scowl back, but mostly, they give a smile back or at least nod, even sometimes looking shocked. A couple of months ago, I spent time with someone considered to be grumpy. It was my first time meeting him, but he was friendly and happy. Apparently, this was a surprise to others. My response was that I don’t let people be grumpy or angry. I don’t feed into those emotions. I smile, I act like a goofball, I am kind even if they aren’t kind back (except with my family, they get a little bit of attitude I mean, you can’t be smiling all the time.). I did just that and this person was all smiles, laughing at me and then continued to be friendly to me whenever I would come across him.
I remember after the bombings, all we saw was news reports, angry and outraged FB statuses, "Boston Strong" everywhere. But, we also saw compassion. We saw people literally leaving their running sneakers with messages of hope and faith. Prayers from around the world. LOVE. Then, I remember about two weeks later, I was driving to an appointment. I was in Kenmore Square and quite honestly, was just out of it all of the time, distracted and my mind was going nonstop. I realized I was in the wrong lane and put my blinker on trying to get over, pretty flustered. Car after car drove on without letting me in. Some even beeped or their drivers gave me a dirty look. I instantly thought, "Well, so much for all of the love and compassion people had last week." We rise up with humanity after tragedy, but it always fades away once it's "over" but, as I'll get to in a minute, for those who lived the tragedy, it's not over for a long time, and for some, it may never be "over".
Again, I'm not saying don't change your profile picture. You do whatever you feel is good for you. (and consider ALL of the people and countries affected by these tragedies). But, I challenge you to DO MORE. Pray, look online at how you can donate to causes helping the survivors of terrorism, send actual letters of support. At the same time, look inside of yourself and figure out how to be a better YOU. The fact is, we are ALL in this together. We are one world and the only way to heal an entire world is for people to come together. I'll touch upon more of this in my next post, about how our divide and discrimination is actually helping to cause violence and war. It's hard to see what our world has become; anger, fear, violence. It may sound too simple and it's only part of the bigger picture, but it starts with each of us. Love and peace STARTS within each of us. And, so, in light of such awful things happening, let us spread love and peace to those around us and within ourselves.
These bad things will continue to happen. There have always been and will always be hateful people in the world that can't see the light. We have to have faith that eventually our leaders will truly come together and find a solution, that there will be less war. But in the meantime, let's start to make a kinder, more accepting, loving world in spite of the hate.
I'm not a stranger to the act of terrorism. I watched people blown up on Boylston Street. It changed my life instantly. It was the most awful thing I've ever seen and experienced and I hope to never see anything like that again. It didn't make me angry or hateful. It made me sad. It made me worry for humanity. Ultimately, it made me love more. It made me want to DO more for myself, for others. And, in that, I've found a Peace I've never had in my life and I've helped many others in the process. Yes, there needs to be a solution but hate and anger fuels hate and anger. It's a vicious cycle of us killing them, them killing us and so forth. You may think there's a simple answer, but there certainly is not. This is very complex and multi layered issue. I pray for everyone to not give into this fear and hate. In my own experience on April 15, 2013, I've seen what it does and what kind of person it makes...more on that next time. I'll end with an image I took at the 9/11 memorial this weekend and a quote I found that was just perfect.
"If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and there is no time for hate."
Sandy Dahl, wife of pilot of Flight 93 Jason Dahl.