Shocked. Stunned. Heartbroken. Again? Worse than ever? Whaaat?!
It’s okay to feel all of that and more when we see something in life like the mass shootings in Las Vegas. Grief, fear, anger, confusion, hopelessness, helplessness. And also hopefulness, inspiration, helpfulness, kindness, and love.
How do we process it all? We may find ourselves feeling for the people who were there. We feel connected to them. We know it could have been us had it been our destiny. We may feel grateful (and perhaps even guilty for that gratitude) that we weren’t there. We may worry for friends or family who still are there or might have been there. We feel for those who survived. We feel for those who witnessed the deaths and felt fear and were running for their lives. We feel for those who knew they were dying, and those who didn’t have a second to even know what was happening before they were gone. We feel for those who were injured and will have a road of recovery ahead of them. We feel for those who went to the concert with a friend or loved one and now face an empty chair at the dinner table, no more hugs or texts from their beloved, and an empty place in bed next to them in the morning.
The mind naturally puts oneself in the situation. What would I do? How would that feel if I was there? How would I react myself and with the others around me? The mind may want to try to imagine or play out the whole scenario and it’s somehow too frightening. We truly cannot imagine the sights, the sounds, the smells, all the things everyone there will remember and relive in moments to come.
In times like these tragedies, on the heels of so many natural disasters, it’s okay to feel helpless. It’s okay to question the future of humanity. It’s okay to feel like our collective positive energy somehow isn’t enough to stop the madness. It’s perfectly okay to feel small, and like our voting, our money, our chants, our prayers, and like our actions aren’t enough to fix, change, or heal all of the death and destruction.
It can feel overwhelming. How will we end gun violence, distribute enough clean water and food and other resources to all those in need on the planet? How will we end homelessness so everyone has shelter, and end abuse and slavery so everyone may be free? How will we finally end the inner and outer wars and co-exist with each other and the planet in PEACE?
The mind wants answers. It wants resolve. Now. It wants to be assured of safety, security, and that all our basic human needs will be taken care of while we are here in a body. It’s generally not so great, however, at sitting with the questions, simmering in the discomfort, facing the fears head on, and walking through the unknown no matter how long it might take.
It’s also okay to feel part of the One eternal consciousness and energy in the Universe…..that is constantly shifting and changing form without judgment, fear, or worry. The grains of sand all get tumbled by the waves as they head toward the shore. They can teach us. We can look to the trees, the ocean waves, the flowers, blades of grass. They flow, they move, they live. They do what they do from one moment to the next. No worries and “good vs. bad.” They simply exist in time and space. We exist in time and space...blowing in the wind.
We, however, have thoughts of morality, duality, consequences, and our own mortality. What to do when we feel overwhelmed with helplessness and ask, “How can I ever do enough with my life on this planet to make a difference?”
That’s a great question. It’s a big one. Perhaps we can unravel it coming from another side. “What if nothing I did in this life ever made a difference in other’s lives or on the planet?” Then what? Can we sit in silence with that inquiry?
Let us sit with our fears, the overwhelm, the stress, the disappointment, or despair. Let us sit with any and all emotions and thoughts that arise. Let’s slow down how we walk and breathe today to really feel what’s here. Let us meditate, chant, move, dance, scream, cry, put our hand on our heart and send love and blessings to ourselves and all beings everywhere. Let us continue to pray and have faith where there doesn’t seem to be any left.
When we pause we notice the spaciousness that’s always here. When we slow down and put our bare feet on the earth, when we pray, visualize, intend, or chant – we more easily feel connected to all that is. It opens our listening. In that listening, we feel, hear, and know the answers to life’s greatest questions. And then we invite a deep breath in as consciousness continues to awaken, and we put one foot in front of another and take the biggest, boldest step in conscious action that we can possibly take.
And somehow we know, it is enough. We are enough. And we all need more love, not less...now more than ever.
As Bob Dylan sang, "The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind."
Bless us one and all,