9/11 is a day of loss for many Americans. On this day, the nation watched in shock, terror as the twin towers came crumbling down and the lives of those near and dear, far and away were lost instantly. It is a day that can bring back memories where each one of us were during that specific time. It is a day where we may begin to experience a myriad of various emotions - and may say to ourselves - why am I feeling this way - only to remind ourselves of what we saw/heard and processed on that day. I am not going to talk about the injustices of this event. But more so what this day meant for me and lessons learned from it...
For me, this day brings back many memories - it reaffirmed to me the nothing is permanent - and that at any moment, at any time, someone dear/close to us -or even our own self can be snatched away instantly without warning. It talked to me about the impermanence of life and how important it is for us remind ourselves of that truth. Nothing is permanent, and because nothing is permanent, we must make the most of our life - whether it be with our near ones, whether it be with ourselves. Sometimes it seems redundant to repeat these truths, but when someone dear and near is nowhere near you - one begins to treasure life even more rather than get involved in the pettiness of life.
The idea of impermanence may looked at morbidly or may looked at with wonder - so each day brings something new to us - and what we can learn from this. For me to meditate on that truth can help and has helped me heal many of my relationships because you begin to look at things from a higher perspective.
This day also taught me a topic that repeats itself over and over again and that is of kindness - kindess to strangers and reaching out and helping those that are suffering. When something catastrophic occurs, we have two choices - to sit isolated or to reach out and help. I choose the latter - because it talks to me of community and in order to build more violence free societies - we need to show and bring kindness to our communities. Anger feeds anger - but kindness feeds kindness and rather than fill ourselves with the anger, the resentment of this event - feed it with being kind to those who need it - to those who have lost someone in this event - to a community that still is recovering from the financial losses of the event - to the parents of those who will always remember how so many of their children were heroes during that day - it is a day to pay homage and extend that kindness in whatever way you can. It doesn't have to be big - it can be as simple as a prayer of peace to attending a march, to a local memorial service in your town, to visiting someone.
And as we begin to extend our kindness, we begin to be more tolerant of differences within us. Tolerance do differences is so important to survival of communities and relationships. We may not understand, we may not agree, we may not believe -but if we take out that lense of difference, we will be able to see a human being for who they are and see the good in them. Events like this bring back painful memories -yet in order to move forward we need to remember what has happened, acknowledge what has happened and honor that what has happened. As we do that, we begin to process our feelings and begin to react differently to these events. I will never forget where I was on that day. I will never forget my feelings, my reaction, my fear on that day. But I do not dwell on that anymore - instead I choose to move forward by learning what this event taught me.
Journaling is a great way to remember. Reading a poem is another form. Prayer/Meditation/ritual is another way to honor. A journaling prompt for you :
Today I am ___________________ (write for five minutes).