In times of shocking and deeply saddening tragedy, we experience a variety of emotional reactions and viewpoints in regards to the public’s response to the event. It can be difficult to process what we don’t understand, especially when it is highly emotionally charged, as with the shooting in the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012.
Those of us in Los Angeles who were watching and listening to the news from 3,000 miles away did not feel the physical distance between ourselves and our brothers and sisters of Connecticut. We felt the shock, the loss, the terror, the grief, the heartbreak, and the compassion as though we were there with those who were living through the events. And this human connection – our natural empathy and ability to feel the pain of those so far away, as though it was our own direct experience – demonstrates our inherent Oneness.
It is tempting to dive into the fear and blame during times like this. We want answers, justice, and to ensure that a tragic loss of this degree never occurs anywhere, ever again. We want the fear and pain to go away and never come back.
We may never know what this event was for in terms of the reason why it occurred. But, our response to it is an opportunity for healing on a massive level. Robbie Parker, the father of slain 6 years old, Emilie Parker, spoke to reporters in an emotional speech where he offered compassion to the family of the shooter. He also shared that the overflow of love, compassion and kindness from strangers that his family was experiencing as a result of their tragic loss was astounding. He made an important point, that this kind of love and support between us is always needed – not just in times of tragedy, but as our way of being with one another on a consistent basis.
As we react to this event, attempting to wrap our brains around it and heal from the horror, we tend to take sides on everything from gun control to parental supervision to security systems in schools, to mental illness to the death penalty. Some of us climb up on our virtual soap boxes, ranting via Facebook status updates and tweeting to the world our feelings and beliefs about what, why, when and how this could have happened, and what should be done to prevent it from happening again. We are fortunate to have the rights to be able to speak freely, no matter what we believe, but we also want to use that right in a benevolent and productive effort. We don’t always do this perfectly, so again, we can be forgiving of one another as we practice peace.
We would all give anything to be able to change the events that took place on December 14th in Connecticut. But as we move forward together, we have an opportunity to choose how we respond to our pain. We respond and react to life based on what and who we think we are. If we are being one who knows that we are abundant, resourceful, creative, and peaceful, we will react without fear and judgment and create from peace and love.
As each of us looks within and heals our own inner terrorist, we can better respond to the terror we perceive in the world. Here are some helpful questions to help us move out of our fear and back into alignment with our spiritual center before we speak publicly or act regarding this event:
- How do I perceive myself to be?
- How do I perceive others?
- What fearful thoughts am I investing in about myself and my world that may be blocking what is possible for us in our growth and elevation?
- What value am I giving these fearful thoughts?
- What is the pay-off to believing these fear thoughts and putting them out there to the world?
- Is my message one of fear or love?
- What would it look like or be like if I let these fear thoughts go?
- What are possible ways of being for me that would offer others and myself freedom, healing, peace, and even happiness?
- Am I open to receiving a solution to this problem other than the ones I have already considered?
- How do I want to impact the world with my words and actions?
The heroism of the teachers and staff of the Sandy Hook Elementary School is a reminder that we are all greater than our fear. Their love for their students was bigger than their own need to protect their own lives. They did everything that they could to help the students feel safe and comfortable during chaos – and their ability to act from love saved many lives. What a gift they have given us – the power of choosing peace in the face of fear. They were reminding us all of how strong our love is. The innocence of the children, who left their earthly bodies on Friday, is forever intact. Their innocence is a reminder of the innocence that still dwells within each of us.
As we return to the Divine Love within each of us, we can more graciously and effectively extend a compassionate hand to our brothers and sisters that also desperately need light. Remember, in the presence of light, there can be no darkness.
Let us offer love, light and healing to all those in need, all over the world.