When tragedy happens and we feel helpless

My heart goes out to Boston and I am sending all my love to those who have been affected by yesterday’s tragedy.  

Last night Raz and I were sitting in the couch watching the news. Different people reporting on what happened and with all the same pictures crossing the screen. The explosions. Smoke rising up. People in terror.


My stomach was in knots and I wasn’t breathing… not really. I went to Boston College and Marathon Monday was one of my favorite days of the entire year. Literally everyone is out in the streets, celebrating, and cheering on the runners. In particular, I remember the story of Team Hoyt, a father who pushed his disabled son in his wheelchair the whole entire marathon (and many other sporting events). Needless to say, Marathon Monday is a fest of love and support for Boston.

After about 20 minutes of watching the news, I suddenly felt completely overwhelmed, sat up straight and said “Let’s go to bed. I cannot watch this anymore.” Ten minute later, Raz and I were still sitting there, watching, glued to the screen. As much as I didn’t want to watch the news anymore, I also couldn’t not.


What if this happened here, right outside my window in NYC (again! –though I wasn’t here for 9/11)? On Raz’s bike-ride to work over the Williamsburg bridge? In San Francisco and Charlotte where my brothers live? In Europe where my parents and rest of the family is? Or to any of the people I love who live in metropolitan areas and are therefore always in crowded places?


I said to Raz: “This makes me want to move to a more rural area, a smaller city” to which Raz responded: “That doesn’t make a difference. Think of Sandy Hook or Oslo….”


I felt… helpless. Small. Angry. Fearful.


If I cannot bolt, run away, hide and take everyone I love with me, what am I going to do?


Fact is, something terrible happened yesterday. A tragedy. An act of violence by people who use violence to showcase their longing for power. An act of hate.


What can we do as individuals in moments like this?


We can choose today, in this moment, and every other moment to stop perpetuating hate in our own seemingly small lives.


We can choose connectedness, mutual support and love in our actions, words, thoughts, and relationship to ourselves. We can reach out, offer help, and send light and love to those who need it. We can heal as a community.


Hate and violence are not sustainable ways of interacting without destroying ourselves as well.


Of course, we need security, safety measures, and protection. We absolutely do. But we cannot neglect the essential necessity of acting from a place of love in the way we show up. Otherwise life seizes to be worth living. It is simply not sustainable.


Holding this tension of protecting ourselves yet acting from a place of love is one of the most challenging yet most significant actions we can take.


As you can tell, I have a whole cascade of reactions to what happened yesterday and am still feeling the knot in my stomach. In the comments below, if you like, I would love to hear from you about what you have been feeling? What reactions you had and are having as we remain in this place of uncertainty, not knowing, not having answers. This can be a great place to get some support and write out what you are experiencing.


Love to you and your loved ones.


Check out other fun, inspirational, and love-filled blog posts here!