When there is a tidal wave of fear and chaos, when the illusion of control is ripped away, we still have a choice: whether to succumb to the paralysis of helplessness or to remember who we are.
I heard the news about Paris and stopped in my tracks. Shades of 9/11, panic in the streets, a world gone insane. My heart goes out to all the people in turmoil's grip. When senseless death shatters the lens we see life though, it shocks the system. A storm of fear enters the body and mind and if unchecked spreads from person to person, soul to soul. Emotions are that contagious.
But this extends far beyond one city. A touching poem, by Karuna Ezara Parikh,
offers a broader picture:
We Have a Choice
One thing to remember, though, is that we have a choice, maybe not in what we feel -- feelings should be honored -- but definitely in how we respond. We can passively agree to be part of that energy of fear -- it is natural to match the energy around us -- or we can intentionally stand for the best within ourselves. I am moved by this video of a father and son trying to make sense of it all.
A father and son have the most precious conversation during an interview by french media at the scene of the Bataclan attacks. I saw that it hadn't been subtitled in english yet, so I made a quick edit to show the rest of the world how freakin awesome some of our citizens are. They're my heros. I feel better too now! #paris #bataclan #parisattacksUPDATE: Full segment has been posted with subtitles by LPJ http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3e8rah_paris-attacks-november-2015-le-petit-journal-du-16-11_tvImages and interview are a courtesy of Le Petit Journal . Thank you so much to the LPJ team for this interview and a very touching segment yesterday! Also, thank you for letting this video be accessed by all and not putting it down. Thank you to Angel Le (father) and Brandon (son) for brightening up our day. <3 Original Segment: http://bit.ly/1Lix9L2Original Video (without subtitles): https://www.facebook.com/PetitJournalYannBarthes/videos/1013093998733798/
Posted by Jerome Isaac Rousseau on Monday, November 16, 2015
Child: Bad guys are not nice. And we have to be very careful because we have to change houses.
Dad: Oh no, don't worry... We don't need to move out. France is our home.
Child: But there are bad guys, daddy.
Dad: Yes, but there's bad guys everywhere.
Child: They have guns, they can shoot us because they're really mean Daddy.
Dad: It's OK -- they might have guns, but we have flowers.
Child: But flowers don't do anything, they're for...
Dad: Of course they do, look, everyone is putting flowers. It's to fight against the guns.
Child: It's to protect?
Child: And the candles too?
Dad: It's to remember the people who are gone.
Child: The flowers and candles are here to protect us?
Dad: Yes (nodding).
Reporter: Do you feel better now?
Child: Yes, I feel better.
Can we fight guns with flowers?
Fight negativity and fear by remembering our humanity, and by choosing to stand for goodness, kindness and hope. More than ever, this is a time to amplify the best within us, tap into our core nature and deal with fear head on. Here are three ways to get started:
1. Get into Action: The antidote for fear is getting into action. While trauma can lead to paralysis, moving into action promotes freedom and an increased sense of control. Do something kind for someone else. Be there for a friend, donate some time to a cause you believe in, say a kind word, give to a food bank, volunteer to read to kids -- it doesn't matter what you do, just get into action.
2. Be Thankful: In a time of chaos and confusion, appreciate the little things in life -- the small moments with loved ones, a good cup of tea, progress on a goal, your dog saying "I'm happy to see you"... everyday things matter. Notice them and mindfully take them in. This is what life is all about.
3. Connect: take time to connect with your emotions. Try treating yourself tenderly, as you would a dear friend. Connect with family and close friends. Connect with the plight of people you do not know. We are on this human journey together, and loving social connections are medicine for the soul. Connect also with something greater, however that is defined. Especially when shocking things happen, we are called to tap into our higher nature.
Together, even in the face of chaos, we can amplify the good. Albert Einstein said, "The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe." Since whatever we put our attention on grows, let's actively choose to bring out the best in each other. Let's focus on inner strength rather than external weapons. Let's focus on what connects us as humanity. Let's deliberately create a contagion of hope and resilience rather than one of fear.
This is an intentional practice, and the more often you boost this way of thinking the better; there are additional resources to support your journey:
Daily inspiration at www.facebook.com/projecthappiness
An online course to activate your best life: http://7doorstohappiness.info/7-doors-to-happiness/
In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, "It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness." We all have that power.