I am embarrassed by my naiveté in claiming, last Tuesday, that when bad things happen to good people, it leaves you “mangled, by the side of the road, staring up into the heavens and defeatedly asking, ‘why?’”
“Mangled” and “defeated” do nothing to convey the soul-splitting sorrow, rage and helplessness that have swept this country since Friday, and I won’t pretend to know the magnitude of desolation the families of the Newtown victims are suffering.
Like most of the world, I have felt inclined to tell you, via social media, how horrified I am by these events, but a newsfeed of fear and hostility only proliferates fear and hostility and I refuse to reap, nurture or spread those emotions.
My tears help no one unless I follow them with action.
As a parent, I instinctively reacted to Friday’s news by wanting to shield my own children from the world. However, if I allow fear to guide my life, then the killer will have killed ME and MY family, too.
I won’t stand for that.
Desperate for answers, I wanted to understand how, IN GOD’S NAME, the various churches could [profanity] explain why God would [profanity] ALLOW THIS, but any explanation of this unconscionable act would be insultingly insufficient. It would not alleviate our devastation, and it will never bring those babies safely home from school.
My very much ALIVE family needs love from me (not despair.) Because the media was only feeding my outrage, I have been unplugged since Friday so that I could honor those 26 innocent souls the only way I knew how: by being lovingly present with my family, and by meditating on my own responsibility regarding world affairs.
Today I have crystal-clear acuity on what WE (that’s ME and YOU and YOUR FRIENDS and MINE and EVERYONE ELSE TOO, Reader) needs to do about Sandy Hook.
We need to start taking responsibility for the energy we are bringing into this world.
Yes, gun laws need to change. Yes, the psychological health field needs to be more accessible and less taboo. I encourage you to take action in those areas and to share opportunities for me to do the same.
But if I or you are content to post a Facebook message with our condolences or sign a petition against the right to bear arms or send a check to a Newtown charity AND THEN GO ON LIVING OUR LIVES AS IF WE HAVE DONE ALL THAT WE COULD DO, then we might as well spit on those 20 tiny graves because we have done respectively NOTHING to make sure that they did not die in vain.
Last Tuesday I wrote, “They say that everything happens for a reason. I believe that sometimes it’s up to US to find that reason. Maybe that decision – that refusal to allow anybody we love to suffer in vain – maybe THAT is where God hides when bad things happen to good people.”
Please do not mistake me for suggesting that the “reason” for something this horrific may ever JUSTIFY it. I DO, however, mean to explicitly state that YOU PERSONALLY are empowered to ensure that the cold-blooded deaths of those innocent babies brings positive change to this world.
Those babies and teachers died because our world is sick. We have allowed hatred and irresponsibility and blame and selfishness to procreate like mice. Most of us still have consciences, but come game-time, we too often cave into excuses instead of honoring our commitments, choosing understanding over defensiveness, and nurturing our bodies and souls so that we CAN show up energetically to help our world.
We think that those little things we do every day are insignificant. But the little things are the big things.
It appears as though it was not obvious to anyone how sick the killer was before he committed this heinous crime. Maybe this happened to draw our attention to how sick the WORLD is.
All social change starts within. You know the ripple effect of both positive and negative actions, and you know that your actions are a reflection of the state of your interior. So you (and I and ALL of us) must ask ourselves:
- How am I showing up in this world?
- Am I tilling the seeds of positivity, or am I nurturing and encouraging negativity?
- …in my thoughts?
- …in my newsfeed?
- …in my idle conversations?
- …in my encouragement of others?
- What do I KNOW I need to be doing in order to put me in a more empowered place so that love guides my actions?
- Hint: here are some good starting points:
- Exercising daily
- Meditating daily
- Sleeping well
- Eating nutrient-dense foods
- Practicing gratitude
- Surrounding ourselves with uplifting people
- Journaling on your life purpose and how you can serve others
- Hint: here are some good starting points:
It is with newfound vigor that I re-commit to courageously letting myself shine and to encouraging others to do the same.
In light of Friday’s tragedy, do not mistake my hopeful optimism for ignorance or passivity or detachment or acquiescence. Know that I smile, not because I turn a blind eye to the pain and suffering of the world, but because the pain and suffering of the world is a purple-embered fire in my soul that will fight, tooth-and-nail, to ensure that positivity triumphs over evil.
I invite you to do the same.
We do not prove our goodness by reacting to evil with anger. We prove our goodness by reacting to evil with love.
So take that anger in your bones and harness it. Enlist it. Aikido it into a bone-deep INSISTENCE on getting yourself to a place where you can love the crap out or yourself today. Love the crap out of your family, love the crap out of your boss, and love the crap out of the guy who cuts you off on the highway.
Eventually, together, we will love the crap right out of this world.
We will do it for Newtown. We will do it for all of us.
Written in memory of 26 innocent souls, taken too soon, but not without provoking widespread change.
A Licensed Joyologist, Waxer of Philosophy, and Optimal Living Evangelist, Bethany Pearson O’Connor dreams that her own journey with learning to “Let It Shine” may assist YOU in unapologetically spiraling towards the greatness that is YOUR destiny, too. If being “Authentically You” sounds scary to you (as it once did to her), then she prescribes a healthy dose of Gratitude, Humor, Loving Kindness, and Optimism…all of which are available for free on her Catching the Light blog.