As with most of us (probably all of us) I’ve been considering 9/11 on the eve of its 10th anniversary. I’ll be honest, this morning I told my husband that I just wasn’t sure I could handle a weekend of media dedicated to it. Don’t get me wrong. I honor those who lost their lives, those who gave their lives and those whose lives were intimately changed as a result of it. The truth is, our lives were changed forever; we will never be the same nation or people again. I think what I was struggling was how to be with this anniversary in a way that is conscious and respectful.
This morning, I was listening to one of my favorite programs on Public Radio – “This American Life“. They were doing their version of looking back at how 9/11 changed our lives and how different people would be commemorating its occurrence. They re-interviewed people who they had featured one to two years following 9/11. One woman who had been in one of the towers narrowly escaped its collapse. One person lost a loved one in the towers . Interestingly, each stated that they would be “honoring” this date in a quiet, private manner. The woman stated that with each anniversary she always looks forward to 9/12. I was struck by her next comment when she stated that while we were are being told not to forget, forgetting is the only way she knows to heal. To continue to “remember” keeps her experience fresh and raw. She wants so much to forget.
Upon hearing this, I got to thinking about my own feelings. What for me is the best way to observe and commemorate this horrific event? What could I do that would be supportive and not “inflammatory”? Let’s face it, we’ll never be able to forget either as individuals or as a country what happened. We have no choice but to remember; however, we can accept and let go. This is where the healing occurs.
I know this to be true. In 1993, my life changed forever as a result of my husband’s near-fatal automobile accident. To this day, I remember the events and related emotions and feelings. On any given day, those emotions can come up and catch me off guard. I can’t stop those memories, thoughts or feelings. I am powerless to stop them. However, what I’ve learned to do is look at my response in the moment. Over time, I’ve learned to no longer allow those memories and feelings to rule my life. And in doing this, at some point the power of acceptance has taken over and become the norm. I humbly realize that this is my experience and I don’t really know how those whose lives were so intimately impacted feel. I would like to think I know – but I don’t. I only know what I know from my personal life experience.
Based on this realization, my modus operandi for this 10th anniversary of 9/11 is to allow whatever thoughts, memories and emotions come up. Allowing whatever is there to be there just as it is. Moreover, I choose to accept, let go of my personal “stuff” and allow compassion and love to be present for those who perished and for those who so personally remain in the wake of the event. I choose to respect how anyone and everyone commemorates (or not) this 10th anniversary. I’m reminded once again that we are all doing the best we can in any given moment. This isn’t about a “me”…it is about embracing the “us” just the way we are…wherever we are, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I choose to look through the eyes of Love and embrace it all fully.
Namaste Prayer: I honor that place in you where the whole Universe resides. That place of Peace, Harmony and Love. When you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me, there is not two of us. There is only One. Namaste.