Healing after Tragedy

I’m devastated by what happened in Connecticut last week. Horrified. I’ve cried and hugged my kids tighter, and I’ve prayed. I’ve wondered why. I’ve engaged in precisely one conversation about gun control.

That was enough.

I understand that people are upset and they want a solution RIGHT NOW. They want someone to pass a law to make things better. They want better mental health treatment. They might even want to ban video games. It is horrific what we’ve all had to watch. And it’s more horrific that parents are waking up days before Christmas without their beautiful babies.

I don’t like guns either. I don’t like violent video games. I wish that I could make them ALL go away and live on a peaceful planet where we work in harmony to make the world a better place. I am very idealistic in this regard, I know, and I will leave figuring out the best course of action policy-wise to those who have done their research.

I am fully aware that the solution to this problem is beyond me. I can’t make it all go away. And that’s very disempowering.

Being disempowered does not make for a productive, happy self. And I know a lot of us are feeling rather disempowered, unhappy, fearful and depressed.

It’s easy to take aim at what we think the problem is and try to cut it out of our reality and make it go away. But we aren’t going to do that in this moment.

This moment is all we really have. We can’t change what happened in the past. We can’t wish it away. We can’t disarm the whole world and force people to love each other. We can’t even change the future; it doesn’t really exist.

All we truly have is this moment.

You have an opportunity right here, in this moment, to make the world a better place. You can say a kind word. You can do something for someone. You can say a prayer or send some love & light. You can simply close your eyes and tune into something within you that makes you smile.

You can’t change what happened in this moment. But you can do something in this moment that makes you/someone else feel better.

Empowerment comes when you can let go of the things over which you have no control and seize control of the things over which you have absolute control.

There are things, in this moment now, that you have absolute control. What will you do with that control?

  • Will you spend this moment arguing with someone about what must happen next?
  • Will you spend this moment reliving what happened by watching the news or reading an article?
  • Will you spend this moment curled up in the fetal position rocking back and forth in fear?

Not to say that we shouldn’t grieve, as grieving is healing. Not to say that we shouldn’t consider a healthy course of action for our legislation going forward. Not to say we shouldn’t look at the psychological causality of such of an event.

But if we wish to be empowered towards a change, we must remain mindful as we do everything in consideration of the event. And we must take control of the things we have control over, which isn’t much in the face of such a tragedy. But in reality, it is all we have.

We can say a kind word. We can forgive. We can send love. We can pray. We can take a moment and do something kind for someone that makes their day. We can find something that makes us happy and bring more joy to our own lives.

In this moment, there is something you can do to make the world a better place. As we all do that, the positive in the world is magnified. As the positive in the world is magnified, so too is our ability to make real changes in the world as a whole.

“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.” – Gandhi


121212 Concert Blew Me Away

I rarely watch TV anymore. In fact, we don’t have traditional television, only a Roku. Well, Claire is a huge Chris Martin/Coldplay fan, so I loaded up the 121212 concert for her last night so she could see him.

I have always enjoyed music. While I look back on some of my high school music choices with wonderment (just why did I like Adam Ant so much?), I think I have some fairly decent and eclectic musical tastes. But in the last 10 years, I haven’t listened to much music. Well, unless you consider the myriad renditions of Itsy Bitsy Spider that I’ve heard true music appreciation… then I suppose I’ve listened to music. So when I fire up some tunes, I’m usually jet setting back to the 80’s or earlier.

I made a commitment earlier this year to listen to more music. I bought myself a Pandora One account, and I started telling it what I wanted to hear. One day, Coldplay The Scientist came on my R.E.M. station. I thought, wow, this is a beautiful song. I wonder who sings it? Then I listened to it a few more times.

Claire, always present and listening along, decided that it was her new most favorite song ever. We watch the video. Who is the guy? I go look it up. His name is Chris. Thereafter, she would only listen to a song if Chris sings it. Our Coldplay appreciation grew. She has her favorites (Clocks, The Scientist, Paradise, Viva La Vida), but she also appreciates many of the more obscure Coldplay songs.

One great thing: she wants to learn how to play the guitar and the piano because Chris does. Bingo. I’ll capitalize on the fangirl crush and we’ll make that one happen! At least I have one kid interested in music; Max could care less.

So, I turn on the concert and go about my business. Oh look, there’s Roger Waters. Eddie Vedder. Holy crap, Eric Clapton. By the time they got to The Who, I was full on singing at the top of my raspy cold-filled lungs and dancing around to Baba O’Riley embarrassing myself in front of my children.

I may have scared the dog.

But seriously. Roger Daltrey blew me away. He’s freaking 68. He and Pete Townshend freakin stole the show.

I did not expect to enjoy the 121212 Concert as much as I did, but it was exceptional. (Except Kanye. Why Kanye, I will never understand. There are multiple east coast based rappers that they could have chosen that would have been more appropriate and interesting. I am glad Kanye was singing rather than speaking, given his poorly chosen incendiary words during the hurricane Katrina fundraiser. I wonder if Mike Myers ever recovered.)

And then, after staying up late to see her beloved Chris Martin, Claire jumps up and down and hugs the TV. Then he brings out Michael Stipe. Oooh, more fun for me. Poor Claire… she was rather disappointed! I let her watch the Coldplay 2012 concert today to make up for her disappointment. And she asked, “Where are Chris’ friends?” She actually noticed that the rest of Coldplay wasn’t there.

And oh, Chris Martin, I hope you are rocking as hard as Daltrey/Townshend in 40 years. Still blown away.

And of course, DONATE. Lots of people on the east coast are hurting big time after Hurricane Sandy. I hope you were as inspired as I was to reach out and help others who need it.


Rewriting Greek Mythology

Every night, the kids gather around and I read to them. Being kind of a nut about classics, history, and meaningful learning, I was scouring our overfilled bookcases for something meaningful that they would actually enjoy. In Mark’s bookcases (which are usually off limits to us; he’s kind of obsessive about his books!) we found a book about Greek heroes. It took about a week to read every story, and they loved them.

I then supplemented with another book about Greek mythology directed for younger audience.

Max now has been asking me to read Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth. The dialogue between Moyers and Campbell is a little over Claire’s head, but Max is REALLY into it. So far, he’s really interested in how the creation story is similar across different cultures. However, when he starts asking for more specifics about an indigenous mythology, I’m a little lost on answers.

Claire is missing her Greek heroes, so she decided to write her own stories. At age 4, she’s re-writing some of her favorite stories. Perseus, noted as the killer of Medusa, is now only allowed to kill wild boars. Atalanta, previously a killer of wild boars and destroyer of misogyny, will now be the slayer of Medusa. Apparently, Claire has bigger plans for Atalanta. She has her own little book she made from pieces of white copy paper stapled together. And here’s what she wrote:

Claire wrote “Perseus killed the wild boar.”

I helped her with spelling, and of course some of her letters are a bit challenged, but the girl certainly has some initiative. Here’s hoping she didn’t make Zeus upset by demoting his demigod son!


Miracles come in all packages

We’ve been getting an immense amount of rain here in Mount Shasta, and they’ve predicted that the snow up on the mountain will break previous storm snowfall records… of course the previous record is on Mount Shasta, too.

The winds the other day were immense. So much so that an 80 foot tree on our property fell and nearly hit the house.

Alex and Riley sniff the new bush. That’s the cherry tree that got slammed by the tree.

I had loud music on in the other room (it was probably Coldplay, due to Claire’s recent Chris Martin obsession), so I didn’t hear it. I felt it, though, and figured Mark had dropped something upstairs. I went to investigate.

The tree roots. A very small tree in front of them. Our house in the background.

It was a tree that had fallen. It narrowly missed the house.

Had it fallen two feet the other way, it would have damaged the house.

The very top of the tree was resting on the back porch. It almost hit the house.

It’s pretty amazing that an old 80 foot tree would fall in the least damaging place possible, by a matter of inches. Of course, we have many other trees on our property that could be toppled by wind, which left room enough for paranoia that an entire room might be taken out. But we survived.

We also got some more firewood, always helpful in a Shasta winter. And we’re taking the very top of the tree, as mangled as it is, for our Christmas tree this year.

This year, 2012, has been quite a challenging year. We’ve had all sorts of things pop up that changed the game. Each one of them had a karmic depth of challenge that was unusual. And each one was dealt with, bringing a new level of manifestation mastery. Life is better because of the challenges, not worse.

When we were living in Texas, I knew deeply that we were to move to California, and it was only a matter of time before it opened up and we were to move. Within hours of letting our landlord know that our time in Texas would be limited, we received a phone call letting us know that a house — this house — was opening up for us. We thought that living in this amazing house was only going to last for a few months. However, we’ve been gifted with an opportunity to live here for three years now.

The house here has been a huge gift for everyone involved. It has given us inspiration, a sanctuary, a place of connection, and clarity. That’s been a gift from being in Mount Shasta, but this house is a huge part of it. Some of the circumstances around the house might not be clearly a miracle, but the actual end result of being here has been miraculous.

In other news, Max is doing extremely well in school this year. He’s got perfect attendance, made honor roll, and got a good citizenship award. Shasta has been exceptionally good for him, too.

As we come up on our three-year anniversary of moving to Mount Shasta, I can honestly say that every thing that happens to us here is a miracle, even the things that seem like they’re not.