Reflections on love and tragedy

Sometimes storms do not arrive full-blown. Sometimes, they build over days, or even weeks. An Arctic storm, moving southward, can suddenly crash into a tropical hurricane that's driving North. And when these collisions of weather systems occur, it causes the storm to explode. The sum total of their destructive energy is far greater than what any of them would have been had they remained on their own, creating what meteorologists sometimes call "perfect conditions" for a deadly storm. A perfect storm. And when these perfect storms hit, you have to recognize them for what they are. Acknowledge their awesome power. And hold on tight. - Jake Bohm, Touch

There's a moment for everything in life. There are moments to speak, there are moments to act and more often than we realize, there are times when the best thing we can do is to listen. Sometimes the lessons don't come with words. They're shards that cut through our flesh and slash through the very fabric of our humanity. During these times, we come together as a collective conscience before a flashing neon sign that something is not right. The Why's pile up and taste like excuses. Fingers, like a compass, circle around searching for someone to blame. There are many culprits. Each person, each group will find one that furthers their cause. And none will be wrong. And none will be right. A cacophony of accusations will clash and mingle and leave us all deaf to the real message.

There are moments to speak, there are moments to act and there are times when the best thing we can do is to listen. Senseless hatred cannot be overcome with anger, violence or more hatred. When it feels like the outside world rallies together to break us, that is the time to listen. Nothing that happens outside of us can break us, unless it is also happening inside of us. This is not something that will make sense to everyone. But if it makes sense to you, open up your ears and unshield your heart. Fear turns us into fortresses, when we should be open field. Love is a body armor if only we give it the power to protect us. Self-love is the sail to get us past the perfect storm.

"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'" This Fred Rogers quote has always been one of my favorites. It speaks to choice. The world is what we perceive, where we choose to focus. Tragedy tears at our bonds. It strains the threads of our humanity and thins them to the point of break. But where there is darkness, there is also light. Where there is evil, there will always be good to contrast it. Life is a choice of where to look.

I choose to look at the helpers. The answer to tragedy is never found in tragedy itself. The lessons lie always with the helpers, with the aftermath of outpouring love, with waves of support and reaffirmation that we are all equal and the same. We are connected by invisible threads. Most of us are blind to them, but we feel them nonetheless. As humans, we are hard-wired for connection. When those bonds are torn apart, something breaks within all of us.

Barbara Bloom writes that "when the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something's suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful." This technique is called Kintsugi. It treats breakage and repair as part of an object, rather than something to disguise.

I believe that's how humanity evolves. From our breaks and tears, the collective healing brings together something even more beautiful, more mature and built on love. "The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions." Nor does the heart. We must look beyond ourselves to understand the lessons reserved for us during our lifetime. They've been happening for millennia and will continue to happen until our collective consciousness embraces our wholeness and the healing power of love.

If you're going through something difficult right now, and you feel hopeless and small before it, please remember that you are not alone. You are seen, you are heard and you are loved. We can't always know or understand the reasons for the path our life's taken us, but we can always, always learn from it. Look for the lesson in what you're going through and that is the first step in transcending it. Believe in love and in the abundance of the universe and you'll never want for anything.

We are one.