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Dealing with the Tragedy in Colorado

Posted Jul 20 2012 9:38pm

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu



May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.  (source)

This morning I woke up feeling better than most days.  I had slept well and by the time Angie started whimpering to wake me up to take her outside, I didn’t groan too much or go back to bed afterwards.  However, after I made a cup of coffee, I opened my laptop to see a headline about a shooting at a premier of The Dark Knight Rises.  It didn’t say where it had occurred, but immediately two things came to mind: 1) My sister went to see that movie last night with her boyfriend and 2) I hope it wasn’t in CO because that’s where my sister is.

I’m grateful that my sister and her boyfriend weren’t at that theater, but inside my heart still broke.  I couldn’t fathom what happened and I felt devastated.

One of the hardest things for me is to validate the pain that I feel when tragedies like this happen, even when I’m not immediately involved.  I’ve spoken briefly before on the blog about how I didn’t feel I had the “right” to grieve the 3 friends I lost between December and April because I wasn’t extremely close to them.  I’m even further removed from this tragedy but it is still a TRAGEDY.  This is a horrific, terrible event that happened about 40 minutes away from where I grew up.  Even if this wasn’t in Colorado, I’d still probably feel this devastation.

Movies are special for me and they are for many people.  It’s a chance to escape from monotony or difficulties that occur in the real world and delve into a comedy, a romance, or a thriller.  It’s a chance to leave our problems at the door and immerse ourselves into a world of mostly fiction so that we can recharge our own batteries and not worry about our own lives for an hour and a half.  But now what? What happens to the people in that theater and the ones next door? What do movies mean to them now?

I feel overcome with helplessness because I want so badly to help these people who were turned into victims.  It’s not fair that this happened. I don’t like that this happened. I’m sad, angry, and confused, along with many other people in this nation.  At the same time, I don’t want to be perceived as “making a big deal” out of something that didn’t directly affect me.

Many of us are quick to dismiss our feelings and thoughts about a situation because of intense self-judgment.  Some of it is learned behavior, and remnants from our past when we may have been invalidated by others and were taught that our feelings were insignificant and unimportant. It is important that we fight against these ingrained beliefs and honor our emotions.  This time though, I’m pushing my ego aside because this horrific event has forever changed the lives of so many people, and my heart hurts for them.

So how do we honor our emotions? By taking care of ourselves.  This means different things for everyone.  For me it means letting myself feel sad about the tragedy and thinking of some way that I could help those who have been impacted.  I’ve started a website called Remember the Knight   as a way to leave notes of encouragement or support for those impacted by the massacre.

I know this isn’t the most cheerful of posts, but I needed to put this out there.  I hope you will all take a moment just to send a hope or prayer for those who have just had their lives changed by this.  May we all be grateful for what we have and who have in our lives.

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