People often ask me about how to find optimism or how to anchor love in a world full of tragedy and horrifying acts. I am stunned sometimes myself by life because I am human and vulnerable like everyone else. I only know with certainty that we do not take the pain with us. We only take the love. That tells me that when something unthinkable happens; for instance, when your friend’s daughter or son has been murdered, you must be the one to be willing to do anything to help your friend grieve and feel more loved. You become the love that works to counter unthinkable tragedies.
You cry and grieve with your friend. You stay there even when your friend pushes you away. You remind him or her that grief is necessary and takes a long time to process. You tell your friend to join a support group of other grieving parents. You tell him or her to reach out and comfort others, so that you friend will be reminded how we are all connected. You tell your friend to keep doing loving things for himself or herself even though the grief is so intense that he or she can’t even taste the food or hear the music. Eventually, a little joy will break through. Going through the pain is the only way to slowly get out of it.
Connection and helping others is one of the most profound gifts we can give ourselves. On days, when I could barely get up all the floor for all the grief I carried inside of me, I know my grief evaporated from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. when I was surrounded by the joy, confusion, pain, anger, silliness, happiness, and grief of my students. Solving one of their problems, or even just being a present, caring witness to their pain, made me feel that my life was of value and not random or meaningless. Look to God for the strength that you feel that you don’t have at certain times.
People often ask me about why someone they know or barely know would threaten or terrorize them. For that question, I want to use the wise words of a friend and energy worker who works for the greater good of this world.
He says that, “Each time someone threatens or terrorizes, they are working with the opposite of love, and no good will come from this state of being to the person making the threats. These people’s minds are horribly confused and fearful, and there is no respect for the existence and goodness in others.”
I think it is also important to realize that what terrorizers say is not the truth and only a reflection of their own darkness and pain. As sensitive beings, we can internalize these attacks and wonder if there is any truth to their words, but there isn’t. There is no truth in darkness, and there is no eternal quality to hate.
My friend goes on to say that, “….to be effective as a healer and actually work for the greater good, and have energy flow from ascended masters, angels, and the Divine Feminine, you need to come from a place of unconditional love. This means you need to ask for help in stepping away from the ego. You work for universal and unconditional love. Viewing the self through the lens of unconditional love empowers your work and elevates you tremendously, and your abilities increase exponentially.”
Sometimes, we simply learn how to help heal others who have been terrorized in the ways we have been terrorized. We bring in that unconditional love for ourselves until we are free and we pass this love on to others.
People often ask me how they can help others and what they can do with their limited time and resources.
Years ago, I read the book 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life and decided to secretly (though not now) give gifts in one certain way for each month of the summer break. During the school year, I am busy helping students, but in the summer, I only teach online classes and have more time. This is a hot month in Texas, so my focus this month is on homeless people. I give whatever I can or have on me when I see a homeless person—usually I give money, but sometimes a water bottle, an extra pair of sunglasses, a smile or wave if I have nothing, an apple, a meal, my leftovers from a restaurant, and once I simply gave a man my prayer beads. I give a part of myself to every person I see on these hot streets; their faces are now etched into my mind. I am connected to them, instead of being completely separated behind the glass of my car window. What I am doing is not much; however, I know connection and helping others is where stories begin.
Years ago, I also read the book Same Kind of Different As Me which will soon be turned into a movie. The setting is Fort Worth, Texas, and the story is about a deeply religious woman dying of cancer and her wish that her husband mentor a homeless man. All three of their lives are transformed by this connection.
If you are stumped as to how to help others, you might simply begin by reading about all those who have helped others, and you might get some great ideas. Also, you might simply wait and listen. When someone says that they need something, try to provide it or guide them to the right resource.
Sometimes, simply listening and being fully present is a great gift, especially in a society where too many are glued to their phones, not grounded, and not present even for their loved ones. There are many organizations that need volunteers. You can find ways to help, and remember that the people who you connect with are where the stories begin. Design an amazing story for your life. The greater the love, the better the story.