Response from Anandra: You’ve already started, by asking the right question: How can we heal ourselves?
There is no doubt that such an act is almost incomprehensibly tragic. The knee-jerk reaction to violence is often violence, either in the form of a wish for retaliation as justice, or in the form of judgment and anger. The tendency is to find someone to blame, and seek their punishment, as though that will right the scales and bring peace.
However, a tragedy of this magnitude suggests we would be wise to disarm that knee-jerk reaction and seek the cause. The question is, can we transform our response to this violent act into one that serves peace? Within ourselves, and within the world?
To unravel the tangled roots of violence in ourselves, and in the world, first we must diffuse our tendency to disconnect, react, recoil, label, and judge. Judgment leads to violence. Connection leads to peace.
People act in violent ways, either subtly or overtly, when they have lost hold of that thread of connection to the life that binds us inextricably to all.
The connection to the life of the innocent victims is easy to find, and naturally, we mourn the loss. We might have to search a bit deeper to find the thread of connection to those we blame for the violence: the murderer, the policy makers, the gun rights lobbyists, the video-game makers, religious and military fanatics, and others who appear to contribute to a culture of violence. But if we truly want peace, we must embrace them most of all. It is easy to pray for the victims, but the victimizers need even more help.
I was in the Redwood National Forest recently, and I wondered, from a deep sense of mourning, how anyone could ever dream of murdering those ancient grandmothers and grandfathers, who are so vivid and wise. And the answer came, "They didn't feel connected to them."
If there is connection, there is no possibility of destruction.
And so, my heart re-committed to helping people find connection to nature. Just as I'm recommitting to help people find connection to themselves and others in the wake of this tragedy.
To begin transforming our tendency towards violence/separation into a tendency towards compassion/connection, I suggest two things:
- Reach towards embracing someone in your community who feels they are disconnected. A homeless person? A mentally ill person? A social outcast? A smile or a kind word, coming from your heart, will make a big difference.
- On a more subtle, but perhaps even more powerful level--inside yourself--embrace the parts of you that are disconnected and outcast. Can you disarm your judgments of yourself, and create non-violence towards yourself? When you are established in compassion for yourself, you radiate an environment of compassion around you.
Anandra, Intuitive Life Coach
Disclaimer: Anandra's advice is not meant to override your personal health providers' recommendations/prescriptions, but is intended to offer a new perspective and encourage your inner wisdom to guide the best course of action.
Photo credit and info: NEWTOWN, CT - DECEMBER 18: A sign hangs near a cemetery where shooting victim Jessica Rekos was to be buried on December 18, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. Funeral services were held in Newtown Tuesday for Jessica Rekos and James Mattioli, both age six, four days after 20 children and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)