Before you read this post, I want you to check in with yourself, and see if you are available to put attention toward tragedy.
I want you to notice how you are feeling, just as you read that first sentence. What are you noticing inside? Explore the possibility of not reading further until you feel settled, until you take a look around the space you’re in, feel your feet on the floor, and connect with what feels most safe inside.
Take your time.
And when you feel settled and you feel safe, I’d like to share with you my response to hearing about the school shooting in Connecticut yesterday.
Yesterday, a man killed children and adults at an elementary school in Connecticut.
I heard about it at the end of my work day. I was already full with exhaustion and overwhelm from many hours of the complex heart filled work of being present with people in distress. When a co-worker mentioned the school shooting I asked him not to tell me about it. I couldn’t be available to this news. I went grocery shopping and came home. My roommate then mentioned the shooting. I also asked her not to tell me about it.
I didn’t want to deny the tragedy. I wanted to open my heart.
But I knew I couldn’t do this until I first settled my own nervous system, until I came into a place of rest and resource from which I could be available to move towards this news with love and presence.
Today I woke up rested and safe and cared for. I went to my guitar lesson. My roommate and I got a Christmas tree. It is small and perfect and covered in golden lights. I took a nap. And then I opened my computer with a full heart and ache already blooming to be witness to this tragedy.
My first way in to the news was through Marianne Elliott’s post My small seed of peace. Then I went to the New York Times and read the front page article from yesterday. I didn’t look at any pictures. I didn’t read any other articles.
I read enough to stretch and open my available heart, but I don’t want to read so much that I numb my heart to closed again.
Now I’m sitting with myself and all of you. I’m dreaming of what I love about this life, what I know to be possible when we are present to one another, how precious this moment is, not only because we don’t know what will happen next, but because here is the moment where we have the opportunity to cultivate safety inside ourselves and support it around us, here is where we listen.
May we all know the experience of whole-hearted safety within us. May we all be a safe place for those around us.