It is the anniversary of 9/11/2001, and the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City still loom vividly in the peripheral vision of many deeply affected by the events that day. Like floaters that block our ability to see, 9/11 continues to block the ability for some to live fully. Disasters have a staying power for those who experience them first-hand. Trauma alters consciousness in permanent ways. Afterwards, the world never looks the same.
These are dismal thoughts perfectly tailored for a somber day in September. And yet, having had my share of permanent effect from 9/11, there is a lesson that remains true even if we fail to acknowledge it:
We. Are. Stronger. Than. We. Know.
Disasters and severe challenges of any sort can take us into a black hole of despair where we lose perspective, hope, and confidence in the power of the human spirit. We forget what we are–divine beings with infinite possibilities and infinite innate wisdom to overcome all that life presents. We relinquish our inner strength and hand it over to people, entities, or events that consume it greedily and use it against us; we are beaten into submission and our instinctive sense of resolve is destroyed.
If only we could remember at the most trying times that:
a) All we have to do to reclaim our strength is to declare it to ourselves—possession is nine-tenths of the law after all;
b) If we have made it through any other challenging times, however small, we can do so again;
c) We are as strong as our weakest link and sometimes that weak link is our own lack of hope;
d) Simply desiring to break the chains that bind us to tragedy and being brave enough to believe that freedom is possible can free us of the permanency of trauma-induced backlash;
e) Our spirit soul is not defined by our life’s experiences; instead, experiences–especially traumatic ones–serve to present a particularly challenging lesson that will allow our spirit soul to grow exponentially. We are in control of whether we advance spiritually or lose the lesson altogether.
A Triathlon for the Living
My sister is currently training for a triathlon to benefit the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. Her young son has been struggling with the disease for several years now. In his critical growth years, he, at age 12, has lost 15 pounds since January from flare ups of the disease. His doctors struggle with making decisions about whether to give him the chemo medication he requires to suppress the flare ups or to hold off and mastermind a way to help him hold food down and gain some weight. His eyes are sunken and his body is tired. But his spirit is strong. Even as he struggles to achieve normalcy by attending school regularly and avoiding schoolmates that tease him mercilessly, he remains positive. He is amazing. His spirit soul is beautiful.
My Sister? A Triathlon?
My sister is competing in a triathlon. She is not an athlete by any stretch of the imagination. She is a dedicated but frightened mother who is trying to support her son in any way she can imagine. She and her family have been living in temporary housing since their home was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in the metro New York area last year. Just this week as she gets the news about her son’s treatment plan for the week–the first weeks of his 7th grade school year, mind you–she is dealing with an eviction notice from the apartment complex where she has a temporary housing arrangement through her insurance company. They are threatening to kick her and her family out by end of month. The eviction notice was stealthily delivered by a fake pizza delivery guy.
The eviction is simply due to miscommunication between her insurance company, State Farm Insurance, and the apartment complex, but tomorrow she must go to a court room to explain the situation. FEMA is also involved in the now 10-month arrangement to fix her house. As I write this, the house sits gutted out without a roof and with absolutely no activity for months now. This is but one example of a day in the life of my sister who seems to have been dealing with extreme circumstances in her life for at least 15 years now. She amazes me with her spirit soul strength. She lives on the edge of hope, teetering between an infinite black hole and an infinite inner strength that leads her out of precarious positions like this one and into the role of crusader. I liken her to Joan of Arc. My sister is the one who, in the throes of battle when the flag has fallen down onto the battlefield, will run forth from the rear, all bloodied and spent, and scoop up the flag to lead the weaker ones to victory. She is amazing. Her spirit soul is beautiful.
We Are Stronger Than We Know
- The World Trade Center disaster
- Hurricane Sandy
- Battles with physical illness
- Battles with mental illness
These are just a few of the struggles I and/or those who are closest to me have dealt with over the years. Not all of us have been getting through it well. Some survive. Some thrive. Some fall into the black hole. Those of us who are making it through can do little else but be the bearers of the good news:
Each of us has the power to make it through. We are stronger than we know. We are amazing. Our spirit souls are infinitely wise, powerful, beautiful and capable of healing our battered selves. All we need to do is BELIEVE and it will be so.
God bless all that have fallen, all that were taken, and all those that struggle to see their inner strength. Let us all be at peace; let our spirit souls soar.
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