I am mourning today.

Grieve for those the world lost in Paris .. just because we ride the waves of grief for them does not mean that evil has prevailed, it is merely a symbol that we are all connected as one through the human experience. The following piece by Leslie Woodward beautifully depicts a message of love amidst tragedy and sorrow. 
On Friday, my husband and I were on a plane when the attacks took place. We caught glimpses of the horrific news in between flights and again once we arrived at our destination. I was in shock, and had no time to process it all. It was a short trip packed tightly with events for the wedding we were attending and catching up with family. We headed to the airport Monday morning, bought a newspaper, and sat down to finally read and feel the terror of what took place on Friday evening in Paris.

And I finally wept. Am weeping, as I write this. Seeing pictures of the fear, desperation, agony… I am left with a deep pit in my stomach and an overwhelming sense of misunderstanding. How can human beings  do this? To not attack a government building or an iconic city structure (not that those are any less horrible), but to carefully select targets where innocent people are relaxing, enjoying time spent with those they care about. How? My mind is spinning. My heart is racing. I am shaking. I am at a loss.

And at the same time, I feel that we are being challenged, as a global community. How can we join together, despite our differences, to stand up to this hatred, to this delusion. How can we take the fear, devastation, loss, and turn it into love, togetherness, and mindful action.

In a world where such unspeakable tragedy happens every day, how can we remain informed, yet consistently come back to love, compassion, and hope. It is hard. Sometimes impossible. At times I have avoided the news entirely as I am a special breed of human that is deeply affected by it. When I see pain, I feel it in every ounce of my being. I take it on, and always have. My struggle has been to see it, and feel it, and then to return to love. If fear takes over, aren’t they winning?

In Buddhism, it is taught that we are all the same- we are all one. When I see strangers, sometimes I’ll pick one out and wonder about their life. Where is he going? I wonder what struggles she has in her life right now? Is he well-loved by his family? Is she happy? When we can exit the self-centered sphere we live in (myself included) and ask questions about others, we can cultivate understanding and compassion.

Who were those 7 men? What were they like? How were they loved? What were they afraid of? The Buddha said that if one is truly happy, they cannot harm another. How were those men hurting? Who taught them that hatred was the path to Heaven/Self-realization/Eternal love? I’m not claiming that generating compassion for a terrorist is an easy practice, but without attempting to understand, I don’t think we are doing our job to be mindful, informed, deeply loving beings. They caused irreparable pain, and we will mourn, but to turn that tragedy into something productive, I feel it is with the return to love. Always.

I am sending love and prayers your way, and to the people of France. May we see through the darkness and into light, joined together.

Love,
Leslie