I’ve been on vacation visiting friends in New York City this week, and yesterday I saw and felt for the first time the 9/11 Memorial. As I imagine many of you do, I vividly remember exactly where I was when I heard the news of that first building collapsing.
And I remember the deep pain I felt. I didn’t know anyone who was personally impacted. For me, the pain showed up in the form of grief that as human beings some of us had come to the place where flying a plane into a building could seem like a viable choice – that and, of course, the whole history of violence against each other that has unfolded since then.
That time outside of time moment at the 9/11 Memorial, captured by a friend I was visiting in NYC …
As I stood at the edge of the Memorial yesterday, the sound of the water washing over the edges of these two enormous canyons, and into the depths at their centers seemed to dim the sounds of life in the city behind me. I was drawn into a still space, a time outside of time.
And in the quiet on the edge of that canyon at ground zero, as the echoes of my memories of those moments from 2001 washed over me, I felt the courage to anchor even more deeply into my commitment to saying “Yes” to the call of my life.
I will continue to do what’s mine in co-creating in my life and in our world, a greater capacity for being present with our hearts open – first to ourselves, and to each other.
In exploring in my last Musing, the essential value for all of us of the voice of victim, I shared Bessel van der Kolk’s powerful quote:
“Victims are members of society whose problems represent the memory
of suffering, rage and pain in a world that longs to forget …”
It didn’t escape me that at the moment I was standing at the 9/11 Memorial that gives powerful voice to those who lost their lives that day in 2001, across town, and across the country, many were gathering to participate in the March for Our Lives.
2018 NYC March for Our Lives
– photo credit Larry Nelson
Here, the voices of young people, many of whose lives have been directly impacted by gun violence, were joined by many others. Together, they were enacting their commitment to continue to ensure that the memory of this suffering, rage and pain NOT be forgotten.But these leaders – “magic kids”, as some are calling them – are not only being the voice of victim, they are standing and speaking clearly about the change and the vision they have for the world they intend to be part of co-creating.
And they are inviting us all into the shift from a sense of helplessness and no agency, to a state of sovereignty and powerful advocacy – and to do so in the ways that are true for us.
In saying “Yes” to this challenge, the crucial need to for us to expand our capacity for relational presence – especially with those who seem so different from us – is becoming ever more clear. The human emotions we feel don’t exist in isolation. They’re evoked as a result of the relationships between us, and the systems and dynamics with which we interact, and every one of these interactions impact us.
The truth of this was powerfully evoked in a musical I had the gift of going to see during my stay here in NYC. A Letter to Harvey Milk is set in San Francisco in 1986. As a promo piece for the production says, “with its soaring score and deeply-felt, surprisingly funny lyrics – (the musical) deals with issues of friendship and loss, the grip of the past, and the hard-won acceptance set in motion by the most unexpected people.” In one of the powerful refrains in the show, the cast sings “If enough of us hold hands, no one can hold a gun.”
And as David Hogg – one of those “magic kids” – reminded us at the end of his interview this week on Axios, “This is the start of our marathon that we’re going to have, and people are going to try and move the finish line. So we need to conserve our energy, but we also need to implement and use this anger as adrenaline, but realize that the stamina in this situation is love and compassion.”
If you’re looking for a community of support within which to practice speaking for, rather than from, the pain and anger you may be experiencing, and right alongside that, speaking clearly with love and compassion, I’d love you to consider exploring with us. In another line from A Letter to Harvey Milk we’re looking to find “words as tough as nails and soft as silk” to articulate, and courage to live, and fiercely love into reality, the change and the vision we have for our lives and for our world.
One way of creating (or perhaps expanding) our connection is to join me and some of our Realizing RICH Relationships community Tuesday March 27, from 8-9 ET. It’s our usual 4th Tuesday of the month no cost, At Home with Maralyn & Friends call – the EVENING version. If it works for you to join us, I’d love to hear your voice there!