When Tragedy Strikes

“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”

― Mahatma Gandhi ―

I’ve been writing and re-writing this entry over and over again. I usually post on Saturdays but I just haven’t been able to get the words out the way I want them to be.

I want to write about the bombing at the Boston Marathon and the events that have transpired since. So many people have written about it. The media has been in a constant frenzy. Dramatic accounts of the tragedy have been everywhere. Articles written on the heroic acts and generosity and heart of people involved have inspired us all.

I think the only thing I really want to say today is: let us always choose love.

In our daily lives. In the decisions we make. In the way we treat others. In the way we treat ourselves.

I practiced my yoga in the early morning one day after obsessively inundating my brain with media coverage on the bombings. I didn’t want to be there. But I knew I had to be. The entire first half of the class my mind kept screaming at me to get out of the room and go home. Roll up your mat. Go back to bed. This is too difficult. I could feel my emotional body trying to shut down. I just kept trying to encourage it to stay open. By the end of the class I was grateful for the yoga and glad I showed up on my mat. I didn’t get a lot accomplished in my physical body but I shed a few tears, released some pent up emotion, and set myself up to live my life that day.

It’s easy to stop living your life when things happen that you just don’t know how to deal with. The good news is people want to support you. Humanity is more kind than we realize and often give it credit for.

Runners from the marathon showed up at the studio and did their yoga. First responders came in after working long hours all week and did their yoga. People who were lost in their everyday lives found themselves again on their yoga mat.

Instructors who grappled with the events personally put their struggles aside and went into the yoga room and gave good energy. Taught people to take care of themselves. To have compassion for their struggle. To thank themselves for showing up. Healed themselves by helping others to heal.

Let us always choose love and remember the outpouring of support that happens in times of tragedy. Let us continue that compassion even as life starts to settle back into a normal routine. Let us see the good in our neighbors. Let us strive to create positive relationships in our lives.

Thank you, Boston, for being the city I call home. Thank you for choosing love.


11 thoughts on “When Tragedy Strikes

  1. Today, I went to Quaker Meeting for the first time in about nine years. Someone stood and spoke, and her message was the same as yours, which is that if we are being true to what is good and true in the world, the only response we can have in the face of suffering, cruelty, violence and hate is love. Yoga is an embodiment of love. I need to get back to my mat. Thank you, Audrey. This is lovely.

  2. Hi Audrey,
    Thanks for your blog entry. I felt compelled to write several, too, during the last few days, especially because I had written about all the buoyant joy I saw in the streets and by the finish line on the Saturday before the race. I had posted lots of pictures of smiling faces so when the tragedy struck two days later, I wanted to make some sense in words and to show some of the images that I saw walking around the “crime scene.” One of the first messages at the Mass Ave end of the cordoned off area said, “Death leaves a heartache no one can heal. Love leaves a memory no one can steal.” You can see a picture of that on my 4/17 posting of bluesteindesign.blogspot.com . It is very much along the theme of your blog posting.

  3. How can you love people who want to kill you and every thing you love?I love and help and have compassion for a lot of people in my life but the people responsible for the horror of last week do not want a loving world.Do not let fear be confused with love.

    • I think your question can be found somewhere in most of the world’s faith traditions. How *can* we love the people that hate us and want to destroy everything we love? It isn’t easy. And it certainly isn’t rooted in fear. Gandhi and Martin Luther KIng,Jr. don’t strike me as cowardly guys. They were aware of the evil of the world, but they refused to answer it with hate.

      • It is something many people struggle with, myself included. Martin Luther King Jr. has the perfect quote for this struggle which I find to be very powerful: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

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