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Remembrance, Community, and Unfear

“What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” ~ Helen Keller

Thank you to my friends, clients, and colleagues for your commitment to building relationship and community at work. Every day that we connect to another person and let them know they’re not alone we build greater strength.

The insane media coverage of the ten-year anniversary of 9/11 has given me pause. It is a reminder to build relationships and community, and to value those things in our lives and our work. Despite the overload I feel when I read or watch the news today, I believe it’s important for us to remember. And even more important, to be inspired to be the best of ourselves.

I remember walking through the Manhattan streets that day, watching paper fall and swirl around in a light wind. The streets were almost empty by 7pm, but small groups were clustered together talking about what had just happened. My husband and I were walking home via 6th Street and stopped in an Indian restaurant we used to frequent and sat with the waitstaff and talked. I don’t remember anything that was said, just the comfort of being with caring people who were sharing this experience.  It didn’t matter that we didn’t know each other well, we were from different countries and cultures, we were together, we were neighbors, and we were happy to have food and drink and time to talk about the day. It was really dark below 14th street, I don’t remember if the lights were on in the village or not, but I do remember walking home and looking out across the Manhattan bridge on the surreal darkness and the void where the World Trade Center was supposed to be. I had been scared all day, but this walk home,  surrounded by kindness of all sorts, I realized the power of community, even in someplace like New York City where we can feel so anonymous.

When we remember that we are all in this together, it changes us. We become bigger than just ourselves. We become more responsible because we care about the people around us and their well being. We become more compassionate because we think about how others feel. We become more powerful because we are capable of doing great things together that we can’t do apart.

When you remember where you were on 9/11, and how you felt, my invitation to you is to remember the people you were with. The connection you had to people either close to you or far away. Silently thank those people, whoever they are. If they were in the towers send them a blessing and a remembrance. If they were with you give thanks.

My hope on this anniversary day is that we use this remembrance to celebrate what’s great in our connection to each other, to remember to value times of peace, and to practice Unfear.

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