There is an interesting phenomenon that I call the Pendulum Effect, the fact that sometimes, in order to create the change we want, it is necessary to swing the pendulum to the extreme opposite end so that it may finally come to rest in a centered, balanced position. That is my explanation for the tragic events of September 11th, 2001. I also believe there may have been other ways to get to this same point, ways that would not take the same toll in human loss and suffering, yet I admit that I personally can not think of what else could have had the same world-stopping effect.
I believe that this event is the starting point for a new tomorrow and that the choices we make from this point forward will shape what that tomorrow will look like. Listed below are the choices that we must make individually and as a community, whether local, national or global.
1. Love or Hate
This may be the most obvious choice we make. Do we harden our hearts towards everyone different from us? Or open our hearts to all those who share in our pain, regardless or race, religion, national ethnicity? I choose love.
2. Unity or Divisiveness
Do we band together in this hour of sadness? Or continue to focus on our petty differences? If our politicians can be united in their leadership, for one more hour, for one more day, then there is hope for intelligent, sharing dialog that allows us to work together to find appropriate solutions and responses. It also allows us to have confidence in those solutions. United, we celebrate our strengths and our joys and we share our pain and sorrow, easing the burden for each of us. I choose unity.
3. World Focus or Individual Focus
Do we begin to see ourselves as citizens of the world, with disappearing borders and common hopes and dreams? Or do we hide behind our own small defenses, emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically? I choose to be a citizen of the world.
4. Being Paralyzed with Fear or Forging Ahead
Do we stop all movement, fearful of what the next step will bring? Or do we continue to move forward towards our goals. As shock and disbelief give way to a new series of emotions, the need for each of us to refocus on our lives, on our personal dreams becomes evident. We are faced with choices each moment of the day, so we will need to choose over and over again. I know that it will not always be easy, but I choose to forge ahead.
5. Stuck in Anger or Move Through Stages
There are multiple stages to grief: disbelief, denial, guilt, anger, sadness, acceptance, nostalgia, hope for tomorrow, moving on. All are appropriate responses, although we must temper our expression of each and every one of them. Some individuals feel it 'safer" to stay in anger, but any attempt to manipulate the process ultimately ends in failure. I choose to move through the stages, knowing that I will go through each one multiple times.
6. New Beginning or Futile End / Hope or Futility
We can take the opportunity to learn from this event and mold a new beginning, refocusing on what's important and aligning our lives with our values. Or we can see it as the end of peace and security. I choose to honor the victims and see this as a new beginning.
7. Change Agent or "The Way We Were" Agent
In times of stress, people want to find comfort in getting things back to normal as soon as possible. Unfortunately, "normal" is being redefined so we can't find solace there - yet. We can choose to acknowledge and accept that the world is changing or we can jump on the "way we were" band wagon. I choose to be a change agent.
8. Learn or Be oblivious
Lessons abound for each of us. Do we learn the lessons from this tragedy or remain oblivious for a while longer. Remembering that other lessons I refused to learn continued to be repeated until I dealt with them, I choose to learn my lessons.
9. First things First or Go For the Gold
Once such lesson or choice for many of us is refocusing on what's truly important and that is people, whether it be family, neighbors, coworkers, community. We are being blessed with the opportunity to choose people over things. I choose first things first.
10. Leader or Follower
Never in my lifetime have I seen such cohesiveness between American political leaders, nor between so many international leaders. It is inspiring and fills me with hope. There are those (including many members of the media, but I will save you from my rant on the media) who find the unity boring or confusing and who do their best to remind people of the petty differences that existed on September 10th. Individually we can lead others to a new understanding by being willing to hear what everyone has to say or we can follow the pack looking for ways to point out weaknesses (real or perceived). I choose to be a leader. I choose, without reliving my own past political choices, to make my decisions based on actions from today and not last November, or worse, 60 years ago.
copyright 2001 Louise Morganti Kaelin
Louise Morganti Kaelin is a Life Success Coach who partners with
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