As I watched the news unfold this week about yet another terrorist attack in Melbourne and about another mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, in California, I recognised the words from a clients in a coaching session, “You know, you can’t go anywhere anymore. Nowhere is safe.”
I’ve always known life is fragile. My mother, just six months after giving birth to my beautiful younger brother fell out of the open door of a farm truck at just a few km/hr and was crushed by the rear wheels right there in front of my eyes. I was three years old. It burnt a hole in my heart. And I learnt what I can never be forgotten, “Life is fragile.”
But the idea that nowhere is safe anymore is a terrifying reality, isn’t it? How does one “live” when one feels that nowhere is actually safe to live? That’s a question each of us must ask ourselves these days.
For me, it’s all just another reminder to get my house in order. I don’t mean my physical house, per se. (Although getting my house in order over the summer really did help center me.) No, I mean my house of relationships. Because the truth is, you just never know.
Too many of you are slaves to your jobs. You work to create wealth, you spend that wealth and then work to create more wealth. Most don’t even love their jobs. So we work at jobs we don’t like with sometimes people we don’t love to earn what we consume. No one wants to end up thinking, “I wish I had told my kids I loved them.” “I wish I had made amends with that friend.” “I wish I had told that person how important they were to my life.”
The list goes on.
I was in New York when the World Trade Centre was hit. I watched that internal movie of my mother passing all over again but for thousands. My internal house was in order, I knew I would have no regrets if I was one of the people who lost their life that day.
Having my internal house in order brought me a sense of peace and calm that had eluded me for much of my business life. The first step was realizing that I needed to do it. The second was having conversations that I used to shy away from. Those conversations, while never easy, have brought me a sense of peace and purpose I could have never imagined.
Getting clear about my values and who and what I value has really helped me feel more grounded in my being. It’s helped me remove people and items from my life that no longer serve me, bring me joy or make me feel at home.
As you know I’m an advocate for mobile meditation. A way of living that sees life itself, all aspects of it both good and bad, as a part of the fabric of meditation. I am a renegade that argues “if you can’t see god in the eyes of another human being, then all the prayers in buildings are a lie.” Getting my internal house in order was not achieved through sense withdrawal but more, the opposite.
Life is incredibly fragile. It’s uncertain. We are all living in the unknown. We are all living in precarious times. Just a day after the families in Thousand Oaks were left reeling from the shooting tragedy in their community, they were forced to evacuate their homes (75,000 people) due to the threat of wildfires. Many more people have had to do the same throughout northern and southern California. The community of Paradise, CA, was devastated and destroyed by the fires in just a few hours. My heart hurts at the whole tragedy and goes out to all of the families impacted by these fires right now. But still, they have each other and will value that even more.
We just never know what will happen one day to the next. That’s why we must each decide whether we will live each day to its greatest potential, or whether we will succumb to the fear and belief that nowhere is safe.
Me, I want to choose to live my life from a loving space. I prefer not to be agitated by anger, nor frustrated by management, nor provoked by my arbitrary judgements of the “way things are.” I really choose to take responsibility for how I see the world, and when it isn’t beautiful, I simply change the prescription of my glasses.
So while the world can feel scary (and I know it is), we can also choose to step above the fear and look for the order in the chaos. Be hopeful that things are as they are meant to be. I believe that they are
The truth is, you don’t have to change your job or complain to someone about how things aren’t. You can see through the optics of the press and find the good news, the hopeful, the things that are special, and build those relationships.
You also don’t have to witness a mass killing or lose a family member to violence to get serious about the issues that are confronting us all. You can start today.
You can start right now by getting your internal house in order. Sit down. Take a deep breath. Straighten out your physical surroundings. Organize your thoughts. Check in with yourself regarding your values.
Below is what I read today from someone who invested time and effort to get their house in order. I encourage you to repeat it to yourself this morning.
“My home is a place of beauty, as is the home inside me. My home is a place of order, as is the home inside me. My home is a place of joy, as is the home inside me. My home is a place of joy, as is the home inside me. My home is a place of safety, as is the home inside me. I don’t need anyone else to validate these truths for me. I need to validate them within myself. I am at home. I am safe.”
Take steps towards getting everything in order. You will feel better for it, trust me. When those you love know that you love them, you will feel calm. When you believe that you’re living a life of hope and purpose, you will feel fulfilled. You will feel safe.
That’s what I’m deciding to do today.