I’m back in NYC – my hometown, preparing to leave for Los Angeles to start the Inspiration Nation Book Tour on Tuesday, September 13th at The Bodhi Tree in Los Angeles.
Last night it was announced that there is a credible but unconfirmed terror threat for NYC this weekend – the 10th Anniversary of September 11th. There are police checkpoints throughout the city as people and cars are being stopped at checked. I have been wondering, sporadically throughout the day, do I go to ground-zero on Sunday as I have on some other 9/11’s during the past 10 years?
On September 11, 2001 I was at home on the east end of Long Island. I walked my dog on the beach that morning, then went to the gym where I saw the planes fly into the WTC towers. I was shocked for both what had happened and what had happened in the city where I was born and raised.
I spent the day in my garden, listening to various versions of Amazing Grace throughout the day. I was pruning and moving plants and bushes, noticing how some plants can grow side by side and both flourish while others can be overtaken by and invaded by plants that are too close. Isn’t this what it is like with people, as well?
I didn’t watch television that day, I had already seen the images of the planes flying into the towers and they were imprinted after one viewing. In the evening I got on my computer and for the first time I saw the Gandhi quote, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” All day long I had been wondering what I could do to ease the pain of both the victims and the perpetrators of violence and acts of terrorism. Gandhi’s words, offered me my answer. If I wanted a more peaceful and loving world then I would have to be more peaceful and loving. This was the impetus for my 1st book Choose Peace and Happiness.
The following day I got a call from one of my clients asking me to come into the city on Friday to participate in a program for the employees of Mount Sinai and New York University Medical Centers. While I had lead Management Development workshops for them for many years I was being invited in my new role as an InterFaith Minister (I was ordained in June 2001). On Friday I took a bus into the city and was still thinking about what I wanted to say. I questioned if I had the courage to say the final lines of the Loving Kindness prayer wishing peace and happiness to our enemies. Then Gandhi’s words popped into my mind and I knew that to be true to myself those were words I would have to say in the city that, days before, was a target of terrorism.
In these 10 years, I have continued to deepen and expand my commitment to be the change I wish to see in the world. There are days this is simple and then there are moments when this is challenging. Moments when my frustration rears her head and I’m pissed off – but I’ve had enough practice to know that at those moments, peace of mind is a close as my next breath, when I remember to slow down and focus my attention on my breath.
I’m not going to decide today whether or not I will go to ground zero on Sunday – that’s a decision I’ll make on Sunday. Right now I am remembering to stay focused on being loving and being peaceful and to appreciate this present moment. For 9/11 was a reminder to me that at any moment life can change dramatically, so for this moment, what would love do here?
And for me what love would do here is to enjoy the friends I’m seeing on my trip to the city, get ready for my book signings and presentations and cultivate my ever expanding capacity to live my inspired life.
I would love to hear your ponderings on the impact of 9/11 on your life. Share your comments, your wisdom, your thoughts.