Tuesday, September 11, 2012

My Sept. 11th

On September 11th, 2001 I was living in the japanese tea house. I wasn't married, or a mother yet. I was just a girlfriend to the buddhist electrician; a nutritionist making her way in the wild world. I was not yet even 30 years old. I was young enough to call my father instantly for reassurance watching the nightmare come true before my eyes, but old enough to know in an instant nothing would be the same.  We had no tv. Internet was dial-up. At 6:30am my friend called me to tell me what was happening. With no voice mail, I heard her voice on the answering machine. I immediately called my sister and sat on the phone with her while she gave me the blow by blows watching tv. The second plane hit the tower. The first building fell. Then the second. People screaming. People jumping from the burning towers. America fell apart, and we cried together. How could this be happening? She worked for Gap corporate then, and the company told them not to come to work that day. Good thing, because I had begged her not to go to work as soon as I saw what was unfolding, before we all knew it was an isolated event. I remember telling her I had dreamed this would happen the previous week. Dreamed of being in the twin towers (which I have never been in) riding an escalator, reading a newspaper while in the building about the future events that were unfolding in my dream. Dreamed of being in the basement while the skyscraper above me fell, dust everywhere. But back then, big news still happened on television and not on the internet, so I felt simultaneously safe being in the middle of nowhere and the angst of having limited information. It seemed the world was in a daze in an instant. Shock worked its way into our nervous systems that day, and we all were just people in the world watching people jump from buildings, crying while feeling completely helpless. 

Sometimes it takes events this big to move us.

And honestly I will tell you I moved into fear. I stockpiled food over the next few months. I made sure we always had gas for the generator to power the house. I asked for a pressure canner that Christmas so I could put food in jars. I made contingency plans with my twin sister who lived in the bay area. It felt like the only way to hold on to control when it felt like I had so little of it in the world. This was before WMD, anthrax, Saddam Hussein, wars in Iraq and a dude named Bush acting like Oz behind a big curtain calling the shots. Every day seemed bleaker.

But then stories emerged from the ashes that moved us. And collectively it seemed that we kept getting messages from those ashes that stayed with us in a different way than before Sept. 11th.
Be kind to your neighbors. Enjoy each day you have. Love your family. Don't take anything for granted. Happiness is an inside job. Life is an illusion. Courage was redefined that day by many, many people.

Sometimes it takes events this big to move us.

A new generation is here now. Technology is here now. I don't live off-grid in the so-called-safety of dirt roads and stockpiling. I live in the security of going inward. I live in the security of knowing that I get to decide where to place my focus when the world is falling apart. I had no way for myself on Sept. 11th 2001.  My first real glimpse of the impermanence of life was Sept. 11th. And if I had not had that gift; that realization that nothing stays, and it is all love anyway, I would not have looked for more.
If we do not know we are suffering then we cannot find a way to love it.
And that day I was moved. And this day I am moved. And I keep going. And I keep loving. And I keep choosing the focus to love. And it is always inward. And a thousand billion tears can be shed, and lives can be lost, and I am thankful for the perfection, even in that. Because more loving can come forward when I choose to see it that way. When the the disaster is the miracle. When love does not fall apart. It glues us together.


Mel said...

Love! It was a blessing to not have a child then. I remember standing in my kitchen, 2 babies at my feet, and thinking to myself what have I done bringing children into a world like this? And wondering how I would explain it all to them.

Jessica said...

Oh Mel I cannot imagine what that day was like with babies. And how today it is to explain it to them, or how they now see that event they don't remember happening. wow.

Becky said...

You have such a way. xo

Tehya said...

What Becky said. Thank you for your words. And your heart!

Jessica said...

Thank you Becky & Tehya xo


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