There was a terrorist attack in NYC last night. A man drove a truck onto a bike path, mowing down cyclists over a span of a mile before ramming into a school bus with special needs kids on board. 6 people died on scene and 2 more died in the hospital.
The attack happened in a stretch of the city where I walk often. I was not in the area at the time and I am safe.
The Greenwich Village Halloween Parade went on as scheduled. Police presence was extra strong in light of the day’s events.
As I sat in my apartment, I heard the crowd on the streets beneath my window. I heard the wail of sirens on the streets and chopping of helicopters overhead.
I heard it all, and I felt it in my nervous system. The tightening. The lump in my throat. I cried, and I breathed, slow inhales and exhales, watching my breath flow in and out. I prayed and I held space. For the victims, their families, my city and our world. And even for the man who believed he was carrying out a sacred mission through his cowardly act of terror. He needs my compassion too.
I didn’t ask why. There is no why. No why that makes sense.
Sirens and helicopters are a fact of life in NYC, but it’s moments like this that heighten my awareness of how my body instinctively reacts to the stimuli, especially when they echo the sounds and feelings of 16 years ago.
The wail of sirens racing to a scene. The chopping of a helicopter flying overhead, a plane flying too low against the bright blue sky.
Crisp, clear fall days shattered by unthinkable attacks.
Everything inside me squeezes tight. I am back on 9/11 all over again. I wonder where the attack was. How many are dead? Is everyone safe?
Even an ambulance in the distance on a routine call, a helicopter casually making the rounds, sends my body into recoil.
In moments like this, I am so grateful that I’ve developed the awareness of how my nervous system reacts to these stimuli.
I am grateful for my rituals and practices that help me control and reverse the automatic response. I am grateful for the space I create in stillness. I am grateful for the circles of love and support I have found in my tribes, with others who cultivate awareness and choose to live in intention.
I am grateful for the tools I’ve acquired, developed, and honed that help me remain CALM amidst the CHAOS.
I sit. I cry. I breathe. I feel. I notice.
I open space. I hold space. I listen.
As I move the lump in my throat through my body, as I nurture myself with care, I KNOW, with every fiber of my being, how essential it is that I share these tools with others. My sacred work is calling to be birthed.
I am reminded again tonight of a truth I illuminated when my grandpa got sick:
This is not a test of how much more I can handle. This is not a test of whether my practices work.
The Divine has no need to test us. Instead, she offers us proof.
That I sit here tonight and breathe in silent stillness as sirens wail outside my window is proof that my practice works.
That I feel my breath move through me even as the environment tries to squeeze my body shut is proof that I have learned to keep the space open.
I see you in pain. In distress. In chaos. Reacting to the environment. Caught up in the swirl. And I hold a cure. Like everything else this year, this is proof.
The still, small voice cries loudly. I hear her call over the roar of the crowd, over the wail of the sirens.
She tells me the time is now. It is time to rise.
The Revolution is coming.