Boston Women's Journal - October/November 2005

Reflections on New Orleans

I find it very difficult to come up with anything important to say in the face of the tragedy we are dealing with on an personal and national level at his time. To paraphrase a great world leader, at this moment “We are all residents of New Orleans.”

Several of my clients have strong ties to New Orleans and the surrounding area and they are describing their feelings as ones of deep bereavement. Many feel helpless and frustrated. We have lost more than a city, structures can be rebuilt, we have again lost innocence and faith in the government’s ability to deal with an emergency. We hoped after 9/11 that things would be better, and we would be better prepared. We were not. Many brave men and women have helped, but there is no escaping the fact that it should not have happened. Not this way, and not so poorly managed.

This article below is a rewrite of my response on the anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy, and I hope it brings some softening of the pain to some of you. I have been seeking ways to offer my help in this crisis and will continue to make personal efforts to help, each person’s actions are meaningful.

I am writing to you facing the first anniversary of the September 11 tragedy. Everyone is talking about how to remember and commemorate the day, and I don't really think I have a particular or profound view to offer in terms of understanding the reasons for profound tragedy. I can't provide justification, or an intelligent perspective on local or national politics. Six members of my close family were in the World Trade Center that morning, and all of them survived. I am grateful beyond measure. I received a gift that day that I will remember for a lifetime.

What I would like to comment on is the healing that takes place every day in our world despite the stress, conflict, and pain we all come to take for granted in our daily lives.

It is truly a miracle that all of the parts of our body work in harmony, that our hearts beat in time, our digestive system manages the things we often thoughtlessly throw into it, and our minds can process and deal with the myriad of information that comes through to us every day. We move throughout each day, often forgetting the joy of existence and the gift of each day lived in peace and in health. Our children's laughter, our lover's touch, our parents wisdom, our friends love and support.

As a healer I have often wondered how I can heal in a larger way, a way that moves the world and its people toward peace and a healthy planet; to do as stated in the practice of Judaism, "tikun olom" (to heal the earth). How can I as just one individual carry the responsibility of healing the earth?

I have come to realize that the only way I can begin to understand and make useful tragedy and disharmony that appears to be all around us is to try to practice each day the healing that we do for ourselves and others, by making our bodies whole and our families loving, helping to make our environment clean, making our ways peaceful and keeping a consciousness of each moment's beauty. In this way, perhaps we can move the world toward a place of healing and peace. Our bodies and minds do not wish to live in anger or pain, they strive to growth and health even when they are in a state of illness. People in the last moments of their lives strive to survive and learn.

First we must heal ourselves, making our bodies become as strong and healthy as is possible. Many of us have suffered physical and emotional trauma that is hard to bear. Ask for and receive help in healing from all available sources. People are remarkably able to give. Second we must learn an attitude where we see ourselves and our decisions in a manner in which they may ripple forward and provide ourselves and the world with positive growth. This means working at a job we love, living in harmony with our families and the world, and yes, making a place for tikun olom. This is the best way I can find to walk "the beauty way."

Thank you for listening to my thoughts. I wish you all health and peace.

With personal best wishes,
Wendy Marks


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