Like many I was deeply saddened and my heart went out to those impacted as I watched what happened in Boston. Those are perfectly natural first reactions. And then we process what happened and can choose how to respond – to stay in fear and grief or to reach out to heal – and that choice makes all the difference in the world.
I thought of 9/11 and how my first reaction was to pull my family closer, as it was last night. After family, we reached out more to close friends and community – those bonds became so much more important.
Then I remembered my own experience. I was born in a country (Burma) that, when I was one year old, was taken over by a military regime which basically ran a terror state. It took several years for us to escape.
I learned how people react to terror. Most pulled inside themselves in fear and locked themselves in. Decades later, you look in the eyes of those people and you see that they never escaped. They’re still prisoners trapped there, living in fear. It never goes away and the terror wins.
It’s absolutely normal for our first reaction to be to close ourselves in, in sadness and fear – that’s human nature and that’s OK.
And then we have the ability to think about it and choose how to respond – to stay in fear or to reach out to family, friends, community and help each other heal and move forward.
This choice was made very clear to me because of a monthly event I host in Halifax called MoMondays, which brings people together with other cool people to hear uplifting stories from everyday people like themselves. The next event is this coming Monday, and this would be the week that I would be heavily promoting it. My first reaction was that we had to cancel – how could I talk about having fun when so many were suffering?
Then I thought about why MoMondays exists and came to realize it offers exactly what we need, especially right now – authentic connection with real people and healing by sharing of stories of renewal and accomplishment.
That made my choice simple – either to stay in the sadness and cancel the event, or to hold it as planned as a place for people to come together to heal, connect and celebrate life. I choose to create that place. The event will go forward, and I’m very grateful and honored to be able to do that.
Every one of us has the same choice. Yes, we need to grieve for those hurt and killed. Absolutely. And then we choose how to respond – to stay in that pain or reach out for family, community and heal together. It’s only together that we heal.
This blog post was written by Ravi Tangri. Catch Ravi at the Halifax, NS MoMonday on 04/22/2013! Get your advance tickets here: Buy Tickets
Ravi Tangri is the host of MoMondays Halifax and the CEO of Chrysalis Strategies. His work focuses on helping individuals, organizations and communities discover their core sense of purpose and then craft their life and plans from that place of meaning and purpose. For more about Ravi, visit .