Boston: What Can I Do?

I debated about what to write.

I have much to say, but few words in which to say it right now.  (I did find my way to my paints.  You can see what I created over on the Being Breath Facebook page.)

I don't feel there is one right way for anyone to process the tragedy that happened in Boston.  

Turn within and do what you need to do, for yourself and for all of us.



A few resources for various paths:



If you want to reflect further on the events, try these:

A fascinating story of the reality of the events

Ethan Nichtern's Response

Perspective on the history of the Boston Marathon 



If you need acknowledgement and comfort in suffering, try this:

Staying With An Aching Heart (written over three years ago, but very relavant) by Oriah Mountain Dreamer 



Wanting to know why?

An older post by Karen Maezen Miller offers a response.



For parents:

One mother's perspective

Acknowledging fear as a mother

Some suggestions for how to handle this with your children.

Helping Children Deal with Tragic Events in the News: Timeless wisdom from Fred Rogers... (a PDF)




If you feel you need to do something, for yourself or others, start here:

A meditation practice for those with heavy hearts

Pema Chodron explains Tonglen, a practice to help with all of our suffering

Prayer for Boston by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

Look through USA Today's list of ways you can help.

(See more below)



If you want to focus on the positive, I recommend this:

stories of courage and kindness after the explosions

More beautiful stories of kindness



For runners (or walkers) (or anyone willing and able to move):

Run 26.2 for Boston (a Facebook group for those open to dedicating their next 26.2 miles to Boston runners - whether done over a day, a week, or a month)



Wondering what to do now?  Choose one, some, or none of the following:


  • Turn off all sources of media.  You know enough.  


  • Peruse all sources of media.  Allow yourself to fully immerse in the reality of what happened.


  • Meditate.


  • Write down every single one of your thoughts and feelings.  Keep writing until you feel you can't write anymore, and then write another page.


  • Paint.  Don't try to paint anything in particular, just paint.


  • Call a friend.


  • (Need a bit more help processing all of this?  Call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at 1-800-985-5990)


  • Find a quiet space and allow yourself to journey into the thoughts you are avoiding about this event.  Breathe with them all.  Allow them to transform you.


  • Stop thinking about all of this.  


  • Do a load of laundry.


  • Do a random act of kindness.   If you can't do one right now, plan one to do in the next 3 hours and make sure to follow through.


  • Put on your calendar one day each month for the next year that you will donate blood.  Or maybe three days each month.  (Find out where you can donate)



  • Put on your shoes and run.  (Or walk.  .1 miles or 1.1 or 10.1)  Do it for you or for someone who can't.


  • Inhale.  Exhale.  Repeat.



I know suffering was happening long before Boston.  I know there are hateful acts being done around the world on a daily basis.  I know hateful, fear-driven acts will occur again after today.  Suffering will continue.  As long as it does, I continue my practice in acknowledgment, and to alleviate my suffering and that of all beings.

I know there are many more stories out there, including yours.  

Please feel free to share your stories and resources you have come across for all of us in the comments below.


May we all find peace.