September 12. The Next Day.

The Moments Before, 11" x 14", Acrylic on paper

For many of us, life changed on September 11, 2001.  

Of course I remember.  Whether or not you live in the United States, you probably remember too.

For some, the ground was shaken more than for others.  Some lost friends, family members, acquaintances.  Some altered their life paths to help, to stay in what one beautiful person on Facebook called, "the sacred silence".

Then came September 12, 2001.

Those of us who were blessed to wake up on that day had choices to make.  Now what?  

Then September 13, 2001.  Now what?

Each and every day after, eyes opening after a night of fitful or restful sleep, brain still blurry from the dream, we momentarily pause and consider what we are doing.

Most of the time, the answer is habitual.  Feet on the floor.  Shower.  Breakfast.  Get to work.

But sometimes, we are given the opportunity to pause.  We did so collectively on September 11th.  We do so in less public manners when a family member dies, when our heart is broken, when we lose a pet, when we receive news of an incurable illness.  As the ground is pulled from beneath us, we pause out of sheer uncertainty.

Now what?

What matters is not what happened to bring about the question, but how we answer it.

There is so much in this world that causes pain and suffering.  There are so many people, so many things, so many religions or political ideas or corporate actions that we could blame.  And yet, if we play out this continuing cycle of asking and answering, we find that responding with blame only leads to more pain and suffering.  Not responding only leads to what we've always gotten - more pain and suffering.  I don't know about you, but I'm tired of the pain and suffering.

Why is it so hard to understand that what we are doing in THIS moment is what causes all of our pain and suffering?

When this pause arises, I choose to answer a bit differently than I have in the past.

Now what?  I have no freakin' idea.  

This breath.  Now this one.  Now I'm hungry.  This food.  Now I'm hurt.  This tear.  

No one else to blame for this pain I feel.  Nowhere to retreat.  So these shaky words, spoken from what I know of truth and out of  kindness.

Return to the sacred silence.  Find the pause.  Run no more.  

Find your answer.