This past weekend, as shootings unfolded in my hometown of Orlando Florida, I was up in Montreal with my husband on his business trip. Traveling on their Metro system, we often consulted the maps posted on the walls in the stations we landed in, seeking to orient ourselves so we could go in the right direction.
“Vous etes ICI” (“You are HERE”) the maps would confirm, with a big red star. I felt so comforted by that simple phrase, “You are here.” Now we would know which way to go.
This week, in the aftermath the horrific shooting at the gay nightclub Pulse, many of us want to know which way to go, what to do, how can we help? And those are good questions.
Some people have responded immediately, and gave of themselves in service to our LGBTQ brothers and sisters: first responders of every kind, medical personnel on the scene and at area hospitals, loved ones, neighbors, and business owners stepped up to serve in any way they could, helping the hurt, the tired, anyone in need.
In my own community of mental health counselors in Central Florida, over 540 therapists have signed up in less than 24 hours, to provide free counseling to those in need. Hundreds of people stood in lines to donate blood, or helped unload donations trucks, offered to pet sit, offered free funerals and printing to grieving families, offered free flights to families affected… so many helpers came out en mass to show support to those hurt and grieving from the mass shooting at Pulse.
These helpers are a huge part of this loving community in Central Florida. We are united in love for the LGBTQ community, for the Latin community, for OURLando. And it shows.
This week, while we all find ourselves drawn to news and updates, please stop and remember the simple words “You are HERE”, and use them to ground yourself with your breath, with your body… root yourself to the earth and allow your heart to swell upwards and out with the in-breath….then feel it settle deeply on the slow out-breath. Be HERE now. Calm your nervous system with slow inhaling and exhaling… with awareness of breathing. Use these breathing skills to help remind you, “Vous etes ici / You are HERE.”
Move intentionally with LOVE. Be love to those around you. Help out anyone you can. Be kind to your loved ones. Be kind to yourself. Connect with those you love and connect to the wider world around you. Do it with LOVE. You are not alone. You are connected to and surrounded by LOVE, the most available and dominant force in the universe.
And if you or someone you know has been affected by the tragic shootings at the Plaza Theater or at Pulse, please know free crisis counseling is available. You can go to GiveAnHour.org and find a therapist in your zip code, or you can go to this spreadsheet and find the names and numbers of therapists who can help. You can call me, 407-252-8035, and I can help or connect you to those who can. And you can go here or here to find ways to help in our community.
Peace be with you. Namaste.
btw- quote in Pic is from a David Whyte poem, Everything is Waiting for You, read on-air during an interview with Krista Tippet on One Being, one of my most beloved NPR shows. He was also this year’s featured speaker at Rollin’s Gladdening Light Symposium. He is absolutely amazing and his poems will salve your heart. Treat yourself to the whole On Being interview here.