Connecticut

It is almost impossible, no, it is impossible, to have any idea how to react to a tragedy as profound and senseless as the one that occurred today at an elementary school in Connecticut. It is impossible to grasp.

I’m sure that, like me, many of you have been crying all day.

An event this horrific causes us to see that all of our normal coping mechanisms are inadequate. We turn to each one—blame, hiding, medicating—and each one fails.

Nothing can make this okay. There is no explanation that helps. Blaming lack of gun control, insufficient guns, or inadequate mental health care may be entirely reasonable and valid, but it doesn’t matter. No matter how right you are (or aren’t), it doesn’t change the grief, rage, or numbness.

Using ideas to treat or metabolize feelings doesn’t work.

Then what? I’m afraid that there is not much we can do other than to be absolutely, irredeemably heartbroken. It turns out that this is helpful. Weep, sob, rage. Weep, sob, rage. Every time your mind tries to tell you, “this is because of poor gun control,” or “this world is rotten, terrible and I have to ignore it in order to survive,” and/or “if mental healthcare was better, we could help people before they explode into violence,” please ask it to wait. I’m not saying we shouldn’t act. WE SHOULD. But before we act, we should feel. Allow your heart to break. Let down your guard. There is strange redemption in heartbreak.

Then, in your own way, you could open your heart to the suffering of all who have been directly involved.

Relax your mind and then think:

For all of you children who lost your lives and may now be wandering terrified and confused, I share your suffering with you. In return, I offer you my peace. 

Breathe in their suffering. Breathe out your peace.

For all of you parents who lost your children, I share your unspeakable suffering. May I take even the tiniest bit of your sorrow and rage into my own heart to relieve you of it. In return, I send you my strength. 

Breathe in their suffering. Breathe out your strength.

For all of of you children who lived through this horrific day, I share your suffering with you. May I take in your fear and your nightmares. In return, I send you my bravery. 

Breathe in their suffering. Breathe out your bravery.

For the officials of the state of Connecticut and of this country who have born witness and now must act, I share your suffering with you. May I take in your shock and confusion. In return, I send you my confidence and open heartedness. 

Breathe in their suffering. Breathe out your confidence and open heartedness.

Then, as best you can, relax your mind and sit quietly for a few minutes or a few lifetimes.

We can’t leave out that someone committed this crime. We might hate the horrible monster who did so. We might condemn and excoriate him. I’m not saying don’t do that. It’s not useful (especially to you), but it is human. The only thing we cannot do under any circumstance is think that we are any different than he is.

It would take a very big person to offer compassion to the perpetrator and I for one am not capable of it today. But while I cannot feel kindhearted, nor will I permit myself to imagine that if I lived his life, I would not be just like him.

In the meantime, tonight I will wrap my arms around those I love and, recognizing the extraordinary fragility of our lives, give thanks for the preciousness of our time together. Truly, the only solace is in the dharmas of love, compassion,and fierce warriorship.

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131 Comments

  1. Amy { 12.14.12 at 6:18 pm }

    Thank you Susan. Sharing this with my closed group of 30 Days That Fill Your Cup. Today’s Invitation was to Breathe. Thank you for the resource and sharing of your thoughts and experience to support the group of over 200. Peace, Amy Lee

    • susan { 12.14.12 at 6:20 pm }

      It is good to share breath and love.

    • Louise Guilbeault { 12.15.12 at 10:24 am }

      Thank you, Susan. When I read your words, I was suddenly able to cry. Someone’s pain came through me. I live in northern Ontario. I am a mother and grandmother and I could only watch my TV in total confusion. I watch without being able to help the chaos and pain. I could not feel anything but confusion. I will meditate and offer what I have to the children, parents and everyone there who are effected.

      • susan { 12.15.12 at 10:29 am }

        Louise, thank you for being willing to open. It is so difficult.

  2. Sherry Smyth { 12.14.12 at 6:22 pm }

    Not only beautifully said Susan, but helpful, constructive and it gives us a sense of purpose, a sense of giving and of doing and not feeling completely helpless in light of something we can make so little sense of. Thank you.

    • susan { 12.14.12 at 6:23 pm }

      I’m so glad, Sherry. Love, Susan

  3. Carrie { 12.14.12 at 6:47 pm }

    So much gratitude. Thank you for helping me to make some sense of today, to carry forward in love. Beautiful words and thoughts. Thank you.

    • susan { 12.14.12 at 6:54 pm }

      I’m glad it helped in any way, Carrie.

  4. Char Brooks { 12.14.12 at 7:17 pm }

    Susan-

    Your gift is giving language to what is indescribably horrific. I will use your italicized words during my daily meditations. I am again speechless about how to say thank you for influencing my life and the lives of others in such profound ways.

    • susan { 12.14.12 at 7:22 pm }

      I appreciate that you asked me to write something. I had thought about it, but was feeling that it would be too hard and I was too low. I wouldn’t have tried unless you asked, but then I too felt so much better. So, thank you too.

  5. Sharon { 12.14.12 at 8:30 pm }

    Thank you, Susan, for the specificity of this post. And for the reminder that there is something we can do. Yours in the vision….

    • susan { 12.15.12 at 8:47 am }

      I’m so glad it was useful. Thank you for your practice.

  6. Penny { 12.14.12 at 9:06 pm }

    Thank you Susan. At first, this morning, I cried, I read more, saw more and I cried more. Then I shut down, shut down my internet and all connections to outside, I went to ground, and I cried, I grieved for people I have never met, people from another country, but people in pain. I tried to sit with them, with their pain, and thought I couldn’t. I could not stop crying, I still cannot stop. Finally I tuned back in, determined to search out someone, something that would help me, anchor me, and I found this post from you. This will take many hours of sitting, many hours of holding this, holding them. Once again, thank you.

    • susan { 12.15.12 at 8:48 am }

      I am right there with you, Penny. Thank you, thank you for finding a way to work with your own heart.

  7. Patty { 12.15.12 at 12:14 am }

    Thank you Susan. You are a gift to me and, in fact, to this world. Your wisdom and insight is simply amazing.

    • susan { 12.15.12 at 8:48 am }

      We are all in this together.

  8. Elizabeth { 12.15.12 at 12:40 am }

    Thank you, Susan. I needed those exact words and thoughts to still my own thoughts and find a little focus again. If many did as you suggest, followed by open-hearted discussion, helpful ideas would arise.

    • susan { 12.15.12 at 8:48 am }

      Thank you so much for your practice, Elizabeth.

  9. Robin { 12.15.12 at 8:28 am }

    Thank you! I needed that this morning! My knees are tired from prayer, and yet I was still feeling such dread in my heart. You eloquently asked for something so simple and easy to do, and yet it helped easy my mind so much. Very easy to hold your breath when things go wrong. Blessings to you and to all man kind!

    • susan { 12.15.12 at 8:49 am }

      And to you. Thank you for your prayers and practice.

  10. Cathy Chester { 12.15.12 at 9:00 am }

    This is another tragedy – but 20 children! The most horrific tragedy of all – cutting off their short lives in such a horrible manner. I pray for them and for the adults who lost their lives. I pray for the families, for the community and for our country. I hope we can end these senseless, brutal murders of innocent people. Let us come together and think of a peaceful solution. Amen. Cathy, Author of An Empowered Spirit (http://www.anempoweredspirit.com) Thank you for this opportunity to write this…

  11. Pam { 12.15.12 at 9:06 am }

    Thank you Susan. I didn’t realize I wasn’t feeling until I read this.

    • susan { 12.15.12 at 9:38 am }

      I’m glad it was helpful, Pam.

  12. Vicky { 12.15.12 at 9:08 am }

    A poem by Dave Morrison

    For the 9 Year Old Victim

    We are capable of
    decency, kindness, bravery
    and love, great love.
    There is good in the world,
    and it always, eventually
    wins.

    This is what I tell myself when
    I need comfort, when some of
    us act like rabid dogs, when I
    recognize the same fear and
    violence that killed you
    crouching in my confused
    heart.

    • susan { 12.15.12 at 9:38 am }

      This, this, this.

    • Mona { 12.15.12 at 9:43 am }

      thank you, thank you, thank you.

      • susan { 12.15.12 at 9:44 am }

        You are so welcome.

  13. Lisa King { 12.15.12 at 9:16 am }

    Yes. Thank you.

    Yesterday, I felt the sorrow before I heard the news. I didn’t know what it was or how to assuage the deep hurt of it, so all day long I was practicing my forgiveness prayer. Then when I finally heard the news at dinner, I had this deep reflex of forgiveness established. It helped me not fall completely apart.

    “If I have been hurt by anyone or anything, knowingly or unknowingly, I forgive and release it.
    If I have hurt anyone or anything, knowingly or unknowingly,
    I forgive and release it.
    If I have hurt myself, knowingly or unknowingly,
    I forgive and release it.”

    I will use the practice you set out here to share the well of love, peace, courage, strength, compassion.

    Thank you.

    • susan { 12.15.12 at 9:39 am }

      This is so beautiful, Lisa. Thank you for this practice.

    • Vicky { 12.15.12 at 10:26 am }

      Thank you for this Lisa.

    • Nancy Thompson { 12.17.12 at 1:44 pm }

      Thank you Lisa. Your words here have helped me today.

  14. tom { 12.15.12 at 9:26 am }

    and for those twenty thousand,or so, little children who die each day of starvation we also open out hearts…every day till hunger is defeated.

    • susan { 12.15.12 at 9:39 am }

      Yes.

    • Vicky { 12.15.12 at 10:29 am }

      Tom,
      Thank you for this. Yesterday I heard, on some news or other, a statement to the effect that this was “the worst” tragedy ever perpetrated on children. It felt so incredibly demeaning and self (American) centered to forget, for even on instant, all the horrible suffering occurring to children all over the world, right NOW and for YEARS, and throughout history!
      How can we be so narrow in our sight? I felt the same during 9/11. Suddenly, American’s experiencing something that people in other countries live with on a daily basis – and the sense of outrage that it could happen here to US.
      May we be delivered from our sense of being special!

      • Luciana { 12.16.12 at 3:30 am }

        Thank you, Tom and Vicky. This is important to remember. American suffering is no worse than the suffering of others.

      • qemary@yahoo.com { 12.16.12 at 8:29 am }

        Thank you for this. I felt these same feelings, now, after 9/11, and every day. We in this country too easily disassociate from the suffering that is so prevalent all over the world.

        Yes, may we be delivered from out own arrogance.
        May we never lose heart in the face of that arrogance.
        May we be the change we wish to see.

  15. michal { 12.15.12 at 9:30 am }

    This is very wise and useful to me. Thank you Susan.

    This latest tragedy breaks my heart as each of the past tragedies have and yet I still see so much potential for this nation. We dropped that little tiny rover on Mars earlier this year and yet we seem to ignore what is going on in our own ‘backyard’. Greed seems to be at the heart of most of it and the attitude of them vs. us. I have hope that with time more and more people’s hearts will soften and open – look at the world-wide impact the H. H. Dalai Lama has and how that continues to grow! This gives me hope…..

    With love and respect to you always,
    michal

    • susan { 12.15.12 at 9:40 am }

      Michal, I so appreciate your simultaneous devotion and realism. There can be no better combination. Much love, S

  16. Katybeth { 12.15.12 at 9:36 am }

    Thank you. Being offered something to “Do” is so comforting. Wonderfully written.

    • susan { 12.15.12 at 9:41 am }

      I’m so glad it was useful, Katybeth. It is good (and important) to know how to hold our minds at such a time.

  17. Michael { 12.15.12 at 9:44 am }

    Susan,
    Thank you, that is beautiful. What a wonderful way to experience our connectedness and to offer love and compassion – the essence of our practice… Blessings

    • susan { 12.15.12 at 9:45 am }

      If there is anything we can do, it is this.

      • Michael { 12.15.12 at 12:08 pm }

        Having spent over 30 years as a firefighter, dealing with many horrific tragedies, somewhere during my career I began to wall off my heart in order to serve those in need and to survive. Today, with the wonderful help of this practice, I am learning to open my heart and connect through our humanity; it can be scary, yet beautiful, to be fully present and compassionate. Again, Thank You and Blessings…

        • susan { 12.15.12 at 1:28 pm }

          Thank you for your bravery and for your practice.

  18. Mona { 12.15.12 at 9:48 am }

    thank you, Susan, for bringing me to pause and be with the horror and grief and fear this morning, rather than jumping to blaming politicians, ‘our violent society’, insanity of gun laws, media, normalization of war, drones, alienation, no proper mental health care, etc. I needed to just be with the grief and tune into and connect with the children, parents, families and communities affected. and the perpetrator too. thank you also Vicky for sharing that poem and Lisa for that practice. Susan, thank you.

    • susan { 12.15.12 at 9:56 am }

      You are welcome, Mona. And thank you for being willing to feel. Such willingness could lead to right action.

    • Luciana { 12.16.12 at 3:43 am }

      Yes, Mona, my first reaction was anger about “politicians, ‘our violent society’, insanity of gun laws, media, normalization of war, drones, alienation, no proper mental health care, etc.” I forgot to feel anything but anger. As someone above said, I didn’t really feel until I read Susan’s post.

      But the politicians and media say that this event shouldn’t be politicized. I don’t agree with that. BECAUSE we feel, we must take action where we can.

  19. KCLAnderson (Karen) { 12.15.12 at 9:53 am }

    Thank you Susan. I came here today specifically hoping to find something like this. I grew up in Newtown and still have many friends who live and work there. Infinite love for my hometown.

    • susan { 12.15.12 at 9:56 am }

      Oh, sweetie. Oh my. I join you in sending love.

  20. richard { 12.15.12 at 10:10 am }

    Thank you Susan for sharing this Space and allowing us all to confront these feelings grounded in terror. Personally this event initially caused me to question the Foundation I have cultivated in Basic Goodness and Enlightened Society. Sitting with it I fostered a View that perhaps the torment Buddha sat with from Mara under the Bodhi Tree before he Awoke if not similar, was just as shocking.

    Basic Goodness and Enlightened Society still have foundation. With Practice, compassion and loving kindness are possible even for the perpetrator, once familiarity with the circumstances are have been established. How would we respond if the perpetrator was our brother, father or neighbor?? This View is certainly easier to hold with the children who suffered and their families. We suffer with all of them. When we can offer this same grief indiscriminately, perhaps the Sun will rise, evaporating the shade from the tree we are all sitting under.

    As a community we have to continue to Open our Hearts and cultivate Goodness.

    Thank you again

    May all beings be free from suffering and it’s causes. ~~~~

    • susan { 12.15.12 at 10:13 am }

      Yes to everything in this comment, Richard. Thank you so much for the kindness and insight.

      Somehow, unbelievably, it is true. The sun is always rising.

      • richard { 12.15.12 at 10:16 am }

        we are truly Blessed with that~~~

  21. Hadley { 12.15.12 at 10:15 am }

    Thank you, Susan, and everyone here. I will work with your powerful and articulate suggestions, Susan.

    • susan { 12.15.12 at 10:17 am }

      Hadley, thank you for your practice. With love, S

  22. Karen Yankovich { 12.15.12 at 10:21 am }

    This is exactly what I needed to read. Thank you.

  23. Holly Woods { 12.15.12 at 11:09 am }

    Thank you Susan. You articulated what I’d been trying to formulate in my head all day, but the grief in my heart was getting in the way. Thank you for the effort and the gift.

    • susan { 12.15.12 at 11:12 am }

      You are so welcome, Holly.

  24. Kathy Willard { 12.15.12 at 11:10 am }

    Dearest Susan: Thank you Thank you. I knew you would provide some solace. Giving us perfect form for the best worded meditations so desperately needed. Our hearts may feel empty but oh, they are joined, all of us, together at this too sorrowful time. This brings all of us to our knees. A good good place.

    • susan { 12.15.12 at 11:12 am }

      So glad it was useful, Kathy.

  25. Rose Ann Mancias { 12.15.12 at 11:47 am }

    Re-reading your post this morning has awakened me to my numbness of yesterday. In my heart I knew what needed to be offered to the members of our sangha yet was moving thru the moment wondering why I wasn’t more upset. Thank you for your wisdom and genuineness.

    • susan { 12.15.12 at 1:27 pm }

      Thank you, Rose Ann.

  26. Kate { 12.15.12 at 12:02 pm }

    Thank you, Susan. Your words help me cradle and open to all of it –grief, anger, helplessness, tenderness and hope…

    • susan { 12.15.12 at 1:27 pm }

      Thank you so much for your practice, Kate.

  27. Tricia Fieth { 12.15.12 at 1:07 pm }

    How did you know we needed this? I was not allowed to discuss this at dinner last night with my family of 5 as it was too hard for them to comprehend….we live many states away from Connecticut and it just seems unreal. But, as a mother of three (ages 6-12) I felt this tragedy hit my heart like a ton of bricks but it felt so wrong not to be able to talk about it!! I am now crying and releasing and feeling the pain of all of those involved. This helps me see my meditation practice as bigger than just me and I will continue wholeheartedly….thank you for sharing your heart with us!

  28. Ellie { 12.15.12 at 2:01 pm }

    I am new to your meditations and writings and this was one of the most beautiful, poignant, and open hearted-ness practices at this time. A bow of gratitude, Ellie

    • susan { 12.15.12 at 2:15 pm }

      I am so glad to hear this. Thank you, Ellie. Susan

  29. Kristi { 12.15.12 at 2:18 pm }

    Susan, Thank you for your peaceful open heart. THIS is what I needed to do to feel better and helpful in this sad heart. May my peace be a help to the families of those closest to the tragedy.

    • susan { 12.15.12 at 4:03 pm }

      THis is lovely, Kristi.

  30. Simone { 12.15.12 at 3:11 pm }

    It feels good that breathing here in the Netherlands can bring the tiniest support to those who need it so badly.
    I appreciate your thoughts about the perpetrator. I find it very difficult but we have not lived his thoughts and feelings.

    • susan { 12.15.12 at 4:03 pm }

      Thank you, Simone.

  31. Judi { 12.15.12 at 4:11 pm }

    Susan,
    Although my husband and I have openly been discussing our feelings about this horrific, unthinkable tragedy, I still find myself heavy-hearted and very frequently find my eyes filling up with tears for the precious lives lost and the entire Newtown community.

    As a mother and grandmother of nine, I cannot help but personalize and it is painful to say the least. Not wanting this to be about me, I am so grateful to have found your suggested meditation as I feel as though I have some purpose and can make a difference. I thank you for that.

    Blessings to you.

    • susan { 12.15.12 at 4:14 pm }

      And to you, Judi. It is good to have some way to hold our minds at such a time.

  32. Nancy { 12.15.12 at 4:34 pm }

    Your writing is so beautiful and soothing. This is what came next. Thank you.

    Heart breaks us open
    Tears spout from deep pools of grief
    Watering our Love

    • susan { 12.15.12 at 4:36 pm }

      This is lovely.

  33. Iris Weaver { 12.15.12 at 6:09 pm }

    My reaction to the shooting was a feeling of “too much.” Not again! I grew up with a lot of violence, so I was able to shut off my feelings. I will journey and ask for healing for all who were affected.

    As a victim of much violence, I have learned a little bit about forgiving my abusers. For the gunman, or men, while we may only be able to see rage, he is human (or a humanwho is somehow possessed) and IMHO must be in horrible pain in order to do something like this. We can bless him rather than damn him, and ask for healing for his soul. It doesn’t mean it’s okay, it doesn’t mean that he is the blessed one, but if what say or do comes back to us, damning him only perpetuates our pain, blessing him allows us to start to heal the pain.

    • susan { 12.15.12 at 6:20 pm }

      This is real compassion. Thank you so much for your bravery and gentleness.

    • Judi { 12.15.12 at 6:34 pm }

      I keep thinking he was born an innocent, precious baby. What happened to him to cause this rage, or was he born with an illness? We may never know. Remember, however, people were thrilled on the day this little boy was born. And now he is dead at his own hand….and so many others. So, so, sad for everyone.

      • susan { 12.15.12 at 6:47 pm }

        Yes. For everyone

  34. Lisa { 12.15.12 at 8:09 pm }

    Thank you, Susan. It’s been a long day for so many. I had to discuss what happened with my ten-year-old daughter who sobbed when I told her, but I knew she would be hearing about it from friends at school, on the radio, and so on. She was upset with me for telling her and said she would have preferred to hear it from her friends instead, because coming from me it felt more real. But we are talking about it. It is important for parents to discuss it with their children over a certain age (I’ve read 7 years old), because they will hear about it anyway and need help with dealing with it.

    I have just been introduced to your work here. I like you. You are courageous and loving.

    • susan { 12.15.12 at 8:33 pm }

      Lisa, that must have been such a tough conversation and the right thing to do. My heart goes out to you both. And I like you too.

  35. Luciana { 12.16.12 at 3:36 am }

    Thank you so much, Susan. I would also like to send loving-kindness to the spirit of Adam Lanza’s mother. Her grief must have been equal to the grief of the parents of the slain children.

    http://thebluereview.org/i-am-adam-lanzas-mother/

    And I think that it’s important to share loving kindness with the spirit of Adam, too. He was very young, no doubt very unhappy, and no doubt very confused. I feel for him.

    • susan { 12.16.12 at 6:57 pm }

      Yes, this is devastating and we could extend loving kindness exactly as you describe.

  36. Addy { 12.16.12 at 6:49 am }

    Susan, thank you for the simplicity and generosity of your offering. You helped me honor my feelings while turning my focus outward to share the gift of love.

    • susan { 12.16.12 at 6:57 pm }

      I’m so glad, Addy.

  37. qemary@yahoo.com { 12.16.12 at 7:23 am }

    Thank you Susan, for your tender open heart. The effects of this tragedy were so tangible. When the news first came, I chose to walk and breathe…not ready to take in too many details. As I walked, every person I happened upon, I could feel in their countenance all of the fear and sadness and confusion that comes after such an event. It was as if the whole word mourned. This day reminded me how deeply interconnected we all are, and how valuable it is to be mindful of how we offer ourselves to the world.
    Be love. Be peace.

    • susan { 12.16.12 at 6:58 pm }

      Yes, the whole world is mourning and there is so much strength in this interconnection, just as you describe.

  38. Robin Gasparino { 12.16.12 at 8:02 am }

    Thank you Susan for your beautiful guidance. I cannot begin to identify with the parents who lost their much too young children too soon, the Mother who lost her own battle with parenthood, the public service professionals and teachers who had to witness and process that unimaginable scene or the gunman (so young himself) that was driven to commit such an act (in which I have no words to describe).

    I will not pretend to know why such heinous acts of violence occur in this world. Why parents, children, public service employees, teachers and anyone glued to their televisions feeling helpless and confused suffer such enormous losses. I don’t know how the heart continues to move forward through such a horrific event.

    However, I do see this one common act; I see a world, connected, breathing in fear, sorrow and despair and breathing out strength, courage and peace. I see through the posts here that most of us did the exact same things … collectively. We prayed for those who had been directly and forever affected even though most of us had no immediate connection to that area of the world and then, as though we were all entwined, we loved those close to us with new purpose.

    Thank you again Susan for giving me, and all of us, somewhere to place our sorrow.

    Love with abundance,
    Robin Gasparino
    Hebron, Maine

    • susan { 12.16.12 at 6:59 pm }

      The only way to make grieving bearable is to grieve together, I think.

  39. richard { 12.16.12 at 9:02 am }

    “The last thing I wanted them to hear, is my voice, not gunfire” Victoria Soto

    The next thing I want them to hear is Our Voice.

    Tragedy is truly Universal. It visits every one of us. We must not lose our edge. Darkness may appear, but we must not be overcome.
    Those that passed in Sandy Hook, should not be forsaken. They are truly Bodhisattva’s and have sacrificed for the benefit of all Sentient Beings. Our prayers and blessings should and will overcome the static and terror of evil and gunfire. This should not be in vain. We must cultivate transformation. We must guide them through these transitions so they may serve Humanity again. We should also pray for the survivors, that through this experience they become, our ministers, politicians, teachers and Hope for tomorrow.

    May the elemental presence of Drala and Angels, guide them to swift rebirth.
    May we continue to “Keep our Edge” and bravely discuss this with our children and community so these lessons become fertile strength for our Vision of Goodness and Decent Society.

    May their Merit benefit all Sentient Beings. May all Beings be free of Suffering.

    • susan { 12.16.12 at 6:59 pm }

      Yes, we can offer ourselves in just this way.

  40. Judy Zehr { 12.16.12 at 9:07 am }

    I didn’t realize how much I needed this Susan until I read your beautiful, comforting words. My heart opened, and it filled me with hope. I hadn’t realized how numb and disconnected I was, no wonder I ate so much sugar yesterday! I feel so grateful to you, and to this brave and loving community. Namaste.

    • susan { 12.16.12 at 6:59 pm }

      Me too, Judy. I’m very grateful.

  41. Mayra Porrata { 12.16.12 at 10:14 am }

    Beautifully expressed Susan…..thank you for the gentle reminders and for exemplifying the grace that is necessary to face our legitimate suffering. Mayra

    • susan { 12.16.12 at 6:59 pm }

      You are so welcome, Mayra.

  42. Breton { 12.16.12 at 12:36 pm }

    thank you susan. i intentionally stayed away from media the moment this tragedy hit the waves. i knew that exposure would take me to a place of deep sadness and that nothing in the news would help me ease that. so this is the first item i am reading about conneticut. and so before the real pain set in i was able to start the healing work. thank you so much for this.
    and for the reminder of how far away i have gotten from your work and from the healing it always provides.
    i would like to come back to daily exposure to your work. thanks for being there.

    • susan { 12.16.12 at 7:00 pm }

      It is so good to practice together and it will always be so.

  43. nankiber@mac.com { 12.16.12 at 12:44 pm }

    Thank you, Susan. Far and away the most useful thing I’ve read to date, so I keep coming back: rereading it again and again, and using it in my meditation. It is in fact helpful, at a time when you’d think nothing on earth would be; and I am–we all are–so grateful to you for pulling it together when pulling together felt impossible.

    Once again we are all reminded why we joined a project called Open Heart; and reminded moreover of what a challenge it is to make the that name real in our lives and in the lives of those around us, especially those who haven’t yet heard that call as clearly as we do. Your clarity (and your knack for articulating that clarity) are real gifts. Thank you.

    • susan { 12.16.12 at 7:01 pm }

      This is why we practice, just as you say: to make open heartedness real at times when it is needed most.

  44. Candy { 12.16.12 at 12:54 pm }

    Hello Susan and thank you for the compassion and love that you send out into this paradoxically beautiful yet frighteningl evil world that we live in. Again, I thought of what President Obama said, after the past tragedy in Arizona, 2011-.”We may not be able to stop all evil in the world, but I know that how we treat one another, that’s entirely up to us.” I try to remember this quote in my life everyday as I feel that this simple act is at least one thing that is within our control. Thanks again for your posting.

    • susan { 12.16.12 at 7:02 pm }

      I could not agree with our President more. Thank you so much for posting it.

  45. Leslie Gold { 12.16.12 at 12:57 pm }

    First I want to thank all the people who contributed these beautiful comments, and you, Susan, for holding the space for these conversations and emotions, and spiritual growth.
    Every day my heart breaks when I read about the drones our chosen leaders in DC order our military personnel to send out to countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan…which kill innocent children-the same as the innocent children in Connecticut. Every day my heart breaks to know how those I have somehow given power and money to are killing mostly innocent human beings in ‘justified’ wars all over my beloved Earth home. Every day my heart breaks as I hear about another fracking or mountaintop mining project, or oil spills in multiple areas of my precious home planet which pollute and sicken and kill countless thousands of my fellow human beings and my fellow animal, ocean, plant and insect beings.
    I breath, I come back to the beauty in front of my eyes, but every day there is such unfathomable suffering. It becomes an every day practice to open my heart, to feel only a small bit of the enormity of pain…and to open my heart again and again.

    • susan { 12.16.12 at 7:03 pm }

      Yes, again and again. We can do it. You are doing it. Thank you.

  46. Michelle { 12.16.12 at 1:05 pm }

    Thank you, Susan. The magnitude of this didn’t sink in until this morning and I wept, with my 16-year-old son asking what was wrong. Allowing the emotions, I penned a poem, “I Will Let My Heart Be Broken.” Thank you for your writing and your open heart.

    • susan { 12.16.12 at 7:03 pm }

      And thank you for your writing and your open heart.

  47. Laura Wolf { 12.16.12 at 7:47 pm }

    Thank you, Susan, for this vulnerable, transparent, full of heart sharing. And thank you especially for addressing the shadow aspect. I have shared your blog with several people as you are one of the few people I see addressing this aspect. Until we can each feel, own and heal the shadow anger, fear, pain, resentment, confusion and imbalance within us, we will not be able to make the necessary shifts culturally to effectively prevent this kind of tragedy. Sending so much love and healing to all of our hearts tonight. Namaste!

    • susan { 12.17.12 at 11:00 am }

      I really appreciate the kindness and tenderness in this message. Thank you, Laura.

  48. Lila { 12.16.12 at 7:47 pm }

    Another note to thank you for your beautiful and heartfelt thoughts and ideas. It must have been so hard for you to write this but you did it for us…and for them. May we continue the chain.

    • susan { 12.17.12 at 11:00 am }

      Yes, continue the chain.

  49. Joe Ridge { 12.16.12 at 10:26 pm }

    Your words address the disease. The politicians, pundits and lobbyists will only address the symptoms.

    I felt so much better after reading your post.

    • susan { 12.17.12 at 11:01 am }

      I’m so glad, Joe.

  50. Anita Bermont { 12.17.12 at 10:36 am }

    Thank you so much for offering us a skillful direction for focusing our energy. My first response was to turn completely inward in the confusion that arose from the shock.
    So much gratitude for the wisdom that informs your guidance that includes exchanging ourselves for other….including the perpetrator. No small task here, but if we are to truly address and heal this disease, it appears there is indeed no other way.
    Thank You for speaking the truth that needs to be heard….

    • susan { 12.17.12 at 11:04 am }

      I share your gratitude for this wisdom. It is impeccable and we are so lucky to be able to receive it.

  51. Caroline { 12.17.12 at 11:31 am }

    Thank you <3

    • susan { 12.19.12 at 11:09 am }

      You are welcome.

  52. Ricki { 12.17.12 at 1:34 pm }

    Thank you! I have been searching for words and support to use in my meditation. As a CT native, mother, grandmother, this horror has hit so close to home and the sorrow and deep emptiness I experience has opened me further to the despair and horror that beings, young and old, experience around the world everyday. Hopefully my commitment to meditation and mindful living will lead to more skillful action which, in turn, will lead to a more peaceful existence for the entire planet.

    • susan { 12.19.12 at 11:09 am }

      I believe that it will.

  53. amy jane { 12.19.12 at 11:00 am }

    Thank you so much for this.

    • susan { 12.19.12 at 11:02 am }

      You are very welcome.

  54. Beth Berry { 12.20.12 at 12:37 pm }

    Susan,
    Thank you so so much for your voice during these trying times. I’d like to offer my own, if you have a minute. Here’s to spreading the light, Beth http://revolutionfromhome.com/2012/12/the-most-important-question-in-the-aftermath/

  55. Meredith Graham Anderson { 12.29.12 at 1:55 am }

    Thank you, Susan. This has been eating away at my heart since it happened. I have a six-year old son (the same age as the children we lost in Newtown) and a three-year old daughter. Your words are the only thing to bring me a small bit of comfort, and the only thing that has allowed me to glimpse the humanity of their killer.

    • susan { 12.29.12 at 9:14 am }

      This is an unspeakable heartbreak and that–heartbreak–seems to be the only place to start. Sending love, S

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