No matter your age, race, religion, nationality, gender, sexuality, skin colour, language – when it comes to the indiscriminate killing of children, even the coldest of hearts weep. It seems like the entire world is shocked and enraged about the killings in Peshawar. It’s appalling! Disgraceful! Makes me sick to the stomach even trying to imagine what the parents of these children are going through. The trauma that the little souls who have survived is unimaginable. But what of it? My Twitter and Facebook feeds were filled with condemnation of these barbaric and inhumane acts. Social media is a great platform to generate awareness, share your feelings/opinions and unite (albeit, virtually) against such atrocities. But again, what of it? I’ve struggled all day. I was so enraged that simply venting my frustration and vocalizing my rage just wasn’t going to cut it.
Let’s get real. Short of flying to Pakistan and donating blood, showing up at the hospitals and seeing how I could help, if I could even help, there isn’t much I – as an individual – can do. Even if I did all that, could I really help by physically being there? Is turning my Facebook profile picture black really going to help? All gestures are meaningful but does it really help the victims, their families or the citizens of Pakistan?
We’re social beings and feeling another’s pain comes naturally to us. By design we have the ability to connect with our feelings, assess them and choose how we respond to them. The feelings of rage, frustration, even protests are natural reactions. But instead of festering negative emotions, I made a conscious decision to channel my energy in ways that would hopefully make a positive impact.
- I accepted my feelings: When I woke up to the chatter on a Whatsapp group I’m part of and news sites, I immediately turned to my shrine (temple/meditation space). I let myself feel the rage, the anger, the lump in my throat to the point that my eyes welled up. I stayed with the sadness, alone, for a good 20 minutes. I went to my happy place to feel safe again so I could collect my thoughts.
- I stayed away from media coverage: I gave myself two free passes for the day to check updates on news sites. Constant media coverage, gory images, and all things disturbing about these incidents can be quite traumatic and frankly, not helpful at all, from my perspective anyways.
- I made a wish: We’ve already established that there’s nothing you or I – as an individual – can do sitting in the comfort of our homes that is going to ease the suffering of the children and their families half way across the world in Pakistan. Instead of letting the rage and sadness control me for the next 24 to 72 hours, I decided to channel my energy to send positive vibrations and healing thoughts that have at least some prospect of easing the victims’ sufferings. I prayed for the children, their families and everyone around the world who is directly or indirectly affected by this incident. Even if you don’t believe in a higher power or you’re a skeptic, you can’t doubt the power of wishful thinking.
- I focused on the positive and visualized a better world: There’s a fine line between living in denial and being positive. I accepted the reality of this incident. It has happened. It is unfortunate but it has happened. So, I’m not in denial. But I chose to focus on the positive things in the world. For example, how India showed solidarity with Pakistan, the #IllRideWithYou campaign that brought together all Australians in the wake of their own hostage crisis, and the united front that Muslims all around the world put up condemning this heinous act. I visualized a safer world void of suffering. It is every human being’s dream, after all. If we keep visualizing this dream enough, it is possible to form a collective force and implement ways to make this dream come true. I realize, this sounds abstract and too dreamy but I believe in the power of pure desire, faith, and prayer. If you’ve read The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, you know exactly what I mean.
- I did something constructive: I am writing this blog post so I can collect prayers, wishes and your visions of a better, safer world for our future generations. I’m looking for ways to contribute whatever resources I have access to in any helpful way that I can. You can do the same – write a letter to the politicians, families of victims, and the brave survivors of the shootings. Reach out to your friends or friends of friends in Pakistan and urge them to donate blood. If you have any information on these resources, please email me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org) or post a comment. Right now, the families of Peshawar and Pakistan need to believe that no matter how far, we’re there for them in spirit and prayers.
It’s easy to get back into a routine thinking there’s nothing much you can do as an individual. There is some truth to it. But by doing these five things, I’ve helped myself overcome the grief. Taking actions like #4 and #5 has helped me combat my negative emotions and feelings of helplessness and I hope to contribute in my own little way to increase the goodness factor of the world in times like these.