Sept. 11, 2006
People are starting to move on from the horrific events of 9/11. There are still moments of silence here and there, and announcements about those who have fallen, but folks are moving on. Should we feel guilty? No. It is a normal, healthy process, depending on how close we were to people who were killed or injured and how close we were to the actual events themselves. We are reminded every day about the 9/11 events in the heightened security we experience in airports, office buildings, everywhere… but let’s focus on the good that came out of the horror: our heightened sense of connection to others.
Everyone handles grief differently – what’s right for me will be different for you. I may grieve for years, you may pass through the process in months. It can take a lifetime to process some traumas out of our systems. But we want to honor our dead and our memories of 9/11 without becoming retraumatized. When you have a fresh wound on your arm, it hurts and the pain is acute, but over time it begins to heal. Pretty soon the memory of it and the pain fades, as does the scar. Our bodies and psyches react the same way: they too heal over time.
Americans’ anxiety levels are higher now than ever. One in every eight Americans suffers from some sort of anxiety disorder; that’s nearly 20 million people! We all took in those vivid images from Ground Zero, and continue to compound them with daily images of war news from Iraq, Osama bin Laden tapes, plus violent movies and video games. We can still honor our dead and our memories of 9/11 without taking in more violent images.
I travel the country, putting on Truth Heals™ seminars where I help people find the root cause of their problems, and I often find anxiety at the heart of it. Typical symptoms of anxiety are trouble sleeping, feeling edgy or irritable, tiring easily, or have trouble concentrating. Being active physically is one of the best antidotes to anxiety. Getting back into nature, something as simple as petting your dog or planting a flower, can really help to reduce anxiety. Anything that helps us reconnect to one another, to our pets and to nature.
Those who have disturbing flashbacks to 9/11 or become very uncomfortable around the anniversary, or turn to alcohol or drugs to cope, they’re suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome. The key to recovery is to have a really strong support system: stay close to your friends and relatives, and get professional help right away.
The best way to remember 9/11 is to remember our neighbors, and do something special for them today. And think big when thinking of neighbors; we’re all connected, so your neighbor could be on the other side of the globe. That best commemorates the spirit of New York during 9/11; we want to take that incredible positive image of neighbor helping neighbor forward into the future with us.