Where do I begin to describe the horror that I shared with the world on September 11, 2001? It was a horror so big that at first, I refused to believe it. Planes deliberately flying into buildings? A terrorist attack against the United States? It had to be a hoax.
Where do I begin to describe the feeling of loss that followed me around for days and weeks after this event? In the immediate aftermath, two of my New York friends were missing. One was located, safe and sound, the day after the attack. The other, whose daily schedule would have placed him in the North Tower during the critical moments, was never seen again, and his remains were never identified.
How do you grieve for someone when you hope against hope, and against all available evidence, that they are alive?
Where do I begin to describe the utter desolation that I felt when, more than fifteen years later, I stood at the site of the Twin Towers and looked into the reflecting pool? I knew that my friend’s name was etched into granite surrounding the pool, along with the names of all the other victims, but I could not bring myself to look for it.
Where do I begin to delve into the sensory shock that I felt when I went into the 9/11 museum? As I entered that space where all of those people had died, the first thing that struck me was the smell. It was the smell of fear, despair and confusion. It was the smell of death. It was the smell of hopes and dreams that would be forever unfulfilled.
I wandered through the space in a trance, not sure what I was most horrified by. I stared at enormous pieces of twisted metal, the staircase that scores of people fled down in an attempt to survive, and projected images of missing persons ads posted by desperately hopeful relatives in the days after the attack.
Where do I begin to describe how depressing it was to witness the blatant sensationalization of tragedy? When we arrived, at least one hundred people were in line ahead of us, many of them chattering excitedly about how “cool” it was to be here, before forking over their $24 admission fees. Visitors to the museum were gleefully taking selfies in front of the exhibits, as if this was a carnival instead of the place where hundreds of people had lost their lives.
After a while, I had had enough. I felt as if the place was haunted by the dead, by memories forever lost and by futures never lived. If I didn’t get out of there, I was going to buckle beneath the weight of grief for all of the victims. As I made my way to the exit, I passed a gift shop. There is no way to describe how I felt about the presence of a gift shop in a place like this.
As I left and emerged into the world of the living, the spectres of the dead clung to me, and I wondered what my children would make of all of this. Having been born in 2003 and 2005, both my sons were born in the post-9/11 era.
To me, the 9/11 attacks are a horrifying memory that include personal loss. To my kids, it is an event in history, something that happened to the generation before them.
If they visited the 9/11 museum, would they be affected in the same way I was? Or would the oddly upbeat tourism there undermine just how tragic this event was?
There is a lot of controversy surrounding 9/11. Many questions have been asked and not satisfactorily answered. Many coincidences have not been addressed. The truth, I believe, has not been told to its fullest extent.
But that doesn’t change the fact that the world changed that day. People lost their lives. Other people lost children, parents, brothers, sisters, life partners and friends. Emergency responders saw things that no one should ever have to witness. Rescue workers developed illnesses that would later kill them,
Where do I begin to describe the magnitude of this tragedy? And where do I begin to talk to my children about it, so that it is more than just a history lesson to them?
How did the events of 9/11 affect you and your family? How do you talk about it to your kids?
This is an original post to World Moms Network by Kirsten Doyle of Canada. Photo credit to the author.
Kirsten Doyle was born in South Africa. After completing university, she drifted for a while and finally washed up in Canada in 2000. She is Mom to two boys who have reached the stage of eating everything in sight (but still remaining skinny).
Kirsten was a computer programmer for a while before migrating into I.T. project management. Eventually she tossed in the corporate life entirely in order to be a self-employed writer and editor. She is now living her best life writing about mental health and addictions, and posting videos to two YouTube channels.
When Kirsten is not wrestling with her kids or writing up a storm, she can be seen on Toronto's streets putting many miles onto her running shoes. Every year, she runs a half-marathon to benefit children with autism, inspired by her older son who lives life on the autism spectrum.
Final piece of information: Kirsten is lucky enough to be married to the funniest guy in the world.
Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Be sure to check out her YouTube channels at My Gen X Life and Word Salad With Coffee!
We are living in strange times. Here’s how strange they are: the other day I found myself nodding in agreement with something that Dick Cheney said. He is one of the few Republicans who spoke out immediately against Trump’s executive order banning Muslims entering the United States. (Of course in the same interview, he talked about how there was “nobody in America” when his Puritan ancestors arrived. I guess some things never change.) I’ve also started following Pope Francis on Instagram. The Pope gives good Insta, I have to say, but the thing is, I’m not Catholic. I’m not even a lapsed Catholic. I’m not even religious. The closest I came to a religious moment is when I was about seven and was a horse in the St. Augustine “Noah’s Ark” pageant. I pranced down the aisle with the other “animals” and then we all huddled around the altar while Father Pemble—the hippy minister with a fabulous baritone and a red beard—sang songs about the flood. A religious high-point, for sure.
I don’t agree with the Pope on some key issues—he’s not going to be espousing any pro-choice rhetoric anytime soon—but his messages speak to the importance of caring for all of humanity, not just those who look like you.
Here’s an even stranger thing: for the first time in my adult life, I wished this weekend that I had become a lawyer. Because if I’d been a lawyer, and if I were in the United States, I could have gone to an airport and offered my services to detainee families as they (as we all) struggle with the implications of Trump’s destructive (and illegal) actions. I even suggested to my sixteen-year old son that he might think about becoming a lawyer — an idea that wouldn’t ever have occurred to me a month ago. Watching from afar as US airports flooded with people offering support of all kinds to detainees and their families—legal advice, places to stay, food, whatever they could find—I felt a tiny glimmer of hope. The Women’s Marches were amazing, a tour-de-force of activism, energy, and global feminism, but somehow the airport protests seem like an even bigger deal, because they were spontaneous, contagious, and effective (can we get a shoutout for the ACLU)? As the wonderful Dahlia Lithwick wrote in Slate, “Donald Trump has no idea how terrifying a blue book and a Lexis password can be. He’s about to find out.”
The protests have also helped me to show my kids that all is not lost (for a little while longer at least): the country still has the rule of law, which the President has to obey. I’ve been pointing to the photos of lawyers sitting on airport floors, laptops open, as signs that individuals can make a difference and that Trump’s message of fear has not taken hold everywhere.
That’s the thing, isn’t it? How do we explain Trump’s actions to our children when what he’s doing violates such fundamental principles of civility? And how do we keep our children, particularly older children, optimistic about the future when around the world things seem so bleak? My sixteen-year old son is full of the existential despair that only a teen-ager can feel. He says things like, “yeah, I’m doing my homework, not that it matters because…Trump” – which might become the 2017 version of “the dog ate my homework.” Like most teenagers, my son is a pretty rigid thinker: things are one way or another, the best or the worst; he has lots of opinions and they are, of course, always correct. The night after Trump’s victory (a landslide, as Trump keeps telling us), The Teen said, “but mom, I thought the good guys were supposed to win.” He looked so sad and confused, and I could almost hear the screeching gears in his mind trying to recalibrate his world view.
The Teen has only known Presidential elections where Obama won, and although he knows theoretically that “good guys” don’t always win, this election is his first real-life whammy of watching the good guys lose. It happens to all of us eventually, and sadly, we may even come to expect it. But right now, the Teen is sure that we’re all doomed. I’ve had my fair share of similar thoughts since the inauguration (did you see those “huge” crowds on the Mall for the swearing-in? Yeah, me neither), but I don’t want my kids to feel as pessimistic as I do. They’re young, right? If they lose hope, then that’s the end of the game.
Surprisingly—or perhaps not surprisingly, given how odd things are these days—I found some advice on the Pope’s Instagram. The day the Muslim ban went into effect, the PopeFeed featured a picture with the caption: “Dear young people, make a ruckus! A ruckus that brings a free heart, solidarity, hope…” You know what? I’m thinking ruckus sounds just about right. Perhaps that’s the final thing: I’m actually telling my kids to make a ruckus. Ask questions, read the news, read history, pay attention. And vote. The sixteen-year old will vote for a President in 2020. I wonder who she’ll be?
After twenty-plus years in Manhattan, Deborah Quinn and her family moved to Abu Dhabi (in the United Arab Emirates), where she spends a great deal of time driving her sons back and forth to soccer practice. She writes about travel, politics, feminism, education, and the absurdities of living in a place where temperatures regularly go above 110F.
Deborah can also be found on her blog, Mannahattamamma.
62,000 people. That is the estimated number of Haitians who are still displaced from the 7.0 earthquake that shook Haiti in January 2010; a heartbreaking disaster that claimed over 200,000 lives and displaced as many as 3 million people.
Elouse’s four cousins
….this is only 1% of the 900 people who lost their lives in Haiti to Hurricane Matthew in October 2016.
900 lives…fathers, mothers, teachers, grandmas, little brothers, babies…lost in the waters of a sea that came on land and washed it out. A land crushed under debris created by a 145mph wind that knocked down concrete walls and tore down palm trees as if they were saplings just transplanted from a kindergarten classroom the day before.
To say that we feel for our sisters and brothers in Haiti is an understatement. My heart is heavy and it wants to scream because although it believes that we, together, will make things better, it is hard to see the road ahead when there is such a harsh wind blowing in one’s face.
To look at the state of Haiti now, with the lack of food and access, and the abundance of poverty, one may not remember how powerful a nation Haiti actually is.
In the 18th century, Toussaint-Louverture, Henri Christophe and Dessalines revolted in an effective guerilla war against the French colony. All three had been enslaved: they successfully ended slavery and regained freedom for the nation. They did this in 1791 against the French, in 1801 against the Spanish conquest, and in 1802 against an invasion ordered by Napoleon Bonaparte. They renamed Saint-Dominique after its original Arawak name, Haiti, which became the second independent nation in the Americas.
Such history should not go unnoticed because it is a significant example of the perseverance, love, and determination that courses through the veins of Haitians.
If I could say anything to my sisters and brothers in Haiti right now, if I could speak at all, I would say this:
“In the midst of the chaos; the heartbreak; the loss of life; the search for lives; the feeling that rebuilding will simply take too much energy…again; the pain; the tears that will run dry; the anguish, and all the feelings that weigh down your soul and may make you doubt your abilities, please remember who you are, what you have accomplished, and what you are capable of doing. You do not stand alone, because we stand with you. You do not sit alone, you do not swim alone, you do not cry alone, you do not hug your loved ones alone, you do not cry alone.
You do not cry alone, and you will not rebuild alone.
We are with you.
We are with you and we will laugh together again and you will see that we can get out of this. Please believe with me. I know it’s hard right now, and I do not pretend to understand what you’re going through, but please believe with me”.
To anyone who would like to assist, you may consider contacting any and all of these organizations:
Please remember that there is also a cholera outbreak because of lack of clean water, and it is also claiming lives. Help is needed most urgently! Please lets do what we can.
My heart goes out to everyone affected by this hurricane, not only in Haiti but in neighboring countries including the southern US states. Sending you all love and happiness in the hopes that you keep believing and looking forward to another sunrise.
Have you ever been directly affected by a devastating storm? What would you say to those who are trying to rebuild their lives?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Sophia at ThinkSayBe. Photo credit: Ricardo’s Photography. This picture has a creative commons attribution license.
I am a mom amongst some other titles life has fortunately given me. I love photography & the reward of someone being really happy about a photo I took of her/him. I work, I study, I try to pay attention to life. I like writing. I don't understand many things...especially why humans treat each other & other living & inanimate things so vilely sometimes. I like to be an idealist, but when most fails, I do my best to not be a pessimist: Life itself is entirely too beautiful, amazing & inspiring to forget that it is!
“Please join us in the 2016 #Heartfulness Meditation Conference in the USA. If you are a World Moms Blog contributor, or reader, or fan, please contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a free pass.”********************************************************************************************************************
Below is the experiential journey of our #WorldMom, Ruth Wong from Singapore, where she talks about the benefits of trying meditation as a tool to improve the mental and holistic aspects of her life. Her earlier experiences led her to #Heartfulness meditation on the Webinar workshops conducted by #WorldMomsBlog
Before I started my training to become a life-coach, words like “Mindfulness” and “meditation” were just the latest buzzwords on the internet and social media. Little did I know that they would soon become an integral part of my life.
During my training to become a coach, I was taught how to use conscious breathing, guided meditations and visualizations as powerful tools to facilitate my client’s transformation with more ease and readiness. Of course, before we can become the teachers, we are first the students, and that’s how my meditation journey began.
In the beginning, all I did was to sit by myself and do deep breathing exercises. I began to research and learn about different breathing techniques and meditation.
Then over time, I listened to my heart and allowed myself to be guided by my intuition. Some days, I would do affirmations during my meditation session, other days I would be contemplating an issue and seeking answers to it, from within my own heart.
A journal would be by my side so that I can jot down the insights and ideas received during meditation.
Then there are days where I would do guided meditations by listening to recordings by my coaching mentor. What is meaningful to me is the fact that I’ve found my way to calm, and created a special, sacred space for myself where I can go inward into my heart, to find balance, get grounded and discover answers to whatever is going on in my life. And I’m thankful for this.
So I was delighted when I found out that this beautiful #WorldMoms community has started on its meditation journey too.
We have two heartfulness meditation trainers among us who have come together to facilitate meditation sessions for our world moms. I had the chance to join the session quite recently and enjoyed the experience.
It felt good to be meditating together, all of us from different parts of the world connecting online and in spirit. I appreciate the opportunity to try a new way of meditating and continue learning more about this ancient practice.
Our founder, Jennifer Burden, wanted to use the meditation session to focus on world peace; I thought that was such a wonderful idea! If you would like to try out Heartfulness meditations, begin with this relaxation video. If you would like to go to an advanced stage, drop up us an email or mention in the comments of this article.
If you’ve not tried meditation, I would say, go try it! There’s really nothing to lose and everything to gain.
I am no meditation expert and won’t say one is better than another. In my own meditation journey, I’ve done different things at different moments, and found that my changing needs has taken me across the spiritual path, as I tread it.
Are you interested to try out Heartfulness meditation? Or if you have already been meditating, what type of meditation do you do?
Ruth lives in Singapore, a tiny island 137 kilometres north of the equator. After graduating from university, she worked as a medical social worker for a few years before making a switch to HR and worked in various industries such as retail, banking and manufacturing. In spite of the invaluable skills and experiences she had gained during those years, she never felt truly happy or satisfied. It was only when she embarked on a journey to rediscover her strengths and passion that this part of her life was transformed. Today, Ruth is living her dreams as a writer. Ironically, she loves what she does so much that at one point, she even thought that becoming a mom would hinder her career. Thanks to her husband’s gentle persuasions, she now realises what joy she would have missed out had she not changed her mind. She is now a happy WAHM. Ruth launched MomME Circle, a resource site to support and inspire moms to create a life and business they love. She has a personal blog Mommy Café where she writes about her son's growing up and shares her interests such as food and photography.
Is it about equality? Is it about joy and peace? Is it about a journey towards bliss? Is it excellence in Human Life.
Commemorating Women’s Day on March 8th, Heartfulness Institute invites all the contributors, readers and fans to two experiential webinars are planned, as per the details below.
The theme of the webinar is “Human Excellence through Heartfulness Meditation” where two Heartfulness trainers are going to share their journey of finding joy as women, as human beings, and finding excellence in their own personal and professional lives.
Ekta Bouderlique is an entrepreneur and a healer. She was born and brought up in India. After her marriage she lived with her husband and two children in France for almost 20 years. She has developed a healing technique called Quantum Core Two Points Method.
Currently she engages herself as a Heartfulness meditation trainer, speaker, media-anchor (radio and television in France), business consultant. She has been practicing Heartfulness meditation for 28 years now.
We look forward to her enriched experience today, as she relates herself to a warm person, a mother of two children, and an affectionate wife.
Judith Nelson, one of our very own #WorldMom lives in North Berwick near Edinburgh in Scotland (UK) with her husband and two children.
She is a qualified physiotherapist, but changed careers in her mid-twenties and went into broadcasting journalism for about 6 years before having children. After her daughter was born, she was a full-time mother for some time, and then started a property developing company with a friend when her son was two years old. She has now retired from the business, and work as a volunteer for Heartfulness Meditation, sharing her expertise and guidance. She is a trainer of Heartfulness Meditation.
Everyone is welcome. There are no prerequisite registration. Just click on the Login link and listen to these women speak and conduct a free Heartfulness Meditation session.
World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children.
World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.
Next to me in the coffee shop, an elderly lady loudly complains to everyone who cares to listen. How poignant it is, this refugees’ crisis. How she doesn’t understand how nothing can be done to help all those poor people. How entire families are torn for life. How her hair had cost 80 euros. Seventyninepointfive full euros. Scandalous, don’t you think so, miss?
I try to escape her glaring eyes. I’d like to escape and take all of them with me, those refugees. To a world without expensive hairdressers. To a world where their devastating pictures don’t need to travel around social media. To a world where a simple I’m on the run is enough to offer help.
I’m not sure where this world is. It doesn’t seem to be ours. Ours is full of rich self-preservation. I have worked hard for my wealth. I will not share it. I do not wish to be bothered with the misery of others.
Well, I’m more than less disgusted by those I’s.
And still, there I am, blogging about my petty worries. About the difficulties my kids face at their expensive private school. About depression, because my perfect life is not perfect enough. About baking homemade cookies. All the while, somewhere else, another mother has to choose between her own drowning or that of her child. Knowing she doesn’t have a choice, in the end. It will probably be both anyway.
More than ever, my world has two realities. One reality is manageable, the other is immense. The manageable reality is my reference, a framework to enable me to keep functioning. It enables me to get up at a quarter past seven to cut some pieces of imported mango for my precious children. To sigh when looking at overflowing laundry baskets. To nag about an energy-devouring meeting that took longer than expected. It’s the framework that’s keeping me whole. The Frame World.
The other part is bigger and endlessly more complex. It’s the angry, overarching Dome World. In this world I’m the naive, fleet-footed creature that is called out to fight the Great Evil that is hiding in the Dome, where no escape is possible. It’s the theme of many heroic stories, like I love to read them. Lord of the Flee.
The reality of the Dome World today is raw and ruthless. We can try to change the picture of the drowned toddler in an icon, giving him wings and balloons, but it’s too late. It’s too late for all those children who didn’t wash up at the feet of a photographer. We’ve let them down.
There is no escape from this Dome World. You can only bang on the glass wall and try to hide in your own Frame World. But the Frame of those fleeing families has been reduced to firewood. Without a frame they’re adrift. More than literally.
Later today, I will find out once again where I can contribute to help.
Later today. Again, I’m disgusted. Later today, because I’ve promised homemade pizza to my children.
After all, my Frame World is still there.
How do you deal with the discrepancy between your own private life and the tragedies around it? Does your Frame World help keeping you sane or is it rather keeping you from acting?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by K10K @ The Penguin and The Panther. Photo credit: Bart Everson. This picture has a creative commons attribution license.
If you ask her about her daytime job, Katinka will tell you all about the challenge of studying the fate of radioactive substances in the deep subsurface. Her most demanding and rewarding job however is raising four kids together with five other parents, each with their own quirks, wishes and (dis)abilities. As parenting and especially co-parenting involves a lot of letting go, she finds herself singing the theme song to Frozen over and over again, even when the kids are not even there...