I remember, and will never forget 9/11/2001. I was asleep and I heard my flip phone buzzing over and over again. I picked up a call, or maybe it was a message, from a friend in New York. She told me quickly what was happening - a plane had flown into one of the Twin Towers. I turned on the news and watched as Tower 1 released smoke and flames from what seemed to be a small hole. I lost my breath for a moment. I could barely hear the voices of the telecasters, still confused. Was this an accident? What happened?
I called one of my sisters, who was living in Maine at the time and did not have cable. I told her about the plane. She was also in disbelief. As we were talking I saw another plane. I caught my breath again as it crashed into Tower 2, telling her what I was seeing in a high-pitched, fear-filled voice. Now we were both breathless. It was minutes later when I was relaying that the towers were crumbling to the ground right before my eyes. Completely crumbling! Bricks and glass collapsing into each other with ease, as if they were made out of sand! And taking thousands of lives with it! Thousands of people taking their last breath!
Is this for real? Am I in a nightmare? What is happening? Did I just hear the words "terrorist attack"???
Suddenly I felt very vulnerable.
The towers that I saw as invincible...that I saw hundreds of times as we drove into China Town since as long as I can remember. Gone. The towers that I dreamed of one day going to the top, but was always too afraid. Gone. Done.
Then my eyes widened. Oh my God! My other sister is working in Tower 2! I saw those buildings, now just plumes of dust, in a different way. I didn't want to move. I couldn't think about going into the office.
I called my a-hole boss who was clueless to the news and made me come in. And felt sorry for him when I arrived and he apologized incessantly for his ignorance and told me to go home. I finally heard my sister was safe around 3pm PST. She was completely fine. She had stopped working in the towers a week ago, but had not let us know as of yet. She was not meant to leave us that day.
I still have chills, and emotion, as I write this. How does one digest something so tragic? How does one process the loss of so many lives, in such an intentionally evil way? How does one process the vicarious tension and trauma picked up in those moments, even if just seeing it in the news?
The answer: With Awareness and Accountability of...
• What you feel in your body, heart, and mind when it comes to 9/11
• What you need to do to let go of any trauma or tension you are holding
• How you have grown, or want to grow from 9/11
• The imprint you are leaving each day, each moment.
• Your compassion and kindness towards yourself and others.
You can start now by taking some deep, conscious, breaths or practicing any of these tools. Then, take a moment to check in, be vigilant about two things: 1) How you have taken care of your vicarious trauma from that day? and 2) What you learned from 9/11. Please share YOUR experience of that day, and what you learned from it in the comments.
For me, I am still digesting and processing how we, as a whole, are meant to grow from that day. I think about 9/11 often. The images of the towers crashing down, and the emotions around that event, is imprinted deeply. I don't know about you, but I am going to have heightened awareness and accountability every moment I can.
Sending out lots of love and hope to all.