That’s a haiku I wrote this weekend in honor of 20th anniversary of September 11th. The catchphrase since adopted by many is “never forget.” I am considering what it is important that we remember about that horrific day in this blog and episode 63 of the A Blythe Coach Podcast:
20 Years Since Tragedy
Last weekend marked 20 years since that tragic day and my social media feeds were flooded with remembrances.
Many people were more profoundly impacted and have more profound things to say about the infamous events of September 11th, 2001. But you’re here and this is my blog, so I’m sharing what it meant to me then, what I hope we still remember now, and how that has the potential to impact our lives for the good.
In 2001, I was a junior at Whitman College, serving as a Resident Assistant in Prentiss Hall, a residence housing independent and sorority women. I remember hearing the shocking news and us gathering in the TV Lounge to watch the breaking story in an atmosphere of fear and disbelief.
One of my residents desperately hoped to hear that her sister, a flight attendant, was alright. Although we were clear on the other side of the country from New York City and the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers, we all seemed to have an intimate connection to the unfolding events and we held one another close.
The devastation and senseless loss of life was horrific. Sadly many brave souls, firefighters, EMTs and such, lost their lives that day, in addition to the civilians who worked or did business in the towers. In that moment, America (and arguably the world) mourned together, but also rose to the task of helping all the victims, those hurt and those left behind. Let’s remember that!
In scary times, look for helpers
As Mr. Rogers famously advised, we also “looked for the helpers,” and they indeed showed up, in force. The way that citizens rushed to help in any way they could made an impression never to be forgotten.
Ultimately for me the message in observing the tireless work of the “helpers” back then and since is that humans CAN be extremely caring, compassionate, generous, and kind. We can rise above our differences and help people in need. There is a path forward with empowerment and positivity even as we remember tragic events.
How can we be the helpers?
What does this have to do with dancing and living our lives now, two decades later?
I believe that we are called to remember the preciousness and uncertainty of our time on Earth. We owe it to ourselves to do purposeful, passionate work (whether that takes the form of paid work in our career or job or the way we serve in our personal lives), to appreciate what we have, move joyfully, love ourselves and one another.
My friend Olivia Mead (@ladyboss_olivia) from NCSA was so profoundly affected that she would go on to found Yoga for First Responders (@yogaforfirstresponders), training thousands of EMTs, firefighters, etc. in skills to help cope with the stress, trauma, and demands of their jobs as well as instructing yoga teachers in how to do the same. In such positions, danger comes with the territory, and unfortunately PTSD is a common result, but there are steps that such professionals as well as we ourselves can take!
I found this article featuring the many ways we can contribute to our communities now during the COVID-19 pandemic particularly inspiring. My personal contribution includes sharing dance and yoga and supporting students and clients in living extraordinary and fulfilled lives.
Questions for Reflection
- What is it important for you to remember right now?
- How will you stay present to that awareness?
- What action(s) are you committed to taking today in alignment with this remembrance?
I hope you are well, and know that I am with you in spirit whether you are currently in grief or celebration (or both at once). Reach out anytime I can be of service, and stay tuned for more about living a luscious life.
Blythe Stephens, MFA, Bliss Catalyzing Dance Educator & Coach
she/her or they/them
Founder of A Blythe Coach: move through life with balance, grace, & power