June 15, 2016

“It’s Good to be Alive Today”—What to Remember when Tragedy Strikes.

orlando shooting vigil

I worked in India a few years back and terrorism was something I had to face as a daily possibility.

There were frequent warnings of where not to go in the city during certain times of the day. I was horrified and couldn’t get my head around how to live this way—many days I was afraid to leave my house.

I asked my friend—who’s lived in India his whole life—how he coped with the frequent bombing warnings (and actual bombings that were close to where we both lived), and this is what he said: “If we were fearful, we would stay in our homes all day and not live our lives. If we did this, they would win. Their fear would become part of us and every time we let fear in, we would lose a little more hope in ourselves, until it was completely gone. Then, they win. So, we don’t let it in, and instead we keep living, and our hope remains ours.”

It’s been four years since I have left India, but whenever I feel depressed about the tragedies in the world (and most recently, the awful tragedy in Orlando) I think back to what my friend told me.

Whether it’s fear, hate, or racism that motivates the violent behaviors, thanks to my friend’s perspective, I always stay mindful of what I am letting in. This allows me to take positive action and stand up for things I believe in, rather than crying in my room all day about how terrible the world is—although that is sometimes necessary too. Or worse, just being angry.

Knowing that we’re not alone in our thoughts is sometimes all we really need to keep going.

I share this story and this song below with you because they have both kept me not only hopeful, but motivated to do something (even as small as sharing a story). I encourage you to share any hopeful messages or things that keep you going with the people around you—and not just on the days you’re happy and everything is right in your world, but especially on the days when the world seems completely ridiculous.

I sincerely thank you in advance for the time your hope (which, lucky for us tends to be quite contagious) comes back to positively impact me when I need it.

“‘Good to be Alive’ is a song about gratitude. A song to remind us of the good in the world, on the days when our souls are rocked by all of the bad news that surrounds us. A reminder to be grateful for all we have, and at the same time, to tenaciously stand behind things in life that serve the greater good—getting one step closer to a world where everyone can all say it’s good to be alive today.” ~ Michael Franti 



Author: Traci Wallace

Image: Fibonacci Blue/Flickr

Editors: Catherine Monkman; Caitlin Oriel

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