Mindful Monday: Mindfulness in the Presence of Sorrow


I said: what about my eyes?
God said: Keep them on the road.
I said: what about my passion?
God said: Keep it burning.
I said: what about my heart?
God said: Tell me what you hold inside it?
I said: pain and sorrow?
He said: Stay with it. The wound is the place where the Light enters you.

Nine people died in a helicopter crash today in Southern California, and among them were a sports hero and his daughter, a family of three, a young mom, and three other beautiful souls. In our beloved Sonoma today, a fatal car accident involving an intoxicated driver took the life of a young man and critically injured a young woman. Heartbreaking news today. It is hard to wrap my head around the idea of a woman losing both her husband and her daughter in a split second. So much grief…and sorrow. And as soon as I heard about the Sonoma accident, a mile from my home, I stopped breathing….would it be someone I knew? I was reminded of September 11, 2001 tragedy and my daughter, who was 5 years old at the time, said to me, “mommy, did any of my people die?” Even at that young age, our brains scan for safety…Are my people ok? Am I okay? No, I’m not ok, I am sad and full of sorrow.

It is times like these, that I need to remember to breathe. Life is precious. I often search for more information, words of wisdom or support to guide me when the news is heavy as it was today. This post by Claire Bidwell Smith, a grief therapist and author was just what I needed:

“As my friend Alua Arthur says, “Reminders like this of our mortality come like a swift kick in the butt. He was healthy, wealthy, successful, had a new baby, and was only 41. And he died anyway.” How do we make sense of it? We don’t. We can’t. But we can mourn collectively. There is a beauty in coming together, in recognizing the presence of a person who has been part of our cultural life these last years and decades. It’s okay to grieve for someone you didn’t know. It’s okay to remember that we are each part of a larger whole. It’s okay to pray for families you’ve never met. It is, in fact, what is most beautiful about being human—our ability to feel the pain of others, to carry even just a little of it, when it’s too much for them to bear.”

Thank you Claire for reminding us all that even if we didn’t know any of these souls, our heart hurts for them, their families and their fans, and their communities. We are part of a larger whole. We share the grief. We hold each other up. We hold the space for healing.

As you walk through your day today and the week ahead, be mindful of your own thoughts and feelings. Listen to your own voice about what you need right now… what you have to offer…when to share and when to listen. This is a time when using our word “in the direction of truth and love” (Don Miguel Ruiz’ Four Agreements) is critical. Times like this, when grief is in the air, people feel vulnerable – they are very aware of their own mortality, as well as the precariousness of life. Being mindful of our own process can lead us to respond with kindness and integrity, not react with impatience or engage in gossip. Be mindful to create a safe place for your own spirit as well as those around you.

Breathe. Be present. Be grateful. Be here now.

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. Create moments that take your breath away today.” Author Unknown