Last Sunday was the 15th Anniversary of 9/11. My talk to honor this event was titled Forever In our Hearts, which is not just one of the phrases associated with 9/11 but actually how it is imprinted upon anyone who was alive on the planet that day. I know for me, that those who lost their lives, the heroes who responded, the outpouring of love, the prayers, the unity, will forever be in my heart.
Another phrase that has become associated with 9/11 is Never Forget. I don’t really think we need a phrase to remind us of this either, because again, it has become a part of the history of humanity and a piece of our individual hearts. What I spoke about on 9/11/16 was a way for us to remember the events of 9/11/01 with the same compassion, respect, love, and unity that we experienced then and perhaps not with the emotions of fear, retribution, and anger that this phrase, Never Forget, has seemed to gather over the years.
9/11 was an epic spiritual wake-up call. And we were all wonderful first responders, but did we stay awake? Did we use this unimaginable tragedy as fuel for transformation? Did we continue to treat others in the world with compassion, respect, love and unity? Or did we fall back to sleep? I’m only musing here, what do you think? I guess we just have to look at the continued wake up calls, the smaller yet still devastating world wide tragedies for a clue. Wake up calls will continue until we stay awake. They will continue until we allow them to truly transform us and not just use them for a momentary burst of energy and action or even just a momentary softening of our hearts.
But, let’s bring it down a notch and get personal, because that is always where we need to start. You all know what I’m going to say by now, we must start with the situations in our own lives because the metaphysical principle is that world events are merely a reflection of the dominant consciousness on the planet today. So, yay, let’s start with our consciousness.
Think about a situation in your personal life that caused you to feel loss, pain, suffering, or unhappiness. Think of a person that you feel mistreated you, disrespected you and even was the reason (in your mind) that you suffered, even if it was 15 years ago. Even if it was longer, like someone in your family, or your ex ___(fill in the blank). Think of any stories that you may continue to hold forever in your heart that caused you pain (and continue to keep you as a victim of that pain). What about any mistakes you have made or that others have made that you will never forget, let alone forgive?
Of course we are meant to deeply feel and honor our emotions, even painful ones and then to use them as as a kind of raw material to stoke the engines of transformation. Of course we are meant to learn and grow from mistakes and and then we are meant to let them go. Once we use the pain to birth a new experience or conception of ourselves, we have the capacity to forget it. Ask any mother who has given birth if she really remembers the pain or if she glories in the new life. Every experience is meant to lead us to an inner transformation of love, compassion, and connection. That is actually sometimes the deeper meaning for the spiritual wake up calls that feel like a challenge, or a crisis.
The same way that we can choose our thoughts and beliefs to ensure that we have a greater experience of our objectified reality, we can also choose our memories. We can remember the beautiful, loving and wonderful aspects of anyone and everything. We can still honor the memory of those who have made their transition by never forgetting the gifts we received from them. We can even honor those who have left us or hurt us in relationship, or any past experience by also honoring the gifts we received from them, even if the gift was greater growth and freedom for ourselves.
I decided to honor the 15th Anniversary of 9/11 with acts of compassion and forgiveness in my own personal experience. I did an inventory of these things myself. Wherever I was still holding a hurt, forever in my heart, I bought love and compassion there for myself, which allowed me to forget the supposed injury and forgive. Forgiveness is what leads me to freedom. Isn’t that what we all want? To remember that we are truly free and no one and no thing can enslave us. And to remember that we are not here to enslave others, but that we are all connected. Mother Theresa, the newly canonized saint said, “We have forgotten that we belong to one another.” Let’s make an intention to never forget that.