9/11 From Reflection to Re-Birth
By Debbie Eisenstadt Mandel
Sad commemoration services and individual reflections will soon take place in New York City, the nation and in many foreign countries. Since September 11, 2001 negativity and anxiety have invaded our collective consciousness. We have lost our innocence while terrorism has infiltrated-- living latently in our midst. How do we regain our traditional ruggedly positive attitude? How do we see the rainbow after the storm? I am reminded of a quote by Albert Einstein whose outlook on life was shaped by World War II and its own inherent evil.
“Out of clutter, find simplicity.
From discord, find harmony.
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity”
These days we have to work harder at being happy. We have to put our mind and body into it! Both our mental and physical health depend on it, as does our family’s and our nation’s.
Here are some concrete tools for healing from re-experiencing the memory of 9/11. The most important thing to remember is to fall up instead of fall down. First, allow yourself to emote whether it is through an organized service, a media program, or a moment of silence on your part. Feel your grief and then move forward into the sunlight. Make a date for breakfast, lunch or dinner with friends. Don’t be alone or constantly immersed in the heaviness of the day. Dwelling on the painful memory is an energy drain. Learning a lesson from the past is an energy booster. On a national level we have to learn how to let go as well - we have to take our national ego out of the tragedy and let it go.
When you let go, you can hold more. This involves changing perception. While you cannot control what has happened, you can control your perception – as terrible as 9/11 was, it could have been much worse… There was no bio-terrorism involved and the disaster could have been more far reaching and ongoing. As an individual and as a nation, we grow from past suffering and failures. We are more careful now!
You need to view happiness as a moral obligation. When you are negative, your children, spouse, family, friends and co-workers are negatively affected. Our country is the sum total of its families. In other words my negativity can invoke the domino theory. My happiness and joy can trigger a great chain of being.
To trigger feelings of serenity and well-being meditate or visualize an affirming thought or an inspirational passage. Sit comfortably and close your eyes; breathe according to your personal rhythm. Think about relaxing your heart. Then observe your thoughts float by. Don’t judge them; just observe them move past you. See how far they look from a distance, how all your worries and anxieties seem less important. Meditating for just five minutes every day can help settle your heart and make you more positive.
Practice some affirming activities, even little things, to boost your mood. For example, eat your dinner with a lovely placemat and bud vase. Eating is a celebration of life. Another pleasurable activity is to give yourself a little massage with olive oil that you warm up in the microwave.
And the most affirming of all, but requires a little effort, is exercise. Shed your harmful stress hormones and raise your endorphins through exercise. Core training (working chest, abdominals and back) is especially important since we were attacked at the core of our being. If you have a strong core, you will have good balance. Remember that your arms and legs emanate from your core and depend on it for stability.
A simple yet effective tip for improving your mood, put something orange on your desk. According to research in art therapy orange is the color of cheerfulness and will uplift your spirits just by looking at it. Another proven remedy is to avoid stimulants like alcohol, sugar, white processed foods, caffeine and nicotine. You are already nervous and need to calm down. Therefore it makes no sense to exacerbate the situation. Try to eat balanced meals (protein and a complex carbohydrate) to be in balance and drink plenty of water to avoid fatigue.
Some people let defeat ruin them while others let victory ruin them. It is neither the win nor the loss that makes you triumphant, only the feelings you have about yourself. This truism applies to our nation. Whatever you choose to do in life, do not forget to live!
Debbie Eisenstadt Mandel, MA is the author of Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer at Brooklyn College. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WLIR 92.7 FM in New York City and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com